CV writing - a few tips:
Consider a set of house details that you would be given by an estate agent. The sole purpose of the details is to persuade you to view the advertised property.
The same applies to a CV. Its job is to get you an interview. It must be positive, factual and easy to read.
In many cases it will be the first contact you have with a potential employer who will decide whether they wish to interview you. They may only read the second page if the first is sufficiently attractive. You should therefore ensure that it is well laid out and that the reader can quickly find what they want to know – e.g. if you are a solicitor, say so and when you were admitted (it may be obvious but it is amazing how many don’t!).
There is no one way of preparing a CV – they are personal documents and each individual imparts some of their own style and personality into the narrative. For this reason we do not use a standard template. Here are a few tips:
- Keep it relevant to the positions you are applying for and if possible demonstrate how your skills and experience will bring you success. Do not write an essay, the average CV is no more than 3 pages long.
- It should not depend on supplemental information in a covering letter – the employer might only look at the CV.
- It should be easy to read – use a clear font such as Arial and a sensible font size.
- Make sure the chronology is easy to identify.
- Don’t lie – you will probably get found out and be dismissed.
- Avoid trying to be funny.
Structure of the CV
- Include sufficient information for employers to contact you.
Some candidates like to write a personal profile. This can be useful in demonstrating your skills and stating your aims and objectives. Stick to relevant information. Avoid anything negative, clichés and bland statements. It is not necessary to state that you are friendly, able to work in a team or on own initiative.
Set these out listing most recent first. In most cases it will not be necessary to list each GCSE / O’level and grade unless you have recently left school. You should also set out your professional qualifications and memberships.
Set out your career history with most recent position first. If there are gaps you will need to state what you were doing – career break to travel etc. Leaving gaps may suggest you are trying to hide something. Identify each organisation that you have worked for and where necessary a brief description. Give details of your position, role and achievements.
Interests and activities
Give details of any positions of responsibility that you have had and any involvement with teams. This is an opportunity to show your social skills. Only include those things that are current and demonstrate skills. Think about how the reader may react – quirky hobbies might be off putting and add nothing to your application.
It is not necessary to include these on your CV. They will be required when you are offered a position. Before offering referees make sure you have their consent.