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Write a CV

In an increasingly competitive job market, a well-written resume or CV is a vital component in obtaining the right job and progressing in your career. Employers are regularly receiving CVs for positions, especially if advertised on Internet job boards and local newspapers, so having a professional quality CV is vital if you wish to stand out and be noticed.

Format

The best CV format is reverse chronological order (i.e. starting with your most recent position working backwards). Things to include -

  • Basic/contact information (name, address, email address, contact phone number).
  • Profile section detailing your experience and areas of proficiency.
  • Employment history emphasizing recent achievements and key responsibilities
  • Education (Recent graduates may put this at the top).
  • Keep it simple – use bullet points instead of paragraphs to make your experience and key strengths easy and concise to read.

Although you may like unusual fonts and think that adding photos or clipart to your CV will make it interesting and visually stimulating, many people will not share your views.  You will be more successful to aim for a smart, professional look rather than a flash multi-coloured masterpiece.

Length of CV

One page normally cannot give enough information to highlight your attributes and skills – likewise an employer doesn’t want to slip a disk when picking up your CV.  Obviously use your judgement, but it is more important to include detail on your most recent positions and avoid great detail on what you did several years ago.  Typically between two and four pages will suffice for most people.

Make sure you spell check and proof read your CV before submitting and be especially careful with names etc. that will not be in a spellchecker.  Also keep your CV up to date; it is amazing how many people just add their most recent position to their old CV without updating previous positions to the past tense or giving leaving dates.
 
Use dates to show when you did things and avoid vague references such as "one year".  Include months as well as years for start and end dates for previous positions and ensure you account for gaps in your CV – i.e. travelling or career breaks.

Education information

It is important to list your education and qualifications – including grades – and again in reverse chronological order. If you have extensive work history it is not imperative to include a lot of information on your education, which may have been several years ago – however for recent school leavers/graduates there are many transferable skills, which are important to highlight.

Personal interests

Do include any details of hobbies or interests but make sure you are genuine – these can often be quizzed in an interview and the last thing you want to be is caught out being questioned about Renaissance Art!
 
And finally do ensure that all information is correct and honest – both agencies and potential employers do check details with previous employers and schools/universities and if you are discovered to be exaggerating or bare faced lying then unfortunately your well thought out and formatted CV will end up in the bin.