CV or Not CV, That is the Question?
These are times of uncertainty; everyday the media brings more news of job losses and recession. Your job might be no longer secure or you might need to return to work to help support the family. A way of keeping you options open in these uncertain times is to make sure you a good up-to-date CV. Here are ten golden rules to help you get that all-important first interview.
Your CV will provide potential employers with their first glimpse of you. They want to know if you satisfy the education, skills and experience for the vacant position. They are probably making the decision against a large number of competing CVs in a short space of time, so your CV will have to be clear and stand out.
1. PERSONAL DETAILS
Start off with your name and contact details. Obvious as it sounds, do not put down any phone number or e-mail that is not checked regularly. If an employer cannot reach you straight away, you might have missed that window of opportunity.
2. WORK EXPERIENCE
List your most recent or current role first and go back chronologically giving dates for the period of employment. Use short sentences to describe the main responsibilities of your job, with any special projects or achievements. Remember to focus on outputs and results, use positive language and be concise. If you have been out of the job market for a while mention any voluntary work you have done.
List these again with the most recent fist, with grade and date attained. Also, include any skills based qualifications you have attained, such as, IT skills or another language.
Ideally, include the manes and contact details of two referees, ideally your current or previous employer. If you are returning to work after taking a few years out to raise children, explain that and give the details of people who will give you a good character reference
5. HOBBIES AND INTERESTS
This gives the employer an impression of you as a person. Keep it short and concise; do not pad it out to fill your CV.
It is important that your CV is well laid out in a clear format, so the employer can easily find the relevant information. Use a clear font in a reasonable size, and leave quite wide margins. This leaves room for the employer to scribble any comments of their own. Do not be tempted to send any additional material, unless the employer has requested it, there is no point overwhelming them with material that can be looked at, at a later date. If you are sending it electronically, make sure it will be able to survive cyber-space and your employer can easily print it out. If you are uploading to a recruitment web-site, make sure your CV is compatible with their system.
It is a good idea to tweak your CV according to the specific job that you are applying for and emphasise the relevant skills. Tweaking does not mean lying; if you lie on your CV there is a danger that you will be found out.
8. KEEP IT UP TO DATE
Always keep revisiting you CV, keeping it current. Also, make sure there are no gaps, if you have been bringing up children, say so. Put a positive spin on it by mentioning what new skills the experience has taught you. If there are unexplained gaps, the employer might think the worst.
9. KEEP IT SHORT
Keep you CV to not more than two pages in length. Recruiters have limited time, so, the easier you make it for them the better for you. Bullet the points you want to make. In addition, silly errors can annoy recruiters, so proof read your CV. It is sometime difficult to spot your own mistakes, so get someone else to give it the once over before you send it out.
10. COVERING LETTER
You should include a covering letter with your CV, which should compliment and reinforce it. Keep it short, no more than four paragraphs and address it correctly. It should cover the basics of the position you are applying for, why you are interested in the job and why you are best suited to it. It is here you can show your, personality and enthusiasm, so keep it positive (and do not gush). Pay attention to writing it, as a bad covering letter can put your potential employer reading off reading your CV.
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