Agency point of View
In this time of credit crunching and job losses we all need to spend some time reviewing our CV's. Just in case. It may be that we see the ideal job, the closing date is today - your CV is ready, or you hear some really bad news about redundancy and need to get a job straight away.
Quite often redundancy comes as a shock, however in the current financial climate anything can happen (as we have seen with Woolworths etc). So it's best to be prepared.
In the old days we would send our CV's on paper, these days it's all application forms and e-mail. Which lowers costs and time taken to prepare.
The point of a CV is to give the potential employer/agency a snippet of what you have been doing in relation to the job advertised. They don't want your life story. Previously being a recruitment assistant for an agency in commercial recruitment,
I advertised up to 15 jobs per week, each application could get me (if I'd written the advert well) between 25 and 100 responses per day. You do the maths - I am too frightened to. So I had to scour lots of CV's to find the people who I thought may be suitable. Each CV would get 10 seconds of my time. More if there was something interesting on them.
Each recruiter I worked with did exactly the same as all applications had to be looked at (courtesy and fear of missing someone amazing). So for an agency you have 10 seconds at the most. Which means that the top of the CV must stand out, if it doesn't you have lost my attention.
The things which lack importance - such as where you live, if you have children, how many pets you have, can all go at the bottom.
To start pick a font. This sounds unimportant, but like handwriting, this can put people off if you are writing in bubble letters and if it looks too big and not professional enough. Stick to Times New Roman and Ariel in size 10-12.
At the top I put my name, phone number and e-mail address. At the very bottom under additional information I put my address (in case the location is paramount to the application). Now we need our headings
Write a couple of lines about yourself -written in the 3rd person. I'm not sure why but this needs to look as if someone has written it about you - old CV etiquette I think. This should refer to the job you may be applying for.
If it is a role where you will be working on your own/ in a team/ using excel/ databases/ typing fast. Say it. For example this is what I would put:-
A pro-active and self motivated with experience coordinating recruitment campaigns singularly and of volume. Excellent and accurate administrative skills. An enthusiastic team player with excellent customer service skills and a can-do attitude.
Next would be
~ Key Experience~
Here you would put your most recent job. Unfortunately the formatting in word doesn't come out in the box where I paste my review so on the left would be - the company you worked for - tab along and write the dates e.g. Jan 2007- Present underneath the company would be your title e.g. Recruitment Coordinator and underneath this would be bullet points detailing your duties.
These duties should be shaped around the role you are applying for. For example if you are a administrator and are looking to get into HR Admin. You would look at the job spec and list everything you have done, or everything that is similar in order of the job spec (as that is how important it is to them). You would add in confidential work you have done and anything that is even remotely similar. The key is to get the prospective employer interested without lying.
NEVER Lie. You will get found out !
The tip which is the most important is not to give too much of information on your CV, such as details of projects etc as you can go into more detail in the interview. This brief information may whet their appetite for more!
I found in most cases that once you knew what the culture was it was easy to fill a job as most of the time the interviewer would train someone who would fit in with the culture - and was 'their type of person'.
I would be able to spot someone walking in the door that would be good for a particular company. As in personality, the type, or where they had worked previously. It would be my job (even if the person's work experience wasn't quite what they were looking for) to help the applicant match their CV with the job spec to get them the interview. Once the person had some interview training (I'll see if I can find the subject on Dooyoo) the job was basically theirs.
Following the above points you may have several CV's. You may need to mould these slightly each time you apply for a job.
For example. If you are an administrator (which could mean a multitude of things) you may apply for roles like secretary, admin, HR admin, PA, client services, librarian, office manager, receptionist, telephonist. The list goes on. Depending on your experience in that role you may have organised office moves or sorted out new couriers (like an office manager). You may have managed diaries for people (like a secretary or PA). So you need to draw these skills out and put them at the top of your CV.
Now the next bit can go before or after your Key experience - this is depending on 2 things - whether you need certain qualifications to do the role. Or you had excellent GCSE/A Level/Degree results and / or went to a brilliant school. If any of the above applies, put the education bit before the jobs you have done.
If you have taken extra courses as part of a job, or anything personal you have done to make your skills better (something that would relate to the job applied for - not flower arranging if you applied for a secretary for example)
If this is not obvious in the courses taken / education you may want to add any facts - for exaple I scored 55wpm and was advanced in Word and Excel (when I took an agency test). So I would add that in - if there are any fancy packages you use such as databases, media packages, PRINCE2 add it in here, again if it is unusual and required for the job add it in under your experiences.
And as said before right at the bottom I add
I put my address, but you may like to add about family or date of birth. I would advise against either of these as it gives the recruiter or prospective employer an opportunity to discriminate subconsciously thinking they wouldn't interview someone with children as they may take time off, but will interview a single person - when actually a single person may be more likely to take time off work (due to hangovers). This is not factual in anyway - just an example.
There you go - you should have a fabulous CV or 2 to get you going. These tips are not exhaustive and are no means 'correct'. These were tips I picked up from colleagues and my own preferences. You may find that you use one or 2 of the tips and gets you a perfect job, or you use all of the tips and it gets you nowhere. You need to make it your own and use other ideas to get your CV to how you like it. It just needs to be clear and concise.
I have babbled on and thank you for your patience and ratings. I hope this has been helpful to some people. I have spell checked, but in case I have overlooked anything - apologies!
OK, many people out of work producing their own CV to apply for jobs. They are simple aren't they?
I was always taught to put your name and address at the top with vital information such as marital status and number of children, then your qualifications followed by work experience.
This is known as the 'tombstone CV' because in it will be buried in a big pile rather than stand out.
HOW TO STAND OUT
First, start by getting some paper. Not just some A4 white cheap tesco rubbish, get something of quality. Paper of 100g is quality, one of the most recognisable and professional brands is Conqueror though this is expensive and in a large pack. If you can, also get the matching envelopes.
Secondly, the format of your CV is important. If you can't get the essentials on one page, you have spent too much time getting irrelevant qualifications or swapped jobs too often. Either that or you are listing jobs you had during World War One.
THE ONE PAGE CV - STARTING
Start at the top with your name and contact details. Your name, address, contact telephone number (just one) and possibly email address.
The telephone number must have a professional sounding answer machine and landlines do look more professional than a mobile number although I understand this is not always possible.
Next, straight into your work history, not your qualifications. Your work history must be in reverse order and shouldn't be lists after lists. Try to limit it to just four jobs. Although I say four jobs, write a paragraph about every job you've ever had and don't worry if it goes over several pages for the time being.
When you write these paragraphs, you need to pad out your sentences in a sensible manner. You have to understand how your CV will be read.
Your CV won't be read.
It will be scanned. And when you scan a document you look down the left hand side of the page more than the right.
You need power words on the left of the page. Words such as 'managed', 'controlled' or 'created'.
Let me illustrate. Which stands out to you?:
* Ran my own business for seventeen years and it was succesful
* Successfully managed a profitable business for seventeen years
Don't write 'I sent faxes and made coffee', anyone can do this.
Follow this up with qualifications.
Follow this up with either references the potential employer can contact or with interests. Don't use both and you don't have to use either. Use references with caution.
Do not write your marital status. Do not write the number of children you have. You may write your date of birth if you wish but remember all of these things can be used against you so use them with caution.
ONE PAGE CV
Ok, you now have a CV which may spread across a number of pages. Don't cut it down to one page. Save it. Save it again under a different name as a backup.
Wait until a job opportunity arrives. Ok, this one is for administration in a hospital.
