Compiling CV’s

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.

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