Making Your CV Work for You
Until your interview, you are only as good as your paperwork - this makes your CV and covering letter crucial - they are essential tools in your job search. Like any marketing document, your CV should help you sell yourself.
Think about your skills, competencies, qualifications and experience. What are your unique selling points and strengths? Think in terms of what you have achieved. If you are replying to a specific job advertisement, review what key words and tasks were used in the advertisement. Which of these words applies to you?
Remember that you want your CV to be read and responded to.
- Include enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader. If you provide small, digestible pieces of information you stand a better chance of having your CV read.
- Ensure that your CV is well structured and well laid out; this gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review.
- Self-opinion is best avoided. Aim to include factual information or objective evidence and remember to focus on the benefits of your achievements.
- Pay close attention to reply instructions in advertisements (e.g. spelling of a contact's name). Always have someone else on hand to check your spelling and grammar. Nothing can ruin your chances of getting a job faster than easily preventable mistakes.
- Avoid colored paper or fancy fonts, you'll get a much better result with clean fonts and a simple lay-out.
What Makes a Good CV?
- Keep it simple, uncluttered and in an easy-to-read font (on plain white A4 paper)
- Keep it free from unnecessary details (don't write lines upon lines for your interests)
- Keep it free from spelling/grammatical errors (ask someone to proof read it)
- Check your personal details (new mobile phone number etc)
- Always type in third person – try to avoid I, me, my etc
- Match your CV to the job specification to ensure you have included relevant skills
Believe it or not there is no perfect CV. Concentrate on making use of the kind of CV design that suits you best (chronological/functional).
What Should Your CV Include:
- Your Personal Details (especially contact details)
- Your Mobile Telephone Number (there is a good chance you could miss a call if not at home)
- An Overview Statement/Profile (covering your strengths, skills, experience, and the type of position sought)
- Educational Credentials and Qualifications
- Professional Memberships
- Employment History (most recent job first). For each position held, briefly describe responsibilities and work undertaken and any specific achievements
- Key Skills/Areas of Expertise (such as IT Skills, Languages and Training Courses)
- Extra-Curricular Activities (if relevant to job being applied for)
- References (we recommend that two referees be given - including the referees' official titles, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses).
How many pages should a CV be?
2-3 pages in length - this can vary within different levels of experience.
How do I Tackle Gaps in Employment?
At some point, most people will face unemployment, redundancy and various other reasons for gaps in employment. If you have gaps in your CV - don't lie. If the gaps are for a few months you may want to consider listing just the years. You will, however, need to detail specific dates in your application form.
CV Power Words / Power Verbs:
The use of action words / power verbs, are essential in the promotion of your skills and experience. Using these words at the start of each bullet point under the details of your employment will assist the reader in noticing your key achievements.