A Simple CV is the answer
When a potential employer asks to see your CV they are looking for one thing only and that is a document that proves you are the ideal candidate for their role. Essentially a CV is a sales brochure which highlights your experience and makes you stand out from the crowd.
There is no universally accepted format for a CV, the structure can be flexible, but there are particular sections that employers expect to see on your CV regardless. Here is a guide:
It is essential that your personal details are clearly shown on your CV. This might seem obvious but as someone who see’s 1000s of CVs a week you would be surprised how many people don’t do this. Your name, address, phone numbers and email address must be clearly shown so that you can be contacted easily.
All employers like to see a personal statement which tells them about you. Be careful not to cram too much in or give too much personal information. Instead use it as forum to state your main skills and relate them to the job you have applied for. Therefore showing the prospective employer why you meet their needs and how you are suitable for their job.
This is hugely important section on your CV. List your recent position first and continue in reverse chronological order. Include the name, location, job title and dates of employment for each company you have worked for. Aim to use bullet points to highlight your key responsibilities in each role held. It’s also a good idea to list any achievements you had in each position. The idea is that the person scanning your CV can quickly match your experience with their job description. If you have gaps in your employment it’s a good idea to put in a short explanation as to why you were not working during this period. Other tips you are to leave any job which was for five months or less off your CV and to only go back on your work history 10 years.
Again its best to provide details on your education in reverse chronical order, give brief details of your academic qualifications i.e.: name or educational establishment and qualifications obtained. If you are looking for your first job after leaving education it’s a good idea to list the grades achieved as well. Professional qualifications should be listed separately from academic ones and these should include details of the examination body.
Whether you realise it or not you will have picked up may skills over the years, some tangible, some less so. Include every IT package or programme you have used as well as any language skills you have gained and state whether you’re at a basic, intermediate or advanced level. Skills such as communication, team work, and self-motivation are harder to substantiate and should be backed up with examples if possible.
Hobbies and Interests
Including hobbies and interests are optional and often used to fill up space at the end of the CV. But it is a good idea to use this as an opportunity to give the employer a more rounded picture of the type of person you are. It could also give the employer something more personal to discuss at an interview.
It is not necessary to list referees on your CV, but you should state that details are available on request. If this is going to be your first job it’s a good idea to nominate tutors or mentors. You’ll obviously need to choose referees that you’re confident will provide positive feedback about you, but you should also make sure they would be easily contactable by potential employers when the time comes.
A clear simple layout
Always keep your CV to two pages of A4 paper. It should be clear to anyone reading your CV where to find information they are looking for, with enough ‘white space’ to ensure they are not thrown into confusion at first glance.
Things to watch out for
Time spent making sure your CV is relevant is always time well spent. There are plenty of simple mistakes that are often made which turn employers off. Always do a spell check , nothing is more off putting to a potential employer than a CV with images and colour and under no circumstances attach a photo of yourself, you may be beautiful but your face is not going to get you a job – your skills and experience are. Steer clear of long paragraphs people don’t want to read them. The best typeface to use on your CV are ‘Times New Roman’ or ‘Arial’ because they are easy to ready and avoid using font sizes smaller than 11pt,employers don’t want to strain their eyes reading it, in fact they won’t they’ll just put it in the ‘No’ pile. Finally don’t use txt speak or jargon, only use abbreviations that are universally known.
The purpose of a CV is not to get you a job but to get an interview. Always remember you’re not writing the CV for yourself, you are writing it for a potential employer. As you write your CV, put yourself in their shoes. Keep it short, to the point and above all else, interesting. Due to the high volume of applications they receive employers will generally spend at most 20 seconds initially reviewing each CV so it’s important that you get it right. If you follow my guidelines you’re on the right track to presenting the information in a clear, concise and persuasive way.