Writing a CV
The sole objective of a CV is to sell you and your skills to a prospective employer so that they want to meet you in person. It is not an autobiography. Stick to clear and concise information about what you have achieved.
Employers have to make decisions on whether to invite candidates for interview on what they see and read. You will also be judged on the presentation of your CV as well as the content.
- Word Process your CV, and use good quality paper.
- Use one type font throughout the CV and also use the same font in your covering letter.
- No more than two pages – If you cannot convey relevant information in two pages, they probably won’t take the time to read any further.
- No need to write ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top – it will be perfectly obvious what it is.
At the top of your CV, always include;
- Contact Numbers inc Mobile
- E-mail address
- Nationality or UK Visa Status
You cannot be contacted if there are no contact details on your CV
Detail your education and qualifications in a clear format, emphasizing your highest qualification. Always include:
- Qualification gained
- Dates of Study (Years only)
- University / College name
- Highlight good grades
You may also want to bullet point any particular areas or modules you studied during the course which will help communicate your areas of knowledge and skill to a prospective employer.
Always detail your education in chronological order.
If you have been in employment for between 2 and 10 years then you should just list all the qualifications you have keeping detail to a minimum. Include place of study and dates.
If you have obtained any professional qualifications during your employment history, ensure that these appear at the top.
If you are a graduate with limited employment history, highlight any work experience you have gained. Only include work experience relevant to the industry you are seeking work in.
If your employment history is between two and ten years, apply the basic rules above, however, as your experience spans a longer period of time, more focus should be given to your employment history, rather than academic qualifications.
- Lay out your employment history in chronological order with your most recent employment first.
- Use bold type to highlight the name of the employer and position to distinguish each position.
- If there is a gap in between your education and work history due to travelling, always include this as a stage of your history
- Dates of employment (months & years)
- Company’s name
- Job title. There should always be an accompanying paragraph with a brief description of the role, responsibilities and duties.
- Highlight projects worked on – try and quantify projects by size or cost, it gives the prospective employer an indication of the projects you worked on.
- Skills you developed in your role – always highlight any managerial experience.
- Key achievements – e.g. Projects that you worked on completing ahead of schedule, on budget etc
- If you have worked on a contract basis, ensure that this is clearly stated next to the Dates of Employment.
After a long employment history, education qualifications become less important as you have achieved your employment status through experience and hard work. Therefore, include academic and professional qualifications after your employment history.
- Focus on the last 5 years of employment and what you have achieved.
- If you have management experience, focus on what or who you have managed and any strategies you have implemented.
- If you have a long and varied career with many positions, highlight the last key positions and then list all other positions – no need for any major detail about your early career.
Other Information to be included
- Only list referees if they have agreed to provide references for you.
- Always include their address.
- If you do not wish prospective employers to contact referees without your permission, state it clearly at the bottom of the CV.
Hobbies and Interests
Whilst outside work interests sometimes gives an employer a better insight into the applicant, an employer will not offer you an interview simply because you both happen to have similar interests.
- Only list hobbies / interests if you have enough space
- keep them simple
- remember, whilst you may find your hobby interesting, others may not share your enthusiasm!
With the increase in digital technology, more and more people are using photographs to accompany their CV’s. Whilst it is nice to see what potential employees may look like, you as a candidate never know who will be reading and making a decision on your CV. You want them to invite you for interview based on your skills and experience, not because the employer likes the look of you. Keep the CV simple and ditch the photograph.
A covering letter (or covering email if you are sending your CV by electronic format) introduces you and most importantly states which position you are applying for.. Remember that many employers are recruiting for numerous positions at any one time, you need to make sure that your CV is looked at for the correct position. Your covering letter needs to be brief. Simply state:
- What position you are applying for or if it is a speculative approach
- Where you saw the position advertised
- What you current position is – employers name / job title or recently graduated
- Include any notice period if you are currently employed
- Include what your availability for interviews would be
- Always put your contact details on the covering letter in case it gets detached from the CV.
Before Sending Your CV
- Check your CV and covering letter through for spelling and grammar
- Make sure your contact details are clear and accurate.
Once you have sent your CV
- Contact the prospective employer in a couple of days to check that they have received it
- Ask when they will be making a decision to invite candidates for interview.
- Thank them for their time and wait to see the response