Your CV is your personal sales brochure. The purpose of your CV is to get your foot in the door and ensure you get an interview. The quality and presentation of your CV is vital when selling yourself. The appearance of your CV indicates to a prospective employer the type of person you are.
On average, potential employers will spend less than a minute looking at your CV. It therefore needs to be clear, concise, complete, and up-to-date. You should also personalise your CV for the job you are applying for, ensuring you highlight anything that is particularly relevant for that position.
Vital information to include in your CV is:-
- Name and contact details – a permanent address, home and mobile numbers and email address. If you are a graduate, give a term time and family address.
- Personal profile – a short paragraph designed to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. This should be straight to the point and highlight your key selling point.
- Academic qualifications (higher education only).
- Work experience – list in date order starting with the most recent. Includes dates, job title, company names and brief description of company. Employers will be most interested in what you have achieved and so for each job you have held, think about key results you brought about rather than produce a long list of duties.
- Additional relevant skills – only list things that support your case. You may be a fantastic juggler but unless you are applying for a job in the circus it’s not really of interest.
- Additional relevant information – for example if you are captain of a sports team, demonstrating leadership skills.
- Personal interests – the potential employer is not actually interested in whether you play badminton, but they will be interested to see if you are a team player or prefer to work alone
- Personal details – marital status etc
References do not need to be included at this stage although you should take along three referees to your interview so that you can provide them if needed.
Mistakes to avoid:-
- Ensure you haven’t made any grammar or spelling mistakes. Get somebody else to read your CV and check for any mistakes.
- Don’t draw attention to any negatives – concentrate on what you can do rather than what you can’t
- Try not to highlight any gaps in your work history – it may put people off. If you have genuine reasons for gap you can discuss these more easily face to face at an interview.
- Don’t use capitals and avoid excessive use of underlining or italics
- Use bullet points rather than long rambling sentences
- Don’t include graphics or lots of colour and stick to one typeface