The C.V

The C.V. is the document that gives you the opportunity to detail your career path to date and also gives the opportunity to demonstrate that you are able to work in an organized and methodical way - as that is how your C.V. should be written. 

There is no universal format for writing C.V.'s nor are there standard rules but by following some simple guidelines you can make employers much more interested in what you have to offer. The purpose of writing a C.V. is to get you an interview; it will not on it's own get you the job and remember that too long and detailed a C.V. will put off a prospective employer who may have 100 to read.

Pay particular attention to the format. Is it logically laid out? 
Are the most important features highlighted so they stand out? 
Are you sure that what you think are the most important features are what your prospective employer would think?
Are there any grammatical or spelling mistakes? 
And what about the paper that it is printed on?
Is it lightweight or does it have a good quality feel to it?  - Use 90 gsm as an absolute minimum.

The first rule is to try and keep it to 2 pages. If you have more than 2 pages do not be tempted to reduce the font size to squeeze it in, look at the content first.

The first page should cover your personal details:

  • Name, address, date of birth and contact details (think carefully about the contact phone number and what about the e-mail address that says

  • Education and qualifications

  • A summary of your employment history showing dates and job titles only starting with the most recent

  • A positive summary of your personal interests and hobbies. Remember that hobbies that have given you achievements and goals reflect well on your character

The second page should give a brief summary of each job that you have done showing the role and nature of the job. Firstly start with the company name, location and a brief description of their activities e.g.

Widget Company Ltd, Bristol - manufacturer of widgets for the widget and home entertainment industry

Secondly put your job description's at the company with dates e.g.

Jun 2002 - Present                 Senior Widget Design Engineer
Jan 2000 - May 2002               Widget Design Engineer

Your job description should then follow and include significant achievements that you may have made in the company e.g. writing a new procedure or designing a new widget. Remember though that prospective employers will frown on you giving too many 'secrets' away about current employers until you get into detailed discussion at the interview stage. So keep your achievements to a broad profile only. Try and keep your achievements and work details to brief bullets points and not make the descriptions long and rambling.

As you go back to past employers (especially over 10 years or not related to the job you are applying for)  keep the work description very brief. If you have had a number of employers at some stage previously in your career then it is good practice to summarise this by saying 'experienced was gained with a number of employers between 199? and 199? to broaden my experience in the areas of x,y and z'. Make it look as though you have been deliberately changing companies as part of your own career development plan and not just job hopping.


So now the easy stage is over and you have submitted your C.V. what happens if you get an interview?



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