Your CV is probably the most important sales tool at your disposal when looking for a new position. View it as a great opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer. A successful CV summarises your past background, including both your education and your job experience, and gives the potential employer a basic idea of what you can do for their company.
Basic Elements of a CV
No matter what the job, there are a number of basic rules which should always be followed when preparing your CV.
* It must be simple to read. Mention your strengths and achievements together with basic factual information. Don’t go into too much detail, save that for the interview.
* It should be immaculately presented in a logical fashion; a potential employer will see your CV as a direct reflection of you. If it is messy or contains spelling or grammatical mistakes you will minimise your chances of getting to interview stage.
* Remember to include every relevant skill, such as languages, IT, and training or skills courses attended.
* Include your interests and activities, but make sure that you are truthful and able to expand on the subject during an interview. There is no point listing theatre as a passion and then admitting that you haven’t seen any plays during the past 12 months! Try to ensure that you get across to the interviewer what your objectives are in life, what motivates you and what your values are.
* Be honest at all times. Lying about previous experience or qualifications might seem like a good idea, but if you are caught out, it could end your career for good.
Find out exactly how to set out your CV and what your covering letter should contain in the next section.
What is the purpose of a CV?
It is your introduction to an employer or recruitment company and gives you the opportunity to sell yourself. It also acts as a guide to the interviewer.
How to set it out
Name & contact details
* List your name, home address and all telephone numbers on which you are happy to be contacted.
* Give your e-mail address, at home and at work, again make sure you’re happy for both to be used.
* If you are moving address, give both your permanent and temporary contact details.
* If you wish to include date of birth, marital status and nationality, here is where to include them.
* Start with the most recent position and continue in reverse chronological order.
* Give the greatest information on your last two positions and reduce the detail as you work back.
* If more than one position has been held within a company, list each position, but do not be repetitive in describing responsibilities or achievements.
* Give basic factual information; save the detail for the interview.
* Present information in bullet form, which is clearer and easier to read.
* List achievements which are measurable wherever possible, ie increased profit from X to Y, reduced staff turnover from X% to Y%.
* Emphasize achievements and use positive language as “achieved”, “responsible for” and “attained”.
* List your interests and hobbies, including any sports, clubs or associations with which you are involved.
* Make sure they are your interests and hobbies, otherwise you won’t know what you are talking about!
* Give the full names, addresses and contact details of two reliable referees, and make sure you have asked them first!
And finally …..
* Make sure your CV is immaculately presented. Use a clear and plain typeface and good quality, white paper.
* Keep it to the minimum – ideally two pages.
* Check and double check. Your CV is a direct reflection of you; ask a friend to read it.
* Be honest at all times. If you’re not, you will get caught out at some stage and your career will be severely damaged as a result.
* Whilst you should emphasize the positive elements of your CV, don’t exaggerate the facts. Again, you will get found out.
Send your CV with a covering letter, which should:
* Outline the position you are applying for. * State where you saw it advertised. * Refer to the attached CV.
* State your current salary.
* Give contact details, especially if you’ll be on the move.
* Tell the employer why you would be good for the job.
* Be brief – one page maximum. * Send it to the correct person, at the correct address.
We hope these few tips will assist you in producing an effective CV and it will in turn open many doors for you. Happy job hunting!