Getting Your CV Ready

Today most employers will either ask you to complete an application form or ask you to send a copy of your  C.V. to them when you apply for a job with their company.

There are also many websites that a designed to help you look for work and these too give you the opportunity to save your CV online.

So what is a C.V.?

A C.V is a summary of your working history, skills, qualifications and personal qualities that will demonstrate your ability to do the job. The aim of your CV is to show any potential employer that you are the best person for the job; therefore it is important that you take your time when putting it together to ensure you produce the best CV possible that accurately reflects who you are, what you can do, and what benefit you could bring to their company.

What should you include?

Personal Details

Your name, address and contact details. Enlarge and embolden your name so that it stands out, but don’t take up too much space on the page. Don’t include your marital status, gender, date of birth or photo unless they have asked for it.

Personal Profile

This should be a positive and informative statement about yourself, covering your main experience, qualifications, abilities, achievements, transferable skills and knowledge.

The profile should be to the point, personal and specific. and run to about 50 – 75 words or up to 5 sentences. (See some completed examples here)

Key Skills and Training

Use this section to highlight and bullet-point your most recent and important skills, training or qualifications.

After your personal profile this is the next thing that a potential employer will read about you and your abilities.

If you don’t have many qualifications then highlight your experience, if the job requires a specific skill or qualification which you have then make sure you put it near the top of this section.

Don’t forget to think about your transferable skills to make sure that you get the best fit possible with the requirements of the role.

Employment History

Give details of the jobs that you have had, starting with the most recent one first then working backwards.

For each job give the dates you were there, the name of the employer, and your job title. Then summarise your key duties and responsibilities.

If you have a lengthy work history you may want to prioritise or highlight the jobs that are relevant to the post you are applying for so that they don’t get lost in the mix.

If you have done, or still do any voluntary work then make sure that you include this either in your work history if you volunteered during any time you were unemployed, or in the hobbies and interests section. Volunteering experience is just as important as any paid employment you have done, and employers value this.

Education and Qualifications

Give details of the qualifications you got from school, college or university. Also give any details of any training courses you have attended.

Hobbies and Interests

Include what you do in your spare time as this will say a lot about you. Also you may have gained skills and experience that will transfer into the work place. If you don’t have any interesting hobbies, maybe this is the time to start a new one or do some volunteering.

References

There is no need to give details at this stage of your referees, unless they have requested them. You can provide these at the interview stage, but make sure that you start thinking about who you will ask to provide you with a reference, and get their contact details ready.

Employers consider references to be important, so make sure that you value them as well, be ready to provide your references on request.

Other Things to consider

  • Always include a cover letter with your CV (examples available here).Even when you are sending your CV out by email, you need to use the message box as your cover letter.
  • Ensure spelling and grammar is correct.
  • Don’t make it too long and wordy, as this will put off employers. Two sides are about right, three is still acceptable, but more is too long.
  • Make sure you explain any gaps in your employment history, such as looking after children or family members. Gaps jump out and employers will want to know what you did during that time so make sure  you put something, it doesn’t have to be too detailed. Something is better than nothing.
  • Try to avoid the use of abbreviations unless they are specific to the type of work that you are applying for, or if employer will know what they mean.