Preparing your CV
Make sure your CV does you credit
Having an up to date Curriculum Vitae or CV or Resume (used more in the U.S) is vital when looking for a new job. Writing a good CV is often a challenging process as the various skills and experience needed for each job role will be different. But you should always make sure that the most valuable skills stand out are easy for the reader to identify. Remember yours will probably be one of many CV’s under review and the easier it is to read and assess the suitability the more likely it is that you will be selected for the next stage of the process.
The layout and content are also just as important, as that is the first thing the employer will learn about you, so make sure you stand out from the crowd. Employers are looking for skills and experience that make you suitable for the job role, so ensure that you show very clearly why you would be a good match for the job in your use of chosen skills.
A good CV will stand out because it clearly shows the employer why you are an appropriate candidate for the job, without having too much information on the page.
Don’t try and cram information in. ‘Fillers’ are obvious to most professional recruiters and no substitute for facts. A clear and good-sized font is advised. Unless artistic creativity is an essential skill, now is not the time to show-off.
This first part of your CV is critical. There should be an opening statement placed directly underneath your contact details.
In this statement, it should provide a snapshot of your appropriate skills and experience that match up to the job description of what you are applying for. Do not use cliché terms and overused phrases, as this will not make you stand out.
You need to consider why you are appropriate for the job and what you can bring to it. Try and think of original terms that will make your CV look more considered. Show that you have read the job description and understood the job role. Your CV needs to catch the employer’s attention by showing them you are a good fit for the job.
Your education and qualifications should also be featured just before your work experience and past job roles, this allows you to show the relevant skills you have obtained from your education, and how that makes you an appropriate candidate and adds to your existing work.
You must ensure that each qualification is listed with the date it was awarded and from which institution. Start with your highest qualifications and go back in reverse date order.
Add additional relevant internal training courses here.
The middle section of your CV should include your past job roles, experience and achievements. When it comes down to condensing experience onto a piece of paper, it can be quite difficult. But it is crucial to try and aim to keep your CV on a maximum of 2 sides piece of paper as this will make it more concise, simple and easy to read. Remember the employer will be reading hundreds of CV’s so you want to make yours as much of an easy read as possible.
All the information detailing your previous work experience should ideally be bullet pointed, rather than using long paragraphs, this will make it easier for the employer to read and pick out your essential skills for the job. It also allows you to really focus on the important information that makes you appropriate. Having all of this in bullet points means that the vital bits of information about you are not lost amongst lots of text.
Hobbies and Interests
Finally, in the end section of your CV you should include your interests appropriate to the field of work you are looking to enter, and your references.
Your interests are important as they help show off what type of person you are. Use this as an opportunity to show how your hobbies and interests, that are appropriate to the specific industry or job roles.
As this is the last part of the CV that the employer will read, it needs to stand out and be memorable. So, try and include things that will make your CV more interesting and unique than others.
Eating, drinking and spending time family are not really hobbies…
When it comes to references, these should be placed right at the end of the CV.
It is often standard practice to write “References available on request” as it gives you more space on the CV to include your skills and experience. Having just two references is usually sufficient, this can include a written reference from a college tutor. They should be able to vouch for your quality of work and character at work. You will need to confirm that your referees are happy to act in this capacity.