How to write a CV
Preparing your own CV can seem a daunting task, quite apart from what to put in and what to leave out, describing your own strengths and abilities isn’t easy. In the current economic and employment climate, employers are looking to consistently improve on productivity and match a prospective employee’s skills and experience with the job needs, both now and in the future.
Presentation and layout
- Always ensure that your CV is printed on white, good quality paper, use a clean typeface and don’t go smaller than 12 point.
- The use of sub-headings (e.g. personal profile, career history, etc.) will help potential employers glean the information they require with ease.
- There should be clear spaces between category headings for easy clarification and definition.
- Your name, address and phone number(s) should form the start of the document.
- Commencing with your present or most recent employer, state your career history. Then list your professional qualifications. If you have been working for many years list your academic qualifications and a very brief mention as to your College or Schooling.
- If you are just commencing your working life, having previously been a student, provide more in depth information regarding your academic achievements.
Begin with a bold profile about yourself and your abilities – give the reader a snapshot of the person you are and the skills you possess. Keep it short, objective and make sure you can back up the statements at your interview. Starting with your current or most recent employment provide details of your position as follows:
- Job title
- Time that you have held this position
- The key tasks and responsibilities that comprise this role’s requirements
- Notable achievements whilst in the role
- Where possible quantify your achievements with precise facts and figures, e.g. managed junior staff, handled department budget, prepared management reports
- Expand on the skills you are using in your current job which you believe will be valuable in the position(s) for which you are applying
It is not necessary to state the reason you are leaving your current position. This will be a topic for conversation when you are invited for interview or can be covered in your letter of application. For all previous employment, unless one appointment was more significant than your current or last position, keep details brief i.e. the name of the company, job title, period of employment and the job. Be sure there are no gaps in your career history - unless for example you took a year out to travel, in which case make reference to this under Interests/Hobbies.
If you are a student just starting work, give any evidence you can to demonstrate your practical skills e.g. school prefect, event organiser, member of sports team, contributor to your college magazine, or voluntary work. Consider what examples (Interests/ Hobbies) you can give to show that you match the selection criteria. If they want someone to work in a team, remember to say if you belong to a local organisation or if you are part of a sports team.
Your primary objective is to convince the prospective employer that you have the skills, experience and hunger to do the job. Your CV should be no more than two A4 pages and as every employer is different remember to customise your CV to every job you go after.
Remember - this is ‘your’ opportunity to sell ‘yourself!’ you will never get a second chance to make a first impression!