Having a good CV is essential for job seeking, but also so you are always fully aware of your own current job responsibilities and what is expected of you. Try and always keep it up to date as you never know when you may suddenly need it!
- Keep your CV to 2 or 3 pages
- It should contain a short profile that sums up your key experience, skills, achievements and motivations. Ensure that a little of your personality is also conveyed – this is your sales pitch!
- It should also include qualifications with establishments and dates (all dates should be month and year), job roles with company, title and dates.
- Include achievements for your qualifications and job roles – any awards, major project successes, etc. – companies like to see how you can add value, so demonstrate it on your CV.
- You can also include hobbies – try to keep them interesting, but make sure you don’t include any controversial interests and nothing too bizarre!
- Keep your job history in chronological order with most recent first.
- If relevant, include on a separate page your publications, posters and presentations lists
- Keep it simple – do not add boxes or include fancy backgrounds; often clients have different operating systems and the formatting will render your CV a mess or unreadable. Simple bold/ italic/underlined headings with bullet points are fine.
- Avoid using long paragraphs – keep it concise.
- Always tailor your CV for the role you are applying for – have you shown the evidence for those aspects of the role you have done? Are they at the top of the relevant job responsibilities so that the company reading your CV will see the keywords/ experience straight away? Have you gone into enough detail – expand upon the most relevant points and delete those that are not necessary. Remember the aim is to get the company’s attention. You can always elaborate or talk through any extra skills at interview.
- Try and include a cover letter, highlighting the specific relevant points for the role/ business.
- Imagine you are the person trying to fill the role – what are the key things they could be looking for? Sell your experience in these areas.
- Never falsify or exaggerate anything on your CV as even if you do ultimately get the job you will not be as competent as you had sold yourself at interview and it will likely become a highly stressful situation. Instead, highlight your strengths and show you understand your weaker areas, and what you are doing to improve these or gain the knowledge gap.
- We have the ability now to spell and grammar check everything, so ensure you do this. A CV with more than one or two errors will like be rejected as the client will think you are lazy or lacking good written communication skills.
- Avoid unnecessary things like photos, salary details (might put you out of the frame straight away), weaknesses and jargon (remember to re-read your CV as if you were the company!). Anything like date of birth, nationality, religion etc. are not needed and irrelevant.
- Always put ‘references upon request’ as it not professional to name people on your CV; however if you have a good reference that you feel is relevant then take it along to the interview!
You are the product and this is your advertisement so make sure you take the time to get it right.
So in summary:
- Simple 2-3 pages
- Good presentation – easy to read headings, dates, qualifications, etc.
- Avoid complex formatting, shading, boxes and stylised fonts
- Relevant for the role – highlighting key skills & experience – avoid anything unnecessary
- Honest and factual
- Sell your abilities and characteristics in a very positive way
- Read it as if you were the company – would you offer you an interview?
- Spell and grammar check!