The core aim of your CV is to get you to the next stage of the recruitment process, which is the interview. The more effort you put into your CV, the harder it will work for you. You need to impress with your CV without going down the ‘quirky’ route. Also, your CV should be free from spelling and grammatical errors – even a single typo may see your CV end up in the trash instead of the pile marked ‘to interview’.
Preparation is key
Don’t just sit down at your PC and start tapping away. Make a rough draft of your CV first by hand. Gather all the pertinent information you require together and work out how best to gather everything together in a manner that is concise.
It also helps if the role you are seeking acts as an influence on your CV. If you can word it in manner that is aimed at the precise role, then that’s much better than simply having a ‘generic’ CV that would be suitable for any role whatsoever.
Make sure you are honest. You do not have to go into great detail about the less attractive aspects of your job history – for example if you have been sacked during your career. Most people make mistakes during their employment lives, and your prospective employer should understand this, however there is no point broadcasting such information if you are not required to reveal it.
Writing up a successful CV
The clarity of your CV is the most important aspect. Use a proper word processing package and a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Try and limit your CV to two sheets of A4 at the most, as the majority of employers when faced with a CV thesis will throw it into the bin.
The structure you need to follow is:
Name, address, contact phone number and email address. Do not include your date of birth or ethnicity. You may include details of your LinkedIn profile if you have one.
Say a little bit about yourself but in terms of the role you are applying for.
Start from your most recent role and work backwards. Include dates and places.
Start from your highest-level qualification and again work backwards. For higher education, include your place of study and the dates. Do not go into details about your GCSEs – just state how many passes you obtained.
Hobbies and interests
Keep this brief. Highlight any charity work or volunteering that you do. Do not include affiliations to sports teams other than local teams if you are directly associated with them. Don’t mention social activities.
It is usually best just to say ‘referees can be supplied on request’.
The final steps
Make sure that you get a friend or colleague to proofread your CV. Even the simplest typo can cost you an interview. Don’t forget to add a brief cover letter when you send along your CV.