Help Preparing Your CV

A CV and covering letter are crucial to gaining employment in most job searches. These are crucial to selling yourself and your own skills, and until you reach interview stage you are only as good as your paperwork.

What should your CV include?

When preparing your CV think about what key skills, experience and qualifications would make you attractive to an Employer.Remember that you want your CV to be read and responded to. Tempt the recipient- include just enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that the reader merely skims the CV.

Three pages maximum is the accepted norm. Every word should contribute to the overall message – so keep it brief and relevant to the job you are applying for. Ensure your CV is well structured, giving the impression that you think logically, and making it easier to review. A CV that is hard to read is often put to one side and overlooked. As with any form of writing you should put yourself in the shoes of the intended recipient.

Think about the information you would need if you were the employer, and about what is relevant and what is not. .Keep the layout simple and use side headings in bold to enable information is readily located. Make it easy on to the eye – an easily readable typeface and well written format.

Always get someone to double check your CV – there is nothing worse than a CV with glaring typing mistakes and errors. Keep your CV up to date. Using an out of date CV looks lazy at best, and may exclude you from consideration at worst. Ensure that you account for ALL your time. Any gaps will be spotted!

The First Page

This should include a number of set fields such as Name; Address; Contact Number; Email address; Education & Qualifications; Software used; brief profile of your skills, experience, major projects and nature of work sought; if you are seeking contract or permanent work; locations sought; and availability.

Pages Two/Three

This will be the core of the CV, and you should highlight your employment history. Present this in reverse chronological order (i.e. last job first). If you have worked for only one company, break it down with an entry for each position or projects dealt with. For each position held describe the work undertaken, duties and responsibilities.

Do include achievements, not just tasks. If you can, quantify them. List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines if they are relevant. Any voluntary, charity or external posts you have, e.g., school governor, are worth including. Avoid listing anything too controversial. It is recommended that two referees be given – including the referees’ official titles and contacts.

The ‘covering’ letter
A good covering letter can ensure the CV gets the attention it deserves. You now have a chance to highlight points that modesty or space may have prevented in the CV. A good introduction letter can you save you having to rewrite your CV each time you target a particular type of job. CVs are seldom used alone, they should always be introduced by a letter or a telephone call. The letter should earn readership for the CV. A good letter should be used to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you putting in the CV (i.e. to highlight your key strengths relevant to that job).

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