Go to your CV and pick the most relevant jobs to this vacancy. Delete the bus driver job you did several years ago as this isn't relevant. You will soon have a customised CV applicable to the job. Remove dates from all jobs apart from the most recent if there are gaps.
The next job that comes up is to be a lorry driver. This time, you will want to leave the bus driver job on the CV. As you spot, you have written one long CV and customise it to each job you apply for, squeezing onto one page.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
I have spent time going through CVs and application forms. They are boring. If you don't stand out in the first few seconds, you will be ignored.
So what stands out?
Quality paper, readable font, professional looking and short. I want to know about you in a three second scan. I don't want to read a novel about your life history.
Give the potential employer as much information as needed without wasting their time.
And remember, sentences that begin with and are never good! Good grammer and spell checks are essential. Text language is a definate no!
P.S. I havent speled chequed this revoo!
Having worked in HR (Human Resources), Personnel & Training related roles for well over 15 years now and on top of that having been called upon by many relatives, friends and friends of friends to help them create their CVs from scratch or update their existing CVs, I thought, why not put some CV writing advice into my own words?
WHAT IS A CV?
The acronym CV is short for Curriculum Vitae also known as Resume (although the term CV is pretty much standard in the UK). It's a selling tool for individuals wishing to secure employment. It's a record of your academic and employment history, your key achievements and skills, as well as a chance to say what you want out of your future career.
WHY WRITE A CV?
Well one would assume you're looking for a new job or even your first job or returning to work after a period of unemployment or after having brought up the kids. Your initial thought is to pick up the local paper and see what's going. You spot a job which looks like it's right up your street (not quite literally, but if it is on your street, then that's even better) and you give them a call. The first thing they'll ask you (99% of the time) is "Have you got a CV?" or "Can you send me your CV?"
If you've not got a CV ready to send/fax/email them, you're already in trouble. By the time you've gone out and created one from scratch, the job will most probably have gone. You walk into any recruitment agency these days and they too will first ask for your CV.
If, on the other hand, the role you're applying for calls for completion of an application form and submission of a cover letter to accompany it, DO NOT submit a CV instead! This will send you to the bottom of the pile or even into the bin
THE ORDER OF THINGS
Use white good quality paper, don't use photocopies. Use a standard font such as Times New Roman, 11 or 12 point. This is fairly easy on the eye font on use and about the right size, although many people are using Arial 11 these days too.
Start off your CV with your full name - don't use nicknames.
On the next line, type your full address, don't abbreviate anything, such as Rd for Road, or Middx for Middlesex, Berks for Berkshire. Make sure you include your full correct post code.
On the next line, type your contact telephone numbers; if you use a land line or home telephone number, it makes sense to have an answering machine to catch any calls from potential employers or from agencies if you are out. Make sure your mobile phone has voice mail activated and make sure you have a clear and polite message asking the caller to leave their name, number and brief message. It really is not a good idea to have music on your voice mail message, I've lost count of the times I've tried to contact someone on their mobile and heard very loud rap music or the latest number one hit single and have hung up before leaving a message. Employers WILL do the same. No one wants to sit through 60 seconds of loud music just to leave a message, is it worth losing out on a job just to have what you might consider "cool" music for your callers to listen to?
Leave a few lines and then type a Personal Profile for yourself. An example of a Personal Profile could be "A confident, mature and experienced customer service and telesales individual with over 5 years experience in the industry wishing to secure a role with new challenges and the possibility of career progression." Don't lie in your CV, you'll get caught out, e.g. don't say that you're confident if you are very shy and don't say you have 10 years experience in a retail environment when you've only had 2 weeks work experience in Boots from when you were studying at high school!
You could follow on from your Personal Profile with a summary of your Key Skills and Achievements listing things such as:
# Increased branch profitability by 25% by suggesting and implementing cost cutting measures at Company ABC
# 5 years recent supervisory and management experience
# Ran a successful sandwich business for 3 years
# Voted Salesperson of the year in 1999 at Company XYZ
# Designed new corporate logo for Company AAA in 2002
# 6 years experience as a Chef
Try to avoid listing things which are irrelevant to the job (or type of job) you're applying for such as "My last boss said I make a lovely cup of tea" or "I know how to use a photocopier and fax machine"
If you don't want to list your Key Skills, move on to your Employment History now. List the employer name and the period you worked for the employer. Don't type 2002 - 2003 as that could mean late December 2002 to early January 2003, which amounts to just a couple of weeks to cover the Christmas sales. Employers are not stupid, they'll see through this ploy if you are just trying to cover up a few weeks work by making it seem you were there longer. They can also check up by contacting your referees too. Below the employers' name, state your job title and then briefly list your duties. Don't write an essay, it doesn't need to be an attempt to win any national awards for literary excellence. Keep It Short and Simple (K.I.S.S.)! Potential employers or recruiters don't want to read your complete job description for each job you've ever done listed in your CV. Your CV is a taster of what you're about. It's to get you in the door to that ever increasingly allusive interview. Oh and remember to start with your most recent position first and work your way down. Employers tend to prefer work history in this order.
Leave a blank line in between each job you list.
When you've finished listing your present and past jobs, you can start with your Education/Training. Here you need to list your most recent academic achievements such as training courses attended, evening classes, university qualifications, etc. Lastly put in your high school qualifications (if you have any), such as GCSEs, O' Levels, CSE's, GNVQs, etc.
Lastly you can list Additional Information, such as interests, date of birth, whether or not you have a driving license and/or car. Try not to list interests that indicate a negative character trait such as "I love getting drunk with my mates at the weekend" or "I enjoy having heated debates with people" You'll come across as someone with alcohol dependency issues and/or an argumentative so and so!
By the way if you're applying for a job fresh out of full time education, it would make more sense to have your education listed before your work experience, especially if you're work experience is just two weeks in Thomas Cook when you were 15 or 16 years old and 5 years ago.
It is not necessary to state your marital status or religion or how many children you have or height, weight, nationality, colour of your hair, parents' names, whether you're gay or straight. This information is totally unnecessary and any employer worth their salt would know it's illegal to ask most of these things or base a decision on whether or not to interview based on any of these!
You might want to include your email address as a contact method at the top of your CV after your address and telephone number but you should really only do this if you intend (and are able) to check your email at least once every day. Another thing to remember about using email addresses is to try to use a sensible sounding email address, firstname.lastname@example.org doesn't quite give off the right impression and nor does email@example.com - nothing wrong with having a unique sounding email address but downright cheeky or offensive won't generally help your case.
Don't list your salary and don't give reasons for leaving jobs on your CV.
I wouldn't recommend listing your reference details on your actual CV. It's not unheard of for recruitment consultants to pull these details off candidate's CVs to call them up to try to get new business. People who've agreed to be listed as your references will soon get rather hacked off if recruitment consultants are ringing them up ten times a day asking if they have any vacancies.
LENGTH OF CV
There really is no perfect length that a CV should be. Whilst it's not a good idea to have a 5 page long CV (people will rarely read the whole thing), a 1 page CV is not always sufficient to list the key information needed to get you to interview stage. As a guide 2 to 3 pages is about the right length. Don't use too big a font to "pad out" a CV and don't use a font so small that the employer has to get out a magnifying glass to read it. Keep it well spaced out and nicely formatted.
I've tried to keep to the point above with my advice whilst including things not to do in a CV. Above all, it's important to keep in mind that your CV is a "taster" and selling point for potential employers. When you get to an interview, you will have the chance to expand on your job duties and academic achievements. You don't stand much chance of getting a job if the interviewer has your CV in front of them and you rattle off word for word what is printed in front of them.
