Remember being in high school writing out your first CV for a job down at the local shop? Back then all you needed was your name, address, your interests and a reference. Sadly, the simplicities of being young never last and that good old CV just won’t cut it anymore.
Writing a CV can be daunting but with a little preparation, research and some insider tips, your CV will become the canvas you need to pinpoint your talents and achievement. The CV is a recruiters first insight into you as a candidate. The aim is to highlight why you are suited to the role, how your skills reflect what they are looking for and offer a personal insight into your character.
The best way to start your CV is to consider it as a Sales Brochure that tells employers what, when, and how well you have achieved your objectives. It should be concise, accurate but full of relevant information. Limit yourself to 2 - 3 pages, as this will ensure you only write the important facts.
Step one The structure
Before you begin you should start by forming your CV Skeleton:
• Personal Data
• Personal Profile
• Work Experience
• Education & Qualifications
• Key Achievements & Skills
• Interests & Activities
Step two Creating the body of your CV
The personal information needs to be up to date and accurate. If an employer likes your CV but cannot find a telephone number or email address, then your CV may be discarded. Ensure that your CV includes your name, address with postcode, telephone numbers and an email address.
It’s important to know that this information shouldn’t be used for any other reason but getting in contact with you and for HR reasons should you be successful. Should you feel that your information has been used for any other reason then lodge a complaint to the Data Protection Authority (DPA), read here for more information about protecting your data.
The profile is your CV introduction; a simple statement that highlights your career aspirations, ambitions and your current skillset. This is an easy way to highlight key skills you think the employer is looking for in approximately 80 words. You may be applying for a role where multitasking is essential, therefore writing that you "thrive in fast-paced environments" could be an advantage.
Education & Qualifications
Your education and achievements should be listed in reverse chronological order - this is the easiest way to read. If applicable start with your professional qualifications, then move onto your further education ending with your higher education achievements.
This is the main part of your CV, the part the employer really cares about. When highlighting your Work Experience start with your current/most recent position highlighting your activities and achievements with the greatest detail. Now move back through your job history.
Key Achievements & Skills
Your acheivements and skills go hand in hand. What skills did you use when you acheived what you did? What skills did you learn from your achievements? It’s always important to not only talk about your acheievment but to also write down how you did what you did and what skills were implemented. Be critical of yourself, not all acheivements come without a bumb in the road so mention a key skill you focused on learning after your achievement.
Interests & Activities
Make your CV personable. The aim is to offer a well-rounded view; the work side and the human side. At the end of the day, you will be spending considerable time with your employer and their new teams and you must easily adapt to their culture. Include any memberships/associations you are involved with followed by a concise range of interests. You should mention here whether you are keen to relocate if the role location does not match your address.
Step three Review
Always check your CV through. It may feel like you have been writing to for a long time but you must leave it and go back and review. This ensures you've not written glaring grammatical, spelling or content no-no's.
Good CV Checklist
Use this checklist to make sure your CV is in tip-top condition:
•Is it a true representation of who you are?
•Does it highlight at least five key strengths and/or achievements?
•Does it sound like someone you would employ?
•Does it cover what you want to do in the future?
•Have you stated your mobility and flexibility regarding location?
•Does it provide quantified indicators of the organisations for whom you have worked?
•Is your telephone number up to date?
We’ve also teamed up with Top CV to offer you a free personlised CV review by trusted experts. You will be given objective feedback on your skills and personalised recomendations on your CV. Get your free CV review by clicking here!