Keep it short, sweet and clear
- Choose the right structure for your CV.
- Focus on the important information
- i.e. key skills, recent experience which be near the top
- Include your Profile, Achievements, Experience, Special Skills (languages / computers), Education, Training, and (if you wish) Interests.
- CV should normally be two pages in length; you can expand on specific details in your covering letter or if specifically requested.
Make it look good
- Clear, attractive presentation is also important.
- Keep it uncluttered, with key points easy to spot.
- Use bullet points and keep the sentences relatively short.
- Make it easy on the eye.
Most recent first
- Put your employment history in date order, starting with the most recent first.
- Briefly explain any gaps.
- Don’t go into detail about positions you held over 10 years ago.
Include many facts
- List your job duties beneath each position.
- List your achievements, responsibilities and results.
- Talk about results – what difference did your presence make?
- Use numbers for achievements wherever possible, e.g. “Boosted sales by 20% in first year”.
- Always write in a slightly formal manner and never use the word “I” – e.g. “Supervised the team” rather than “I supervised the team”. Use the past tense for previous jobs and the present tense for your current job.
Not too many lists
- Include specific skills, such as languages, administrative or computing skills, in a separate section in your CV.
- Don’t relist them for every job you’ve used them in.
- This is particularly so for IT work – lists of tools and packages make dull reading and won’t make you stand out from other people with the same abilities.
Breathe some life into it
- Remember the employer wants a sense of the kind of person you are, as well as what you can do.
- Are you punctual, conscientious, or motivated? Do you rise to a challenge? With each point you write, ask yourself “What does this say about me?”
- Always check for errors. Run a spelling and grammar check and ask someone else to read it for you. Read it aloud to the dog. The employer isn’t going to believe you’re a good communicator if your CV is full of mistakes.
- You don’t have to use the same CV every time.
- You can have two or three versions, each for a different kind of job. Or you can tailor your CV to suit the job you’re applying for. It isn’t a case of one size fits all.
Send a covering letter
- Unless the advert tells you not to, always send a covering letter. This should highlight the two or three areas of experience from your CV that are most relevant to the advertised job.
- Although you obviously want to present yourself well, don’t go too far and embellish the truth. It can easily backfire on you.