Although it's important to have an impressive looking CV, this doesn't mean you need to have sleepless nights because your CV doesn't look like the best one in the world. Just try to make sure your CV gets your foot in the door - REMEMBER the employer wants to know how you will be an asset to the organisation, not how perfectly laid out and detailed your CV is (although it's definitely a no-no to have a CV with spelling and grammatical errors - if you're not sure, get someone to proof it for you).
AND ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
Here's a selection of CV blunders I found at jobsite.co.uk - some awful goofs - which really need to be re-phrased!
1. Received a plague for Salesperson of the Year.
2. Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.
3. Let's meet, so you can get really excited over my experience.
4. I was working for my mum until she decided to move house.
5. Marital status: Single. Unmarried. Unengaged. Uninvolved. No commitments.
6. I am loyal to my employer at all costs. Will consider anything, please feel free to respond to my CV and call me on my work number.
7. Unwilling to re-locate or travel as my previous job involved a lot of travel sometimes at short notice and it completely exhausted me.
8. My goal is to be a psychologist but since I didn't go to college and get a qualification, I suppose I should stick to being a personnel manager.
9. Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a National Retail Chain.
10. The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.
11. Achievements: I was proud to win the Typting Award at secretarial college.
12. Personal Statements: I will give the job my all as long as it doesn't interfere with my busy social life. My social life is very important to me.
And if number 12 above made you laugh, I interviewed a chap a while ago who actually asked if we could consider making the job part-time instead of full-time as he had a very hectic social life and liked a few drinks with his mates most evenings! Beat that... Fairly needless to say, he didn't get the job.
I work for the UK's leading CV consultancy and this is the advice we give out: THE CV CV writing is a controversial subject - part art, part science. If you ask any two people their idea of the perfect CV, you are likely to get two different and rather subjective responses. However, there are a number of 'do's, 'don't's and common pitfalls, which most personnel professionals would agree on. If you bear these in mind when preparing your CV, you stand a much better chance of surviving the 'CV cull'! LENGTH Far too long - Probably the principal mistake people make when preparing their own CVs. We keep CVs brief and cut out the waffle - 2 pages is generally a maximum, and for those with little experience 1 page generally makes more sense. We also use other techniques such as bullet pointing - these help make your CV easier to read; they help make it punchy. DETAIL We eliminate what a prospective employer would see as unnecessary detail, e.g. we only list years, not months (this also helps to cover up chronological gaps). We look at each piece of information which could be included and think, 'Does this help your case?' If it doesn't then we leave it out. HISTORY We concentrate on your recent history and summarise older information. If you've got A Levels then we don't list all your O Levels/GCSEs. Similarly, if you've got a degree, there's no need to include A Level grades unless they're all As or Bs. Employers are most interested in what you've done most recently, although they obviously still need to know the basics of older information. INTERESTS & ACTIVITIES A common mistake is to write far too much in this section. With the CV trend moving increasingly towards the American résumé style, which precludes such a section, we recommend keeping it to a minimum. KEY SKILLS The inclusion of a 'Key Skills' section is progr
essively less popular these days. It is now considered better to spread evidence of key skills and abilities throughout your employment history. Specific points should be addressed in the covering letter, a vitally important part of any application. REFERENCES Details of referees shouldn't be included on your CV. They clutter it up and, more importantly, you will find that your referees get pestered unnecessarily by time-wasters. By the time they have given handled their tenth enquiry of the day, they are a lot less likely to give a helpful response.
I am approaching this from a slightly different angle as I used to be responsible for taking on new staff and so have seen hundreds of CV's. I can let you in to what employers are looking for, at least what I was looking for. I have probably appplied for around 30 jobs (in about 12 years) and had interviews for well over half of them so I think my CV writing skills are pretty good. Trivia time first then - CV stands for Curriculum Vitae which is latin for "The course of one's life", gripping stuff hey! It is known as a Resume in the USA. The CV should be seen as a tool to get you an interview for the job. No employer worth their salt is going to employ someone purely on the basis of reading a CV, no matter how good it is. The interview is far more important and in my opinion harder to prepare for. All you can ask of a good CV is that it gets you to the interview stage. When assessing candidates for a job the employer asks themselves three main questions: 1. Can the candidate do the job? 2. Will the candidate do the job? and 3. Will the candidate fit into the role? All the questions can largely be answered with the CV as it refers to qualifications and past experience but the last two are easier to guage at interview. Your CV should contain the following basic information. Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address (if you have one), education and qualifications, career history, activities outside work (include hobbies etc) and references. Depending on the type of job applied for the length and amount of detail in each section will vary. It's a waste of time putting down that you have a degree in history if you want a Saturday job at McDonald's. I am using this as an example so please don't take the Michael, some would disagree with me but I have applied for jobs which I felt overqualified for and been turned down for an interview. If your potential emplo
yer feels threatened by you from your CV then that might not be a good thing. Human nature is not always condusive to making the right business decisions! It is vital you research the job you are applying for, especially if it is your dream job or something out of the ordinary. Try to find out what your prospective employer is looking for and how they usually choose recruits. Some firms never advertise positions, relying on word of mouth to fill vacancies. Did you know that around 70% of jobs are filled in this way? If you want a job with a company that doesn't advertise then you need to take a slightly more direct approach. Write to the company yourself, they will probably get several such approaches if they are good employers so why not try delivering the letter by hand? You may even bump into someone important there and get your face known a bit. (Head of Human Resources/Personnel would be good!) The CV does not need to be a massive tome of information, two sides of A4 is plenty and even better if you can get it all onto one side. The interview is your chance to sell yourself, the employer will get bored of wading through dozens of applications for a job and even more if they are long-winded. I should know I had 100 or so people apply for a saturday job in my shop! The length of CV can be lengthened if the job requires it, use your own judgement here. The Saturday Boy in my shop would easily get away with an A4 sheet but if applying for Prime-Minister you may need to waffle (freudian slip?) but still try to keep it short and to the point and interesting if you can. Certainly shorter and more interesting than most of my reviews/opinions! Tailor your CV to the job description. If the job description says you need to be highly literate then give examples that illustrate you have this attribute. Look through the description carefully and make sure you pick out all the criteria the employer is looking for and do
cument that you meet them. The employer may well have a check list which they will tick off as he reads your CV. Make sure the document is presentable, not tatty and torn as the first impression the employer gets is vital. You only get one chance to make a first impression - wasn't that a hairspray advert? Use high quality paper as this will make your CV stand out from the crowd, not garish dayglo pink though! Maybe if applying for a job with "Smile" this colour would be OK? I would recommend attaching a covering letter on A5 to the front of your A4 CV with a paper clip. This was the employer can read the letter and see your CV is there as well, employers can be rather simple at times so you need to be obvious! I also recommend at least some of the documentation to be hand-written as they often like examples of handwriting. Maybe just hand-write the application letter. Make sure this is absolutely your best hand-writing with NO MISTAKES! You wouldn't believe the state of some applications I have had, would you employ someone who can't even be bothered to spell correctly in a job application? In the hobbies and interests section of your CV be careful what you put. The old favourite of "socialising with my friends" can be misinterpreted to "going on the p***" which isn't good. It is good to show examples of hobbies and interests which could be work related, for example I work for an internet bank so my dooyoo addiction could be seen as helpful in my position. If you do voluntary work this is a brilliant thing to have on your CV. References are very important on the CV, just put "references available on request" if you are stuck or don't want to put names down at this stage. Good reason to leave your previous jobs on amicable terms! If you don't even get an interview from your CV then ask the employer why not, or more subtley ask them if they can g
ive you some feedback/pointers for your own future reference. I recommend sending another copy of the CV as the orginal may well have been filed in the big round metal file. Don't expect too many replies to this but I for one would reply if asked nicely! Then it's the interview, hopefully, you're on your own there - is there somewhere to write about that? Sorry to use he or him all the time by the way, I am not sexist but I am a man so use he/him.
