The objective of your CV is to help you stand out from the crowd and gain you an interview either with a potential employer or a recruitment consultant. It should create a positive impression about you in the mind of the interviewer before you meet.
Some advertisements have significant response levels so the initial review of your CV will probably not last any longer than three minutes at most. Therefore it needs to be professional, business-like and easy to read; focusing on your key achievements. The covering letter needs to be clearly tailored to the description of the position and the candidate specification.
It is a good idea to split your CV into four sections: personal information, qualifications, employment history and interests.
- Full name
- Where you live
- Telephone numbers (day/evening/ mobile – as appropriate)
- Email address
- If relevant, state whether you are eligible to work or need a work permit
- Always include any language capability and state your proficiency (do not exaggerate your fluency, as an interviewer may decide to interview you in the language concerned)
If educated to degree level (or have a higher qualification) it is only necessary to briefly list earlier academic qualifications with appropriate grades. Any degree should have the name of the establishment from which it was gained from and the level/grade obtained.
This section should also include any professional qualifications. Additionally, employers often look for any work related training – especially if it has led to a particular qualification.
How should I organise my CV and what content should I include?
It is generally accepted practice to put your employment history in reverse chronological order and this section should include dates, size and scope of responsibilities and achievements.
Remember at all times that potential employers are looking for evidence that you can add value to the job and the organisation.
- Give most space to your most recent job
- If you do not work for a well-known organisation it might be appropriate to insert a brief description of the company and its business
- Dates – it is only necessary to put the month and year of joining and leaving any employer. Your current position should be ‘to date’
- State your title
- Group your experience according to type of work
- Use sub-headings
- List specific project responsibilities/ involvement in projects
- Do not leave out any period of employment for whatever reason – ensure that your time is accountable
- Do not give reasons for leaving any of the jobs on your CV – it is far better to explain your moves in person at interview
- Do not embellish your CV or be economical with the truth (i.e. overstating your experience or accomplishments) – you will be found out at interview
- Salary information should be left off the CV but you should be prepared to discuss your salary with recruitment consultants at an early stage, so they know you are in the right range
The key here is that if you are in doubt, leave them out. Be prepared to elaborate on any of your interests such as the last play you saw, the last book you read, the last place that you visited on a scuba diving holiday. If you have any interests that might, in any way, be controversial then leave them off the CV. In any event this section should be no longer than two lines.