Your CV is a tool with one purpose: to gain an interview. It should present you in the best possible light and convince a prospective employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this specific position or career.
You don't have much time to impress with your CV - research shows that employers scan, rather than read, CVs - so to make sure it stimulates interest, follow these basic tips:
- Avoid coloured paper or type, fancy fonts, photographs or clever delivery approaches
- Be truthful and don't be afraid to sell your skills
- Keep the look simple and make your point quickly (download our CV template as a guide)
- Use the past tense and choose strong action verbs
- Avoid speaking about yourself in the third person
- Avoid jargon and acronyms that other people might not understand
- Tailor your resume for each specific application
- Include the company profile of the organisations that you have worked for
- Make your CV results oriented: give proof to back up your capability statements.
- Personal Information: Include your name, full address, telephone numbers (day/evening/mobile) and email address
Key areas to strengthen your CV are:
- Qualifications: List both academic and non-academic qualifications in chronological order, giving grades. Do not include irrelevant information.
- Employment History: Beginning with your most recent job, include your responsibilities, duration of employment and reasons for leaving. Do not omit any period of employment for whatever reason, as this may prove awkward at interview.
- Personal Interests: Listing your interests is important, but do not generalise. For example, instead of simply saying 'football', you could expand and say that you have played for a local club for the last four years and are now publicity officer for the committee (but only if this is true).
- Check: Before submitting your CV/Resumé, make sure you check it thoroughly, not just for spelling mistakes, but also to make sure that it is a clear representation of you, that it is relevant and that it will encourage the employer to contact you to find out more. Ask a friend to check it, too. Someone who works in the industry for which you are applying would be particularly beneficial.
Make sure you avoid making any of these common CV errors.