A lot of jobs and course that are currently being advertised require applicants to submit a current curriculum vitae (CV) either instead of or in addition to your application form. Therefore, being able to produce an effective CV is an important task for anyone looking to apply for further/higher/professional education courses or wishing to move jobs and improve their carer prospects. To produce a successful CV, you need to have a good idea about where you are now - what are your skills, qualifications, motivations and interests? - as well as where you want to be (i.e. occupations, organisations and career preferences). ● What does the employer want? One of the biggest mistakes people make when applying for jobs is making the assumption that the same CV can be used in every application - it is important to remember that your CV must be individually tailored to each situation, so that it is relevant to that specific job or course. Therefore, the best place to start is finding out what the employer in question wants, in terms of qualifications, skills, experience, abilities and attitudes. You can find this out by referring to the employer's advert, the job description, and any further information sent to you or that you can find about the company (e.g. from a careers service or on the WWW). You are now in a position to draw up a "wish list" for the job you are applying for and can ask yourself if you can provide evidence to account for each of the points on that list. For example, if the employer states that they want candidates to have good communication skills, what activity can you identify from your own experience that demonstrates that you have this? ● Beginning your CV First of all, put your name as the title of the document - you do not need to say "curriculum vitae" as it is perfectly obvious what it is! Below the title, it is usual to have your personal details first so th
at the employer knows exactly who is applying for the job in question. You will need to state your address, telephone number and email address if you have one, gender if this is not immediately clear from your name, marital status if you feel this is relevant, and nationality if you are from overseas. This section should take up as little space as possible, so that you still have ample room to include all the relevant details that your application will need. ● Qualifications / Education Beneath your personal details, you will need to include a clear summary of your qualifications, with the most relevant first (usually the most recent). State the date of your qualifications, the class/grade if you have it and the name of the school, college or university that you attended. Remember to allocate space according to the importance and relevance of the qualifications. If you have a degree or higher degree, give the full title of it, and consider including a focused list of modules undertaken if you think this will enhance your chances of being considered for the job. Also include skills you have gained from your course (e.g. time management, research skills, working independently) and any publications. When applying for graduate positions, your GCSE results become less relevant and so consider merely stating the number you gained and only naming those necessary to the job (e.g. 7 As and 2Bs including English and Maths). ● Employment history This is the other major section of your CV, which shows the employer the number and range of your previous occupations as well as how long you lasted in each of them. In most cases put the most recent first and work backwards, but if you have had some especially relevant work experience in the past, you may wish to draw attention to it by having a separate section entitled "relevant work experience". In either case, you need to include the name of your employer,
the dates you worked in that job, your job title and a summary of your responsibilities and skills. Try to make the summary as relevant, interesting and appropriate as possible. ● The rest of your CV It is up to you what you put in the rest of your CV once you have put the standard details in as described above. A section on your interests is useful, as it helps to show the employer what you are like as a person, and can also add additional skills and experiences to your profile. In addition to this, you may have other achievements that haven't been covered by previous headings that you wish to add (such as being able to speak another language or having computer literacy) - choose headings that reflect your selling points (e.g. publications, responsibilities, skills profile, leisure activities). Think also about the impression that you want to create with the employer - do you want to seem competitive, outgoing, a team player, independent, a good organiser, etc? Round off your CV by giving your two referees (unless you have included them on an application form that is). Choose people who know you and can comment honestly (and positively!) on your achievements - if you have recently left school or college, then one should be an academic referee (especially if you are applying for a course), while the other is usually your last employer (if relevant). Include their name, job title, contact address, telephone number and their relationship to you (i.e. college tutor, former employer, etc). ● Some general points - Your CV should be word processed, spell checked and with correct grammar and punctuation. - Space is precious, so use no more than 2 A4 sides (possibly three if you are highly experienced). The employer will only skim the CV, so you have minimal space to convince them to give you an interview. - The layout of your CV is essentially up to you, as long as it includes all pertinent mater
ial and is clear and easy to read. - Make sure every piece of information you include had earned its place. - Use no more than 2 font styles and sizes and avoid long paragraphs. Instead use headings, tables and bullet points to get your details across. - Tell your referees what you are applying for, and give them a copy of your application. - Use positive words such as "responsibilities" rather than dull ones such as "duties". - Print out your CV on good quality paper and check through it make sure that it appears professional and creates the right impression. - Keep a copy of your CV and take it to the interview with you. And finally ? good luck to anyone who is applying for jobs at the moment! :-)
I have had a straw poll among my circle of friends, and they have asked me with my vast experience to write an opinion on Preparing a C.V. so here goes. The first thing I would say is that one should prepare it on a computer, preferably in Word, and check it for spelling and punctuation. Presentation is all important when it comes to putting something for a potential employer I think. Now, at the top of your C.V. it is important to put your name. Having a name is terribly important. An employer cannot write back if they don?t know your name. In this case, x will not do either. I realise this may be a problem if your name happens to be x elff x, but look at it this way, if the person reading the C.V. puts their thumb over the wrong part of the C.V. then the name could be x. Therefore it helps to have a nice name I think, and if anybody needs to change their name then this can be done by deed poll, but remember once you have changed your name write it down, because if you are in a room being called forward to interview, it's no use if you've forgotten your name. I've got a nice name. When I parked my car at the office today, I said ANDREWSJK and the security guard let me straight in, name's on the list see!! Also if you'll excuse me for a second, if I lean across the computer here, see I've typed ANDREWSJK into another system and got in there as well. Right, next thing on C.V. is your address. It helps to have an address. A full address is an essential I think, Sexy Kay c/o Dooyoo may not be enough. The name would get anybody a job I believe, but the postman may not be able to deliver the letter. Right, next thing is age and/or date of birth. Sue26 must tell the truth here, you are no longer 26 unfortunately Sue !! Now, the next thing to put down is what primary and secondary schools you attended, and what results at examinations you achieved there. This gives the reader some idea of how
you have developed, and whether there is potential for you. I have many C.V's and for younger people this is the only point of reference for a first job. I did in fact go to school, so I always put mine down, but being in the dark ages I wonder if anyone ever understands it any more. Many of these points now and to follow should ideally take the form of the important bullet points (bullet as in important, not in getting oneself shot !!). You should not write a 2,500 word Dooyoo opinion on a C.V. as the reader these days often has in excess of 100 to read, and wishes to sift out the better applicants as soon and as well as possible. The C.V should ideally be a maximum of four pages long. Right, now I hope Smark1985 is finding this Very Useful, because the next entry on a C.V. should be what College of Further Education one attended, and what courses and results were achieved there. This will give the reader a further insight into one's academic career, and whether one may be willingly to go on to sit for professional qualifications. I was offered a job before I was able to attend a college, but I have got professional qualifications in accounting, so there !! I believe it is also important to put down one's private interests as it tells what type of person you are. I was MC at The Cats fantasy festival last week, wearing a shiny gold suit, but I won?t put that down as I don't think it is relevant to a new employer. But I will mention that I like writing serious short stories, AND I actively marshal at motor race meetings. Get the kind of idea, present yourself in a good light. One should now mention what sort of aspirations one has for one's career, where you see yourself heading and where you would like to be in the future. This help's a potential employer differentiate between an employee who will stick at a job for very many years from one who wishes to rise up through the ranks It may also be a considera
tion to state on a C.V. sent to particular employer's why one is interested in that job, but this may be optional. Now, for those of us who have had jobs before, all previous jobs should be mentioned, with name and address and type of business of those former employers, the particular job one undertook , any particular successes and a reason for leaving. Now, I must have had about 10 previous jobs, most of which went down the drain due to lack of business acumen by the employer, so I have to very much precis what I say. I have said that a C.V. should be short and to the point, and so is this opinion going to be as I don't want a Crown for it anyway !!! Doo call again.
