CVs offer an excellent opportunity to persuade an employer that you have the skills, qualities and experiences which closely match their criteria and make them want to find out more. There is no such thing as a perfect CV and what is right for one purpose will not be for another. The most productive CVs are up to date, targeted and clearly show you have researched the job or company and understood their needs.

Initially an employer is likely to spend no more than 30 seconds scanning your CV looking for the right messages and clues so it needs to be clear, concise, and easy to read with relevant and positive examples to back up your claims. From the all-important first impression to layout, structure and accessibility of information make sure most space has been allocated to the most important sections.

Here are nine points which may help you put together a CV:

  • Preparation is key. Do as much research as you can to understand the job role or company and allow plenty of time to present yourself positively and professionally.
  • A maximum of 2 A4 sheets so use your space wisely. You do not need to head it Curriculum Vitae, keep the layout simple, easy to read and remember every word has to earn its place.
  • Use positive action words sensibly to enhance your experiences and describe you skills and qualities. Do not use them merely to “jazz up” the content…. employers become easily bored and impatient.
  • Concentrate on achievements. It’s all too easy to re-write previous job descriptions.
  • Show your strengths but don’t overload with lengthy descriptions.
  • You’ve worked hard for your qualifications so make them count by showing the relevance of your modules, projects or technical skills. Be selective … it’s not just a list of titles.
  • Make sure your contact details are clear and any email address you include is appropriate. Listen also to your voicemail message … what impression will it give to someone who doesn’t know you?
  • Use a simple font in one size only with bullet points if you wish. The design can detract from the message so avoid overusing shading, underlining and italics.
  • Check and proof read your CV several times and ask other people to do the same. Don’t rely on a spell checker.

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