CV Writing

Introduction

Your CV is a sales document designed to get you an interview. It is therefore essential that it accurately reflects your suitability for the role that you are applying for. You are more likely to get an interview if you tailor your CV to a specific company or role. The best way to achieve this is to keep a template CV and modify it according to the target job. However, never be tempted to exaggerate your skills or experience. Here are some useful guidelines to avoid your CV being rejected before being read:

First impressions

First impressions are critical and if your CV does not attract the reader's attention in the first 30 seconds your chances of being offered an interview are greatly reduced. Employers often have numerous CVs to review in only a few hours. So put your work experience at the start of your CV, not personal or educational details, unless you have only just left education.

What an employer really wants to know is why they should invite you for an interview. For this reason a skills matrix stating your technical skills and relevant experience in years is a good idea.

securing an interview...


Securing an interview...

Visual layout

The visual layout of your CV is very important. Even though the wording you use may be correct, if people cannot find the information they want quickly they will move on to someone else's CV. You should have plenty of spaces in your CV with appropriate headings and section breaks.

Organising your CV

If your CV is not well organised then the reader will find it hard to follow and will not be able to build up a picture of you quickly. Remember the reader will not spend very long looking at your CV - so if they cannot find what they want they will not bother to read any further.

Length of CV

Employers do not want to know your whole life story - just enough to decide whether they should interview you or not. Nobody wants to read a ten page CV but contrary to popular opinion you do not have to limit it to two pages of A4. The optimum length depends on your level of experience, for example, a graduate CV should never be longer than two pages. However, if you have over ten years industry experience a three or four page CV is acceptable. Overwritten

Long paragraphs and sentences make a CV difficult to read quickly. Try to keep your sentences short and punchy. Use of bullet points to break up the text under section headings is often a good idea.

Too little information

A lot of people do not include enough details about their previous jobs and experience and an employer therefore does not have enough information - they will therefore have to reject your application.

Mistakes

Your CV should be carefully checked for such errors before you send it out to employers. Tiny errors in your CV can detract from an otherwise good CV and make you look lazy or careless - not the sort of qualities you want to portray to an employer. As you will probably be 'blind' to these errors you should get someone else to check your CV for grammar and spelling errors.

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