Following on from my previous blog, where we looked at what to include in your cover letter (click here if you haven’t read this yet), we now move to look at the second part of your application, your Curriculum Vitae (CV).
A CV is a sales document or a marketing brochure which reflects your brand. It is a snapshot of your skills, experience, achievements and professional development which relates to the position you are applying for. Similar to your cover letter, you may find that you have a number of CV’s ready to go so you can adapt it to the position you’re applying for.
But before I get started, I will start by stating that there is no single right or wrong way to write your CV. This is not a one-size fits all situation or a guarantee that these tips will get you an interview. What I cover off here is general information and tips that I’ve picked up along the way in my years of being involved in recruitment.
What to include
Key sections that we recommend you include:
- Your details. Here we include your name, address, contact numbers and email address.
- Personal statement / Career profile. This includes your career summary statement/personal profile, key achievements, transferable skills. Cover off what’s your passion, where do you want to go, why this job, what makes you most suited to this position?
- Employment history. Here is your opportunity to highlight your experience and accomplishments/achievements. Include the dates of employment, company name, position title, and a brief profile of the business. Then include:
- Responsibilities – key areas only, dimensions of the role, accountability, reporting lines.
- Achievements – what are you proud of under each position, what are the successes, quantify where possible. Relate to the role you’re applying for.
- Professional Development. Outline your qualifications, certificates or other professional development. Include the date of achievement, the qualification/certificate/professional development name, who it was obtained through (the institution).
- Memberships / Professional affiliations. If appropriate to the position, include the details of the membership, the association and relevant dates.
- Licences and certificates. Include if appropriate to the position.
- There is no requirement to include a list of referees in your CV. If you’re comortable to include these, then include at least two work related referee contact details. If not, state ‘Referees available on request’.
- Keep your employment history to the past 10-12 years.
- Work in reverse chronological order.
- Consider the layout of your CV carefully and adapt it for the position you’re applying for.
- The recruiter will be going through high volumes of applications, you want to stand out. So make the decision easy for the recruiter.
- Include in your CV key words relating to the position.
- Ensure your contact details are correct and professional.
- Use strong and power verbs to accurately describe what you’ve achieved.
- If you have gaps in your career history, include an explanation why this is.
- Include you name and contact number in the footer of each page (incase pages get lost).
- Watch the length of your CV, as a guide keep it to a maximum of 4 pages.
- Keep it professional, in a standard business format, readable font style and font size.
- Remove abbreviations or technical terms.
- Watch your paragraph length.
- Avoid excessive use of I, we and our.
- Take time to target your CV to the position that you’re applying for.
A few last pointers
- Check spelling and grammar, then double check.
- Keep the consistency of styling throughout your application (cover letter and CV).
- Ensure information contained in your application is correct – as it can all be checked!
- Be honest.
Your CV, along with your cover letter, needs to convince the reader to take your application to the next stage. This is your opportunity to make a positive first impression on an employer or recruiter – so don’t forget to sell yourself and outline why you’re the best person for the position. If you put in the effort, you will get the result.