||Complete Guide on CV Preparation
CV's are called a variety of things (eg, curriculum vitae, resume).
There is no universally accepted format. The most important attribute of a
successful CV is that it clearly explains to the reader what it is that you can
do for them. Your CV should be:
- A well-presented, selling document
- A source of interesting, relevant information
- A script for talking
The purpose of your CV is not to get you the job. Its
purpose is to get you an interview, and after your meeting to remind the person
you met with about you. Remember: you are not writing a CV for yourself, you are
writing it for the reader. So, as you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes
of the intended reader.
This section takes you through the content and
detail of effective CVs:
- A standard two-page printed CV
one-page summary CV
- An online CV
The decision to recruit is like a
buying decision on the part of an employer. This creates a very clear picture of
what a CV must include:
To decide what to include in your CV and
where, follow these principles and guidelines:
- It must meet the needs of the target organisation where possible. This means
a single generalist CV is unlikely to be sufficient.
- It must highlight your achievements and how they relate to the job you are
applying for. It must give the reader a clear indication of why you should be
considered for this role.
As we work through examples in this section, we will continually refer
back to these principles and guidelines.
- Generally, the document should contain no more than 2 pages. Sometimes, a
one page summary is all that is required.
- Your CV should be honest and factual.
- The first page should contain enough personal details for a recruitment
consultant or potential employer to contact you easily.
- Choose a presentation format that allows you to headline key skills, key
achievements or key attributes.
- Your employment history should commence with your current or most recent job
and work backwards.
- Achievements should be short, bullet-pointed statements and include your
role, the action you took and a comment on the result of your action.
- Where information clearly demonstrates your suitability for the vacancy
you're applying for, and enhances your chances of being short-listed, include
this information near the beginning of the CV.
- Leave out information that is irrelevant or negative.
- Include details of recent training or skills development events you have
attended which could be relevant.
- List all your professional memberships and relevant qualifications.
The most common contents of a CV
- Personal Details
- Skills and Career Summary
- Career History
Don't forget: The ultimate test of YOUR CV is whether it
meets the needs of the person making the buying decision, and whether YOU feel
comfortable with its content and style.
The next few pages will provide a
detailed description of how to achieve this.
When you submit a printed CV
to a recruiter or a potential employer, it is likely to be the first thing they
get to see or read of yours. Therefore, you need to present your CV well and
make it user friendly. For example:
- Use a good quality paper, typically 100gsm in weight and watermarked. In
most cases, be conservative and print your CV in black ink on white paper.
Covering letters should use identical stationery.
- Lay your CV out neatly
- Don't make the margins too deep or too narrow
- Resist writing lengthy paragraphs - be concise
- Careful use of bold type can be effective
- Typefaces such as Times New Roman or Arial are fairly standard
- Do not use a type size less than 11pt.
- Check for spelling or typographical errors - whoever actually types your CV,
errors are YOUR responsibility. Don't rely on a spell checker. If you're not
sure about a word, resort to a dictionary. Sloppiness and lack of care could be
Summarise the things about you that
are relevant to this role. You can present the information as a list of
achievements, a summary of skills, or a list of key competencies (this choice
should be made in consultation with your career consultant). Give as much
evidence as you can to suggest that you are suited to the career that you are
pursuing. A reminder: You will find a list of your skills in the summary
The one-page summary CV may also include one or two of the
following sections if you consider they enhance your application.