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How to Write a killer CV

Posted on: 27 Mar 06
How to Write a killer CV

Summary

Your cv is one of the most important documents you will ever write, particularly in the new internet era of recruitment. With job application becoming easier it follows that more applications are goin

Your CV is one of the most important documents you will ever write, particularly in the new internet era of recruitment. With job application becoming easier it follows that more applications are going to be received for each position advertised and this places even more emphasis on the recruiter to filter all of these applications. As a result many recruiters employ blanket rules in the first stage of whittling down the number of applicants for a post until they are in a position to invite people for interview. It is here where the most minor things can let you down, simple spelling mistakes, unclear lay out, a CV that's too lengthy or too short, photocopies, fonts that are difficult to read. All of these stylistic issues can get in the way of your CV being considered by the recruiter. Beginning our CV guide, then, some simple stylistic tips. 1. Paper - Good quality paper will create a positive feel, it should always be A4 and preferably of 100gram for both the CV and the covering letter. 2. Layout - Make your headings clear and accurate, use plenty of white space, make sure the prospective employer can find all the key areas of your CV quickly and easily. 3. Length - In the US resumes are usually kept to a single page, in the UK two pages is a good guide, any more can put people off regardless of how much apposite experience it contains, by cutting down on quantity the quality of experience should also improve. 4. Grammar - Poor spelling, typos or bad grammar must be eradicated. Run your document through your word processors spelling and grammar checks and then let a couple of people whose intelligence you trust look over it as they are less likely to be blind to errors than you are. Once you've managed to make your CV look respectable you need to think about what goes into it. Your CV should include all of the following. 1. Summary - a brief, two line summary which crystallises your strong points for the interviewer. This summary will frame the readers impression of you as it will be the first thing they read and probably the last after they have read your whole CV. If it summarises succinctly the information you have portrayed in your CV you stand an excellent chance of being remembered by the interviewer. 2. Personal details - full name, address, daytime/evening and mobile telephone numbers, marital status, nationality and the status of your driving license. For marital status include only whether you are married or single avoid any terminology that may subject you to an adverse judgement on the part of the reader. Your nationality is vital to establish whether you are likely to need a work permit, if you don't drive exclude any reference to a licence. 3. Education - list your qualifications, grades, where and when they were achieved. For those with degrees and above, O Level/GCSE subjects are immaterial but the number should be listed. 4. Professional Qualifications - professional qualifications, memberships of professional bodies' etc. should be listed. 5. Training - list any appropriate training courses you have taken and any qualifications resulting from them. 6. Experience - As your career progresses the part time jobs, unpaid work experience etc. of your youth should drop off your CV. In reverse chronological order your CV should focus on your last two positions and your responsibilities and achievements in them. Internal promotions should be treated as separate positions with the job title and dates included. Within each position you should include an overview of your main responsibilities, transferable skills that you developed and all your major achievements in that position. Focus on concise and specific descriptions of skills but leave out IT literacy for a separate section, try to quantify your achievements for the reader, ie. the number of staff who worked under you, the amount of money your initiative saved the company, the actual increase in sales that you achieved. Concrete facts come over much better in CV's than generalisations. 7. IT Literacy - Here you should enter all the packages that you are familiar with and the depth of expertise that you have in each. If there are packages that are specific 8. Other experience - a good place to list things like having lived abroad, language skills (include fluency level), leadership or team experience outside of work etc. 9. Hobbies, interests - try to include things that portray you in a good light and offer some value to how well you'll perform in the position. Reading is great but doesn't really show leadership, teamwork or drive. Team sports, charitable work, holding office for an organisation all do. If you've followed the above advice you should be left with a clearly presented, tightly organised CV, which shows your skills and experience in the best possible light. But in case you are tempted to fill out that last quarter of a page, bear in mind that some things are best left out of a CV. 1. References - There is no need to put referees names on your CV although most people do. By using the line 'References available on request', you can save yourself some space for other sections of your CV whilst also demonstrating that you have referees available. 2. Failure - Any form of failure on your CV can count against you in prospective employers' mind, failed businesses, exams or marriages should all be omitted. 3. Decoration - Your CV should be free of borders, clip art, patterns, extravagant fonts and all other unnecessary embellishments 4. Superfluous personal details - Age, height, weight, health conditions and photos are all abundantly irrelevant, unless the position is for the face of Christian Dior. 5. Expected salary - Never let prospective employers know what kind of salary you expect, this is an area in which your negotiating position will become stronger the further down the interview line you go. To sell yourself short at the CV stage would be foolish. 6. Dates - As a result of new anti-age discrimination legislation, you should NOT put your date of birth or your age on your CV. In fact, in theory you dont need to put any dates, even qualification dates, as these could be used to calculate your age.

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Mark Stacey

Last updated on: 07/04/2014 14:17:55

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