What is a CV?
A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a written outline of your professional and educational history and will represent you in the best possible way when applying for a job.
Your CV is a marketing tool, when applying for a job you are marketing yourself! the aim is to “sell” your skills, attributes, personal qualities and experience to an employer in order to convince them that you are the perfect Candidate for the job and that you will be an asset to their organization.
Where do I start?
You will be pleased to know that there is no “right way” to writing your CV as it is aimed to reflect you as a person, although there are some tips to help make your CV successful and attractive to potential employers.
Start by using a computer. A CV written on a Word Document is generally seen as more professional and is much easier to send via email for online job applications.
Making your CV easy to read is one of the most valuable tips you will need as employers usually have more than one CV to go through and if yours is hard work to read, unclear or badly laid out, they will just move on to the next one. Use a clear font (preferably black) with Bold for the headings, job titles and schools and double spacing between each section. Be sure to use bullet points when listing skills, achievements, qualifications and job responsibilities. Employers will usually look for essential information at the top of the first page so this includes your Personal Details, personal profile, education and skills.
Normally, your personal details will be your Name, Address, Marital Status, Telephone number, E-mail and date of birth (although this is no longer essential as age discrimination laws are now in place). This information should be displayed in Bold and at the very top of the first page so it is easy to find.
Including a photograph in your CV is usually frowned upon as this may contravene equal opportunity legislation ( a CV with a photograph is easier to reject on grounds of ethnicity, sex or age)
Personal Profile/ Career objective
This section of your CV is extremely important as it is an opportunity for you catch the employers attention by highlighting your main attributes and declaring your future career aspirations. Try not to make it too long as you don’t want to risk “Over-selling” yourself. A short paragraph will do.
This section should be a bullet pointed list of your professional skills that you have acquired over your working life. You can also include languages and Computer skills in this list as these are very attractive to employers.
Your education is an extremely important aspect in your life , therefore, you must remember to include every qualification you have gained during your education. If you are currently studying for a qualification or undertaking work related training, include this also as it will show employers that you are willing to learn and develop your knowledge an expertise.
In this section, be sure to included details of every role you have undertaken including voluntary and work experience (Even if you worked for 3 months in a supermarket when you were 17, you would have gained team work and communication skills). Start from your last position and work backwards making sure to list your duties of every role as bullet points. Make the Company names and job titles Bold, this will ensure that the presentation is clear and easy to read.
Interests and Hobbies
Give the employer an insight into your personal life without going into too much detail. It is good for them to know your interests out of work hours, but remember they are primarily interested in your work history skills.
Many employers do not check for references, however, it is always good to offer at least two work related references who will be willing to be contacted (if required)
A cover letter is a vital addition to your CV, this is where you can tell an employer the reasons why you would be a good fit for the role and why you are applying for the job in the first place. It should give a personal touch that your CV will lack.
How long should my CV be?
There are no rules about the size or length of a CV but nobody wants to read a 10 page document so try to keep it “to the point” use sufficient spacing and only include relevant information. If you can fit your CV on one page then that’s fine.
(Reviewing your CV) Why do I need to use spell check?
Making your CV as professional as possible is a waste of time if you haven’t checked your SPELING (Spelling) so if you are using Microsoft Word, you can use the spell check option or if you are using a program that does not have this option, ask someone else to “proof read” it for you.
Below are some (embarrassing) examples of students who did not spell check their CV:
• I would like a job in the servillian police
• i am a prefectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.
• Proven ability to track down and correct erors.
• I have god writen comunication skills.
• Lurnt Word Perfect computor and spreadsheet pogroms.
• Develop an annual operating expense fudget.
• Good custermer service skills.
• I am death in my left ear.
• In my 3rd year of BA houners English.
• On an application to work with teenagers: I am experienced in teaching marital arts
• I would be happy to work in any part of England or Whales.
• I hope to hear from you shorty
“Make the most of your most recent experience, as that is the thing that people will pay most attention to – there is no point having one line about your current role and ten points about a job that you did ten years ago.”– Simon Wright
“You know your CV can have just 10 seconds to prove your interview worth and first impressions will determine your fate.” The Telegraph
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When writing a CV you’re communicating with someone you’ve probably never met, so it’s important to make that first impression count” Creativepool