Here you go another person telling you yet another way to write your cv. The first thing to rememebr is that the CV is only there to get you on the short list. It isnt there for someone to read and then employ you without seeing you. So where do you start? Your CV evolves with you from the time that you do something it is worth telling someone about. Most people think that the CV starts when you leave school, ok so that is the main part but think of all the things you have done before you left: The Saturday job, the clubs you belonged to, what events you have attended, work experience (not the part about being taken to the pub every lunch time though), awards that you gained, but i would leave out the width badge you got when you were 7 years old. Basically you are trying to display yourself as a well rounded individual, that in nearly all cases is lacking experience. That is what you get once you have a job. When writing your CV it is important not to over elaborate points and stretch the imagination too far. I have been to interviews and have had people come to me for interviews. If something on the CV looks a bit ambitious you will get asked about it if you make the interview. Some people dont even get interviews because their CV appears too elaborate for their age, background, history. The CV must be honest without putting yourself down. If something you have done is good, get it down on paper, if you are being honest you will be able to talk freely about the subject at an interview. Lie and the interview will be a nightmare. OK so when you have decided on a few key points think about the layout, structure and length. Firstly the CV should not be more than three to four pages. Give someone a CV that has their entire life history in a leather bound book and I doubt it will get looked at. It should also be easy to pick out the key data the interviewer is looking for. Hiding good points in with worse points WILL get them
overlooked. The interviewer will have hundreds of CV's to read and if they are too difficult to get the details they will probably turn into paper aeroplanes. With the structure try and find a template that suites you e.g a front page that is personal details and qualifications, the rest of the CV your work history (latest to oldest). Make sure the personal details are correct, the right phone number, email address (be warned not to use a stupid address that is a joke one for your mates...it can put people off) Keep the format the same e.g. Job Title Company Date From Date to Brief description of role (couple of lines) Main Duties (Bullet points) Main Acheivements (Bullet points) The size of each of these sections should reduce the further from the present day you get. Make the bullet points punchy and know what you meant by each one without having to read the CV again. It is not essential to put all acheivements down, if you can keep some back as additional talking points in the interview. It is important to know your CV thoroughly so you do not need to be looking at it when you are in the interview. You can run through your history in the same order as you have written and pick up on the bullet points you quoted. Keep your CV up to date and review it regularly. Nothing is harder than trying to write up nine years work when you are looking ot move on, I KNOW. The memory doesnt always give you the whole picture, plus you will be wasting valuable application time writing a new CV. Finally get as many people as possible to read it and give you feedback. Listen to what they say and read as many other CV's as you can. It all helps!!! That just leaves me to say, good luck out there and maybe I will see your CV on my desk one day.
It's time for Mr Serious Head for a change... Your curriculum vitae is an absolutely essential tool if you're looking to change jobs and it is really your only chance to sell yourself to prospective employers. As with many such things a good CV can do you a great service and make all the difference in you getting the job you want, but equally a bad one can end any hopes you've got of landing the dream post, so it's vital you get it right. Let's consider then the do's and don't's of a good CV: The key thing is always to get noticed, but you have to be careful. I once got advised that the easy way to do this was to print your CV out on coloured paper, but I'm not sure about that, a pink CV can say a lot about you. Whatever you do decide, it's important to stand out - the key is to catch people's attention and format is just as important as content. By and large, most people replying to a job ad have the necessary experience, so it's more important to give you some sort of uniqueness which makes you stand out from the crowd. The length of your CV is also key. You have to be concise and get the salient facts over quickly and easily. The ideal length for your document is always suggested to be two or at most three pages, any more and you'll just bore the reader who is likely to have to read hundreds of them. Another key factor is where you place the most important info, and I'm not talking about the start or finish, rather what you put on each page where the eye naturally falls when it's being read - the centre of the page. Make sure you've got some strong info there. In terms of content, make sure you've got all the necessary contact details, give educational background but keep it brief (they're not interested in results of a three legged race at primary school), provide job experience and achievements (in reverse chronological or
der) and make sure you write about what YOU have ACTUALLY DONE, rather than 'we did this, etc. Try to summarise the key points, strengths and experience and don't be afraid to modify the CV to make it more directly relevant to the role in question. The other thing that's important is making your covering letter a good signpost to further info in the CV itself, i.e. point out the key relevant facts and points from the CV and explain why they have to appoint you.
Having read hundreds of CV's I would like to say that I am able to pick out the better ones! I think the most important thing is to not write a 1000 word essay!! After the first couple of pages nobody can be bothered to read the rest, maximum length 2 SIDES OF A4. We also don't need to know every Saturday you've had since you were 16. Just the main ones will do! If you have many qualifications you don't need to put them all, summarise your GCSE's (2 A's, 3 B's etc.). Your CV needs to stand out from everyone elses but not be too complicated and over-powering. I find that different coloured paper sometimes works, this doesn't mean bright red or neon pink!!!! Beige or light yellow maybe. Your CV must be typed, this might sound stupid but we have received written ones. Most importantly check the spelling. It doesn't impress when you spell the first word wrong in the first paragraph. Get your name right as well, this enables people to know who you are. Make sure your CV is up to date, no good having your phone number on it if you moved out three months ago. For most jobs it's helpful to know about your driving licence, most people don't put this on their CV, don't know why. If it's full and clean great but if it isn't don't write that, just write full. Don't put "I got three point for doing two hundred miles an hour in a 30 zone". Which brings up another important subject. Don't write anything negative on your CV. If it's negative, leave it out. If you have no qualifications, don't put that section in. It won't stop you from getting the job if you are applying for the right one! I find that references are not really necessary, just write "available on request". You will find that not many people follow up your references anyway. Without wanting to sound too bigheaded I think that my CV is 100% brilliant,
in fact, I have never applied for a job without getting an interview. In fact, I've never been to an interview and not got the job. I have been to an interview and told them half way through that I didn't want the job - if that counts! A good tip for writing a CV - pay me to do it!!!
