Often, the first introduction of a candidate to a prospective employer will be via your CV. It is so important to ensure that this initial representation of you is well presented, accurate and easy to read. We have put together some tips to help you construct your CV and a few points to avoid as well!
Some Good Tips
- Make sure all your sentences are clear and to the point. Lengthy sentences will turn off readers - remember that most employers will only spend a few minutes reading the initial contact CV.
- Your CV should be honest, factual and consistent.
- Use standard typefaces such as Arial, New Times Roman - no fancy fonts!
- When you have checked your CV, check it again, spell check it and then ask a friend to read it over. A lot of employers will take a poor view of something that is not clear or worse - a spelling error.
- Make sure your personal details are at the top of your CV, followed by a brief summary of your strengths and qualities. Ideally, this should not exceed 50 words.
- List your qualifications and any relevant training courses that you have attended. Make sure these are in chronological order beginning with the most recent first.
- Your career history should be detailed in chronological order, beginning with your most recent or current position. Detail your job title, description of duties along with how long you have held this position. If you have used specific software, particularly if this relates to your application - list this too as well as any professional memberships you may have with recognized organizations. Lay out these details in a clear form - bullet points may help.
- If you have been temping or contracting for a while, try and prcis this instead of listing each assignment individually.
- If you have held a good number of positions, employers will mainly be interested in your last 10 years of work experience, so details going further back can be shorter in content, i.e. Employer, Position and Date will often suffice.
- If you supply references on your CV, ensure the details, particularly the contact details, are up to date.
- Always ensure that you send your CV with a covering letter addressed to the person most appropriate to receive it, i.e. the person who may interview you, the contact named on the advertisement etc. Your covering letter needs to be well presented, clear and detail why you are applying for the position and briefly why you feel you would be the right applicant for the job, i.e. focus on what you have to offer the company more than list what you have done in the past. Your letter must be free of any errors!
- Always ask for feedback if you are not achieving any interviews so you can consider amending your CV and application letter. Maybe ask a friend if they feel your application and CV is a good representation of you and what you have to offer.
- It is acceptable to list your hobbies and interests at the end of the CV, but keep this brief!
Things not to do:
- Never tell an untruth and never show any contradictions on your CV, i.e. conflicting start and finish dates.
- Date your CV.
- Detail any previous, existing or salary expectations.
- It is not necessary to put the reason for leaving unless you feel it will help your application - most employers will ask you anyway.
- Detail any negative information or particularly irrelevant information that will be superfluous to your application.
- Detail references that are not able to be contacted or out of date.
- You may wish to view our CV template
- You may also want to view our Interview advice