What is a CV?
A document typically used for obtaining employment, which must be a true and fair representation of you, your skills and experience. A well written CV will provide potential employers with a detailed insight into your key abilities allowing them to get a clear indication of your qualifications & suitability before ever meeting you. You should provide just enough information in your CV so that the reader will know a sufficient amount and will want to interview you to learn more.
- Preferably no more than 2 sides of paper, your CV should be just a brief snapshot of relevant information. If your CV is much longer than this, the reader may lose interest and move to the next person.
- Avoid the use of pictures and colour to enhance the appearance of your CV as it may distract the attention of your viewer. Only use these if it is relevant to the job/industry you're applying for (e.g. graphics design or media).
- Avoid using decorative font types or italics within your CV. Instead, use clear/conventional fonts that are easy to read such as Times New Roman or Arial.
- Try to avoid using un-justified phrases such as 'highly motivated', 'team player' or 'results orientated' etc. Such phrases often become meaningless to the employer without evidence as it's unlikely anyone would state otherwise. If you intend to use similar phrases to these you must be able to clearly demonstrate these abilities on your CV.
- Tailor your CV so that it's as relevant as possible to the job you're applying for - if an employer is requesting knowledge of a certain skill, clearly demonstrate your experience with that skill and prove that you are the right person for the job.
- Put yourself in the readers' shoes and remember that you are not writing the CV for yourself, you are writing it for the reader - so keep it to the point, clear to understand and interesting to read.
- Are you missing some skills that are required for the job? Let the employer know that you are very interested in training & learning any skills that you do not currently have.
- If you intend to upload your completed document to JobServe's CV database so that it is searchable by our recruiters, you should consider the search terms that they may be using to find you. For example, if you have experience as a 'Visual Basic Developer' you should also include all associated aliases within your CV, such as 'VB' and 'Programmer'.
- Once you have completed your CV, take a moment to ask a friend or family member to double-check your CV for any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, they may also be able to provide helpful tips and suggest improvements. If your CV contains any spelling/grammatical errors it shows a distinct lack of effort and attention to detail, so expect your CV to be moved to the bottom of the pile.
- As time passes by, even if you are happy in your current employment you should keep your CV up to date at all times whilst the details are still fresh in your mind.
You should include:
- Contact Details
Start your CV by displaying your full name & contact details (telephone number, mobile number, home address and email address if available) across the top of the page.
- Profile/Personal Statement
The profile or personal statement is often considered as the most important part of your CV - positioned at the very top of the first page it will be the very first thing that a potential employer will read about you. This is your shop window - your opportunity to sell yourself in just a few short paragraphs making you stand out from the crowd, which will entice the reader to read on.
You should first briefly highlight your most notable achievements and transferrable key skills from previous employment/education that will be of most interest to potential employers:
e.g. Over 10 years experience as a Senior Sales Executive with a proven track record of increasing company-wide productivity, increasing company profits by £1 million in 2010...
Once you have written about your past achievements and key skills, you can now talk about what you are looking for now and where you would like to go in the future. Where would you like to see yourself in 5 or 10 years time?
e.g. ...looking to enhance my career within the field of sales & marketing to achieve worldwide exposure
- Employment History
Display your most recent job first and continue in reverse chronological order including the dates, company names, job titles and addresses.
Describe each of your key responsibilities, achievements and skills involved as a bullet point list so they are clear & easy to see at a quick glance.
If you have any gaps in your employment history, such as time spent raising a child or travelling, briefly mention this along with any positive skills/personality traits that you may have gained along the way.
If you have just left a period of full time education and have little employment history to write about, we recommend that you move your Education & Qualifications section above your Employment History.
- Education & Qualifications
Display details of your most recent education/professional qualification first and continue in reverse chronological order including the dates, school/college/university names, course subjects and grades achieved.
- Additional Skills
Provide an easy to read bullet-point list (or table) of your skills so they can be easily seen at a glance, such as experience with foreign languages or IT software packages. You should mention your proficiency with each skill (beginner/advanced etc) and also how many years you have spent using it.
Contact details of your recent employer and/or previous work colleagues, who are willing to be contacted by potential employers to verify the contents of your CV (please ensure that you ask for their permission before including them as a reference).
If you do not wish to include any references in your CV, you should state that they are "Available on request".
It is optional to include:
- Nationality (unless you will need to apply for a work permit)
- Age/Date of Birth
- Marital status
- Details and ages of your children
- Health status
- Addresses of your Schools and/or University
- Personal interests/hobbies (although some employers may like to read about your personal interests, as it could give them an idea of your personality and what you would be like to work with).