Your curriculum vitae should be a current document with all the relevant information updated on a regular basis. It seems to be the case nowadays that the time between a job advertisement and a closing date is not very long. If you see a job that you are interested in applying for then you need to have your CV ready and up to date. Wherever possible your CV should be produced using a word processor so that it can be edited easily and the final presentation will look professional. If you do not have a computer yourself then try to get access to one to write the CV and then keep a copy on a diskette. (Also keep a back-up copy). It is very unlikely that you would want an identical CV when applying for two different jobs, as although the facts will still be the same you may want to change the emphasis on some of the information. I would suggest that the ideal length for a CV is three A4 pages (single side printing). If the CV is too short you will not do yourself justice, but if it is too long the reader will most probably reject it as they may have a large number to read through. The details I keep on my computer file would probably print out over five pages, but I would never send all of this information. In my file I keep the dates of every exam I have taken, descriptive details of every job and company I have worked for and a long description of my current post. I can then edit the CV to tailor it for the post I am applying for. It seems to take a very long time to hunt out certificates and find the dates and grades of exams, but if they are all in this one file then it is a great time saver. I split my CV into four main sections: * Personal details. You must include your name, address and date of birth. I also include my age (although you must remember to update this if you have recently had a birthday), the fact that I am married and that I have two teenage sons. I would not give any further details about my wi
fe or children, it is just the fact that I am a married family man that I am trying to convey, not painting a picture of domestic bliss as this may be construed as being false. I would suggest that you do not give any details about your physical appearance, this is not relevant, and do not send a photograph. This may well be turned into a darts target in the Human Resources office, or worse, if you are successful in the job application it may be produced years later at an office party! * Educational Background. I split this into two sections, the first is academic qualifications and the second is work based training. Obviously this would depend upon the amount of qualifications you possess as to whether you should make this split or not. I always put my latest qualifications first, but I make sure my Higher Education qualifications are predominant on the list. I only include the grades of any recent qualifications, as I feel that the grades of exams taken more than five years ago are not really relevant anymore. For my work based training I would only include any courses or training that were relevant to the new post that I was applying for, or that I felt would impress the prospective employer. * Employment History. This is normally the most difficult part to write, as you are never sure of how much detail to go into. Obviously you need to explain what your jobs have involved, but try to think what the new employer may be looking for. If you are applying for a supervisory role then try to emphasise any prior management experience that you have had. If the new job involves you being part of team then mention where teamwork was important in the past. This is one part of your CV that it is well worth spending a lot of time over as this is most probably where any prospective employer will make a decision as they read this information. Do not leave any gaps in your employment history. Straight away an employer will b
e suspicious if they see any "missing" time. If you were unemployed for a period then state this, or if you hitch-hiked around Australia then put this on the CV. Any experience you have had in your life will have affected your character and may well tempt an employer to interview you. * Hobbies and Interests. Don't tell any lies in this part. If you state that you are a keen gardener and grow all your own vegetables then there is the chance that a member of the interview panel may have his own allotment and quiz you on your gardening skills. If you are "caught out" it could be a very embarrassing experience. Be honest, your prospective employer wants to know about you, not an image that you think may impress them. This covers the four main parts of your CV, but I would just like to add a few extra points: I always put a note at the end of my CV to say that the names and addresses of two referees are available upon request. If you include a daytime telephone number be sure that this will not be embarrassing if you are called at work. I have an answering machine and I always give my home telephone number. Don't include any jokes. Looking through CV's is not an easy task and somebody trying to be clever may not amuse the reader. You may want to include your e-mail address if you have one, but if you do this then make sure you check for new messages at least once a day. Keep a photocopy of the CV that you send. Print the CV on white paper. Coloured paper does not impress and if the company wants to photocopy your CV then coloured paper may make it unreadable. Don't send the CV in a small envelope. By the time it arrives and is unfolded it will look more like a used bank note, than a professionally produced document. In summary: BE HONEST. BE ACCURATE. BE RELEVANT. BE LUCKY.
A CV is a means of introducing oneself to a prospective employer and documenting the qualities you have to offer - nothing more. However, without an effective CV, those first interviews will seem somewhat elusive. The basic principles of writing a CV may seem obvious, but the same mistakes seem to crop up occasionally and unless the right first impression is made, these CVs tend to end up in the recruiter's bin. ********Layout and Presentation******** The format of your CV should depend on the position for which you are applying and you should focus your list of skills and experiences on those given in the job description. If you were not applying for a specific position but sending your CV to an agency, then it would be helpful to start your CV with "Position Sought" The second consideration is presentation. Ideally it should be written on a word processor and saved to disk. This also gives you the added benefit of being able to forward your CV to prospective employers by e-mail. However, if you still have one of those antiquated dot matrix printers, try to print out your CV at the library instead. The end product tends to look like toilet paper, and employers might use it likewise. Also, it doesn't fax. Try to make the CV itself limited to three sides of A4 MAX! Unless you've led a life like Mother Teresa, after 3 or 4 pages the recruiter tends to lose interest. Remember; this is just an overview of your background. If the recruiter is interested in you, s/he will call you in for more questions. (We will come onto the interviews later). Most importantly, keep it simple. Do not use flowery language or write it from a third person perspective (unless you are a member of the Royal Family). Also, do not be afraid to use note form, especially when sending your CV to a recruitment agency. Use blank ink on white A4 paper with ONE font. Also, bold headings to heighten visual impact
. Try not to leave too much white space. If need be, you can widen the right hand margin or create two columns on one page. This makes the CV look busier rather than you just run out of things to say. Play with your word-processor. ********Personal Details******** Things to include in this section are name*, contact details, date of birth, nationality/passport/visa and date CV was updated. Things to leave out are marital status, number of children, pets and collar size. The golden rule in this section is 'if it seems interesting to you, do not include it under your personal details'. Do not include a Personal Profile. If you want to impress that you are hardworking or energetic, include it in the Employment History or Interests & Achievements section, "…this role required me to be energetic because…” Therefore your claim is substantiated. If you include it in this section, out of context, the recruiter will discount it until they see some evidence for it. It also makes you look arrogant. However, modern day personnel staff use search engines to find candidates with discrete skills. So, you may want to include a skill set - Literally a list of your skills. For example, for a web developer list: HTML, Flash, Dreamweaver. For an accountant, list: ACCA, Sage, Excel, and so on. Try not to leave out any skills that may be searched on. If you have not included it in the main body, then make sure it is in this list. Use the name by which you like to be addressed. If you do not like to be addressed by your full name or second name, then do not include it. *******Education and Employment********** Always start with the most relevant information first. The best guide is, if you have been in full time employment for at least two years, then start with your employment history. Otherwise, start with your educational background (if you have any).
********Educational Background******** This should include a list of schools and higher education establishments attended together with dates and exam successes, both academic and professional. If you have a degree or professional qualifications/specific skills, it is probably best to only include how many O-levels or GCSEs grade C or above you have rather than list each subject individually. However, only leave off the grades of A-levels or degrees if they are bad. Recruiters are a cynical breed and will tend to assume the worst. ********Employment History******** This is the most important section of the CV. Your aim is to impress how you have applied your education; skills and personality in a work environment and what experience you have gained. But remember; keep it simple. Make it clear to the recruiter what are your core skills and experiences. Employment history should be written in reverse chronological order. Starting with your present/last position (which should be the most detailed), include your job title, dates of employment and name of company and what they do (unless it is immediately obvious). A useful tip is to write a brief overview of you job role and then use bullet points to highlight your key responsibilities and achievements with APPROPRIATE detail. Keep in mind the position you are applying for and concentrate on the skills and experience relevant to the position: interpersonal skills, technical skills (include technical terms), decision-making abilities and computer literacy. Do not leave chronological gaps. Again, the suspicion factor is activated if time is unaccounted for. So if you spent the time finding your inner self in a Kibbutz in Israel, then say so and dispel the assumption that you have spent that time less productively at Her Majesty's pleasure. ******Interests & Achievements******** This is the section where you have the opportuni
ty to get something of your personality over to the recruiter. Try and include organised past times that you might be involved in. Although it might be more truthful that you spend 80% of your free time playing computer games/in the pub (more positively described in most CVs as "socialising")/reading trash novels, try to accentuate the other 20% when you are playing organised sports or are involved in charity work and the like. Try to include relatively recent achievements. Your role as milk monitor or Cub Scout badges is unlikely to impress any employer. Do not lie about being a team captain. This is an old cliché, and if CVs are anything to go by, then there are more team captains in the world than there are teams. Instead, try to include something intriguing. A recruiter might just invite you in for an interview for the sake of curiosity. Above all, do not lie or oversell yourself. You will be caught out eventually and you will end up only wasting your own time. Everyone has his or her strengths. Recognise what these are and present them in the best light you can use past experience to back them up. Do not make out to be something you are not.
