The main purpose of the Curriculum Vitae is to get you into the Personnel Manager’s Office for an interview - once there you can make your case in person.
There is no such thing as the RIGHT way to construct a CV. Every employer, Careers Adviser, recruitment consultant has different ideas about the best way to design one. A CV should reflect your own personality and as such be unique.There are, however, a number of basic guidelines to follow:
- Length of the CV: 2 pages - 3 pages at maximum.
- Brief: simple statements - no paragraphs.
- Paper: good quality. A4 size.
- Prepare the CV yourself on computer. There must be no mistakes.
- Presentation is very important; the CV is your Sales Document. Allocate space strictly in proportion to the importance of the information.
- Target your CV to job and employer you apply to.
- Referees: normally two, one academic required, the other a previous employer.
- Make it look presentable and eye-catching. Use white spaces to make it more organised, easy to read and visually attractive.
- Be concise, include only relevant information. Focus on your skills and abilities, and how you can help meet his/her needs.
- Make your CV action-orientated. Use verbs to show the range of your skills.
- Even though CVs should be comprehensive and stand alone, never send a CV without a covering letter.
- Do not use the same CV for vastly different jobs. Try, whenever possible, to target your CV and covering letter to particular occupations and/or particular employers.
- Always keep a photocopy of your CV so that you can reread it before going to an interview.
Assessing the final product
When you have finished writing your CV ask yourself:
- Has it been tailored to suit the job I am applying for?
- Have I said enough to interest the reader?
- Is the information clear?
- Have I described and quantified my achievements and skills?
- Is it me?
- Will it pass the 30-second test i.e. screened/filtered and put to one side to be read again?
If the answer to any of the above questions is NO, then think again before sending it to an employer.