CV Writing Guide - How To Write A CV
A winning CV has 2 objectives:
1 - To illustrate your strengths and maximise your chances of getting through to interview.
2 - Put factual information, such as dates, places, names together in a presentable and readable form.
It is claimed that the human eyes are naturally drawn to a focal point one third down from the top of the page. Therefore, put your most useful information in this area. It might be your Profile, Key Skills, Professional Qualifications or details of your most recent employment. You can choose whichever you think is most important and relevant to your application.
It is often thought that a CV should be fitted on to one side of A4. This can be difficult if you are a mature applicant with a long employment history. If you need to go on to a second page make sure that the CV is spread out over 2 whole pages, not one and a half pages as this looks messy.
As a ‘rule of thumb’ there should be more white than black on a page to make it easier to read.
Always write a rough draft first. It can be as long as you like as you will edit it later. Always start with your Career History as this will highlight your Key Skills and help you write your Profile.
Once you have compiled your draft copy you must edit it.
• Take out anything that will not help you get where you want to be.
• Write in the ‘third’ person as much as possible keeping ‘I’ to a minimum
• Never use the past tense e.g. use “supporting senior management” rather than “supported senior management”.
• Use short sharp sentences cutting out any waffle and jargon.
• Always get a second opinion when you have put your CV together. It is difficult to be objective about oneself.
Layout of Your CV & Section Headings
Print your name in bold type at the centre top of your resume. If there is any doubt as to which is your surname, e.g. James Martin, indicate by using capitals or underlining.
Top left of CV. Full address including post code.
Top Right of the CV. Full dial code, daytime, evening and mobile numbers if possible.
Date Of Birth
Write in full such as 8th December 1962. Do not put your age.
You do not have to include this at all. If you choose to, make sure you use only “married” or “single”. Do not use divorced or co-habiting. Put at the end of the CV under ‘Personal’.
Its up to you whether you include this information or not but if you include it put it at the end of the CV under ‘Personal’
This is an introductory statement about who you are and what you have to offer. You should complete this last although it is positioned prominently in the CV, possibly in the Focal Point. It should be no more than two sentences and include the most important facts about yourself. You can include skills, achievements, responsibility or personal qualities.
e.g. Highly motivated Account Manager with successful direct and telesales experience in the hardware and software industries.
Several Key skills should be highlighted after you have analysed and edited your employment history.
Pick out no more than six.
Make sure they are relevant.
Do not include dates. A key skill can come from an earlier job or an outside interest.
If you are short on direct experience and qualifications you may have skills arising from your personality, i.e. Interpersonal skills, e.g. “the ability to relate and communicate with others”.
Some examples of descriptive words to use in key skills are: Administering. Implementing, Budgeting, Leading, Reorganising, Forecasting, Advising.
Always start with your most recent employment. Break down your job functions as much as possible. The job description on your contract might provide a starting point or, consider how your employer might advertise your job. You should have more to say about your most recent, and therefore most relevant, employment.
Include successes and achievements especially if it saved the company money.
Don’t have any employment gaps. If these occur explain them briefly.
If you are a mature applicant you can leave these out as career history is more important.
Put the highest qualification first with year achieved. If you have a degree you can leave out the lower qualifications altogether or include the basic information.
Do not include poor grades or failures.
Only include those that are still current.
Only include training that is relevant to the position for which you are applying.
Only include interests that are unusual or which indicate transferable skills, achievements or responsibilities.
Reasons For Applying
This finishes the CV off with a concluding statement and puts the application into context. Don’t imply you are out to gain advantage to yourself such as “I would like to join the company to gain additional experience”.
Instead, concentrate on what you have to offer, “my experience at……would be useful to the company because………….”
Your CV should be available soft copy or on good quality plain white A4 paper.
Do not use double sides.
Only fold once and enclose a stamped addressed envelope.
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