I’ve had a couple of different careers, as well as a range of temp jobs. That has meant a lot of different CVs over the years! They have mostly been for legal, secretarial and publishing jobs: what I have to say should also work for other fields, but bear in mind you do need to adapt the CV for the job. So, here are my five tips for a successful CV: 1. KEEP IT SHORT. Many jobs have hundreds of applicants, and your CV will get under a minute’s attention at the initial selection stage. This means that a second page may never be looked at, so you should ideally keep your CV to one side. Two pages are acceptable, but no longer than that. References don’t belong on your CV. Put them on a separate sheet of paper. Make it clear who the referees are (academic, previous employer, etc) and ensure their contact details are correct and complete. Most important of all, check with each referee before including them! Occasionally, you may be asked to include a reference with your application: if so, it should ideally be in a sealed envelope addressed to the employer. 2. KEEP THE LAYOUT CLEAN. Put your name at the top – not ‘curriculum vitae’ which is redundant, wastes space, and is liable to end up mis-spelt. Your contact details should be next, and can go in two columns as they rarely get close to half a row. I tend to put address on the left, telephone/email/date of birth (if necessary) on the right. Because they are repeated on your covering letter, you can put them in slightly smaller type to save space if necessary. Use bold headings in slightly larger font than the main text, not capitals as these look clumsy (although small caps can look attractive). You are likely to want to subdivide each row into two columns, a narrow one for dates and a wider one for text: keep these the same throughout the CV so it looks neat and consistent. The CV should be printed (prefer
ably not photocopied, and certainly not handwritten). Use good-quality white or cream paper that matches your covering letter. If for some exceptional reason you can’t use the same paper for both, use the better one for the CV. 3. CUT OUT IRRELEVANCIES. You only have limited space, so don’t waste it with school achievements long since overtaken by what you’ve done at university and work. Something may be dear to your heart; that doesn’t mean it will interest an employer. “Blackboard monitor” will make an impression for all the wrong reasons. A similar trap is that of repeating a point for every job you’ve done. You only need to mention something once, and you don’t have the space to repeat it. Keep things short – bullet points are perfectly acceptable. However, be wary of using jargon. Unless your application is for a job in exactly the same field, and you are sure they use the same terms, technology, etc, you risk your skills being obscured by meaningless abbreviations. Worse still, if the person reading your CV cannot understand it they are likely to reject it outright. Finally, the one thing worse than irrelevancy is inaccuracy. Check your dates, and never invent. Employers can use various methods to verify your CV, the most obvious being to check certificates and references. Discrepancies will look careless at best, dishonest at worst. Even if you get the job without them being noticed, you might be dismissed if they come to light later. 4. GET A FRIEND TO READ IT. Nobody can properly proof-read their own work. You know what you mean to say, so you are quite likely not to spot that you’ve really said something quite different (classics include “I work well as a team.”). Mistakes like this, as well as spelling and grammar errors, will ensure your application is rejected, so get somebody else to check the CV before you se
nd it out. 5. MAKE SURE IT’S UP TO DATE. There are two aspects to this. The first is to prune it so that you keep out the irrelevancies referred to above. The second is to make sure that you cover all periods, including the most recent. Any gaps on your CV will look suspicious. There is nothing wrong with explaining that you were bringing up small children, travelling round the world or whatever (indeed, you can include the skills you gained doing those things). By contrast, a two-year gap is likely to give rise to speculation along the lines of “serving sentence for GBH on boss”, “stalking well-known celebrity” or “being brainwashed by bizarre religious cult”. In other words, unless you really were doing those things, make sure there are no suspicious gaps! Whatever the category says, there is no such thing as the perfect CV. However, make it as good as you can get it, have different versions for different kinds of job, and remember that it probably has less than a minute to put you on track for the job of your dreams! Finally, your CV will only be read after the dreaded covering letter. Here are five short tips for that: 1. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. If the job advert says handwritten, then handwrite it. If it asks for specific content, include it. Obvious, but surprisingly easy to overlook. 2. KEEP IT PERSONAL. You can use a standard letter, but don’t make it obvious. Use mailmerge to include the company’s details where appropriate. Edit as necessary to tailor the letter to the job. 3. KEEP IT SHORT. You are highlighting your best/most relevant features only. For more detail, the recruiter will have your CV. 4. KEEP IT TIDY. Check that the letter has correct spelling and grammar, a clear and attractive layout, and is signed tidily (ie not obscuring your name, not smudged). If the letter is handwritten, I’m afrai
d you need to start again rather than cross out. 5. INCLUDE YOUR CONTACT DETAILS. Make sure that your address, full name, email, and preferably your telephone number are included and obvious
I have had a lot more cause for submitting my CV than others, and whilst I am still unemployed, this comes down more to the fact that I have had problems with my degree being recognised in Austria that with anything being wrong with my cv, and the fact that graduate employment in Austria is not the polished organ that it is in Great Britain. If you imagine that your cv is your way of selling yourself, then you'll realise that a good cv is vital. I wouldn't have been interviewed so many times had it not been for my cv. Whilst looking through the web I have come across some great CVs and some shocking CVs. Of course I can appreciate that writing a CV is something that is far from easy, and that it is time consuming (as is writing an op about CV writing!). However the importance of doing it right cannot be under-estimated. The first impression is vital. Here are a few thinks to bear in mind: 1) ACTUALITY: There is no point submitting a CV that is not up-to-date. Whilst you may think that you can always explain what you have been doing at an interview, the truth of the matter is that you may very well not be given a chance to if your CV is not up-to-date. 2) HANDWRITTEN OR TYPED/PRINTED? Unless there is a specific request for a handwritten CV, then you are safest printing it out. A handwritten cv if required should be written with a good quality pen (Yes, it is a labour of love!) The company may be using a graphologist to analyse your handwriting, therefore you should bear this in mind. Black ink may be preferable to other colours (sadly!) as it is the best for surviving being photocopied. Whether the cv is typed or printed the paper is very important. Whilst you might keep a copy for your records on normal paper, it is well worth considering your choice of paper. Even when I have used a photocopied version of my CV (if you can be sure that there will be no blemishes, then this can still look acceptable), I have made an effort
with the paper for the CV itself. I would recommend watermarked paper, and personally always used ribbed paper. If the paper is watermarked, then please make sure that the watermark is the right way up. (This is tantamount as to whether you can distinguish your own backside from your own elbow!) Make sure that the paper is also straight. IF there is so much a crease on the page, use another copy. Standard laser printer paper does its job, but really a slightly nicer paper can do you favours. I recommend paper of around 120-140gsm (photocopier/printer paper is usually about 80gsm!) If you have a business card, that you have printed yourself, then make sure that it matches your CV, both in terms of information and in terms of style. 3) TO FOLD OR NOT TO FOLD? If you submit a CV should you put it in a normal envelope and fold it twice, or should you put it in an envelope around A4 in size. I would advise the latter, as many CVs are photocopied upon receipt, and the last thing you want is to be known as the guy whose CV got stuck in the sheetfeeder. If you *must* fold it either make sure that it is folder evenly in half or in thirds, but never any smaller than thirds. 4) FONTS AND COLOURS: For practicality I would recommend using an all black CV, and steer clear of logos where possible. Similarly use fonts that are clear and practical rather than fonts that look pretty but are hard to read, even for headings. As a safe guide, Times New Roman or Garamond are generally safe choices for serif fonts, and Arial is a safe sans serif font (i.e. no twiddly bits). If you use bold and italics, be consistent and selective where you use them. They can greatly help you to make your point if used correctly, but if used inappropriately they can really show you up. Similarly Small Caps can be useful in headings. If you want a more contemporary look then a sans serif font is better than a serif font, but the choice is yours. Whatever you do, don't mix f
onts indiscriminately. 5) ORDER ORDER!: Generally you are advised to keep chronological order, whether forwards or backwards. If anything backwards chronology is better since it further highlights your recent achievements/attendance/status before your less recent status. Observe this chronology in each and every section, as otherwise you will create the impression of being slapdash if you don't. 6) BREAK IT UP!: A CV can be easily broken into sections and their order can have a subtle effect on what you are trying to highlight. For example a fresh graduate will have been in full time education for a lot of time. It therefore makes sense to mention your educational career first. However if say you have been working for a long time then it clearly makes sense to mention what jobs you have done, with your education listed afterwards. In any case your cv should be split into the following sections - Personal details Contact details (address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, website address) Marital status (sometimes also family status) and Nationality (this can help to avoid questioning if you are going for a job overseas) - Education University and Degree course School A-Levels/GNVQs/Highers/GCSEs - including English and Maths grades (to prove numeracy and literacy skills) - Vocational Experience Include all recent jobs in reverse order with details about company, department, job title, responsibilities. - Skills Language Skills - foreign language skills IT Skills - Operating systems, applications Typing Skills - word rate (and other secretarial skills) Driving Skills - License type etc - Miscellaneous Information Leisure interests, other achievements, sporting interests (to show that you are a welll rounded individual) - Referees At least two and if necessary details of in which languages references may be
supplied in. 7) LENGTH DOESN'T MATTER, IT'S WHAT YOU DO WITH IT: Sadly not the case with a CV. The ebst CVs will generally be around 2 sides A4 in length, and some companies specifically fix a length on the CVs they ask for. If it is too long don't just shrink the font size to get it on to 2 pages, but look at what is really necessary. 8) GET SOMEONE ELSE TO CHECK IT: If you are not a great speller, then make sure that you have your CV checked by someone who can spell. There is no faster route to the bin for a CV than if it is riddled with spelling mistakes. If you are submitting a CV in a foreign language then make sure you get a native speaker to help you check it through. This will avoid any embarrassing blips on it. 9) PHOTOS: Now a photo is becoming an ever more important part of a CV, with many companies requesting a photo. Use a good quality passport photo, that has been neatly trimmed. Do not butcher a holiday snap to make it look like a passport photo. If you are applying for a lot of jobs it is well worth getting several sets of passport photos done. If you are scanning a photo, make sure that you crop it so that there are no edges showing, and also ensure that it is at a high enough resolution to look good when printed. One final tip is to keep updating your CV as it changes, as then the work of producing a new CV is minimised if you suddenly have to produce one.
No, not suggesting an armed seige to force an employer to give you the job of your dreams! Just that a diversity of approaches, both casting your CV far and wide and clearly targetting the companies you're especially interested in, is the best way to go. It's difficult to give definite guidelines that are applicable to all industries, because they are often looking for very different, and sometimes completely contradictory, things. The first thing is to know all about the industry/company you're hoping to enter - and that means doing a lot of research. If you're a first jobber you're unlikely to get an interview if you haven't got some broadly relevant work experience. But even if you're a seasoned old hand, you won't get the position if you don't know about the job in particular. To give an example, I once interviewed a brilliant candidate for a job as an alumni officer. His CV, presentation, career achievements etc etc were first class. Unfortunately he had no idea what an alumni officer did. He was completely out of the running as soon as that became clear! So how do you find out about the job in particular and industry in general? Websites are a good place to start, so is reading the specialist Press for that industry. Most companies will have a range of literature they can send you. Another example - if you were going for a job on a magazine it would be expected that you knew the title's target market, who its competitors were, any key personnel changes/policy reformulations that had recently taken place, how its sales were faring etc. All that info would be in a) the Press Gazette (the weekly media news-magazine) and b) the info pack the magazine send out to would-be advertisers. Don't rely on careers offices and employment centres for your information. They are often plain wrong - for example, in my industry, they often seem to say that an English degree or A level is re
quired. Not is it not required, it can be a handicap! Their information can also be very out of date and in many industries the personel specs can change drastically within a couple of years. Armed with the appropriate information, then, where next? Did you know that about 60 per cent of jobs are never advertised? If you're after a job where that's the case (media, IT, PR etc) sending CVs/application letters on spec is a good idea. And not just sending them once. Say you're after a job in PR and you send your CV to all the big agencies and hear nothing - that means you're not wanted - right? Wrong. It could just mean you sent your CV at a time of the year when there are few vacancies or they're inundated with letters from new PR graduates. They may tell you your CV will be kept on file, but many companies get so many that they bin them after a week or three - so there's absolutely no harm in sending it all again a month later. That's the shotgun approach. The 'rifle' approach involves targetting your company quite carefully and doing all you can to secure that interview. As well as the research above, you'll need to find out exactly how that company recruits. Some big firms have very formal recruitment channels that they don't deviate from, however promising the candidate. Again, work experience, where you get the chance to ask questions of lots of insiders could give you all the answers you need. Little things can count for a lot more than, arguably, they should. For example - do you look like you 'fit in' to that company and its culture. Some London PR companies, for example, excpect you to be wearing designer labels and be keen to join colleagues for drinks every night after work. If that's not you they won't want to employ you, whatever talents you may have. Again, doing your research will help you make sure a particular company is right for you. The letter
of application you write to the company is all important. Whoever reads it won't get as far as your CV if the letter doesn't impress. In these days of new technology, there's no excuse for a standard 'dear sir/madam' one-size-fits-all letter. It may not get your application thrown in the bin, but it won't impress. On the other hand, assuming the person who's hiring is male seriously irks those of us who are female - so do check on the name/title of whomever you are going to target with your application. As I've said before, in my industry, spelling and punctuation is all. One error in the letter/CV and it goes in the bin. The most common mistake is that people write "GCSE's" or similar. I don't care if you have a PhD in whatever - that's one of the first things I look for, and that error gets the application put straight in the square filing cabinet under the desk - and I know that there are many others with similar criteria. Another media personnel dept throws out all applications that don't use 'yours sincerely/faithfully' correctly. Personally, I think candidates often underestimate the number of applications that arrive. For the alumni job mentioned above there were more than 1,000 applications (pretty standard for anything which is advertised in the Guardian); at another company there were 20+ applications from graduates each and every week who wanted to earn the 5k we paid to trainee entrants. That means you have to do something pretty impressive to stand out. Your letter should be on one side of A4 and highlight the key points of your CV that are relevant to that particular job or industry. It's up to you to show why what you've done is relevant - for eg 'studying at University coupled with working every night at the wine bar not only shows I'm unafraid of working long hours, but that I can effectively communicate with a wide range of people
39;. Using bullet points can help to emphasise and give impact to your achievements and skills. If you application doesn't lead to an interview, can you ring up and find out what went wrong? Yes - but not all companies will be helpful. Big personnel departments are the least likely, in my experience, to offer and constructive feedback. Smaller companies, or where responsibility for hiring is delegated to an individual, are more likely to be helpful. If someone does talk to you, however unpalatable the reason you weren't given the interview or job, don't be rude. Most industries have a perhaps surprisingly effective grapevine and telling one company where to stick their jobs can often see a candidate blacklisted by a large number of folks! Conversely, most employers are looking for enthusiasm and a willingness to do what it takes above all else, so a call now and then to remind a company of your availability and willingness to work with them can pay off.