CV's / Resume

Preparing a Curriculum Vitae
What should my CV achieve?

The objective of a CV is to market yourself and to get an interview. It also forms the basis for questions in the interview.

There is no one right way to write your CV. There are a variety of ways to make it work well for you.

Chronological - the traditional style of CV that focuses on a history of your experiences, usually starting from the present and working backwards. This format is useful for people who are staying in the same profession or kind of work.

Functional - this structure highlights the major skills and expertise that you have gained from your experiences. It enables students and other people with little work relevant experience, such as career changers, to emphasise their transferable skills.

Combined - elements from both the chronological and functional formats are used to maximise the advantages of both types. The combined format has the flexibility to make it effective for all job seekers.
Rules for a CV
  • A well presented CV with a professional appearance will persuade an employer to read further after the initial scan.
  • Arrange the information under appropriate headings.
  • Use bullets points, bolding, italics and white space to make it eye catching and easily read.
  • Ensure your layout is neat, tidy and consistent throughout your CV.
  • Always type/word process your CV unless the employer requires it to be handwritten.
  • Use clear, correct language without spelling mistakes.
  • Avoid jargon and abbreviations.
  • Avoid using first person pronouns I and We
  • Keep your CV concise. It should be 2 - 4 pages in length and include all relevant material without going into too much detail.
  • Target your CV to requirements of the prospective position.
  • Make your most important information easy to find - near the beginning of the CV or on the first line of paragraphs.
  • Be positive. Present yourself in the best possible way and make the most of your strengths.
  • Be honest and accurate about your experience and abilities.
  • A bound CV is not necessary. Most employers prefer a CV to be stapled in the top left-hand corner. White or off white paper of good quality is recommended.
  • Don't include a photograph unless asked to.

What should I include in my CV?
These are ideas for headings and content. How you arrange the sections will depend on your chosen CV format.

Profile: An outline at the beginning of your CV that summarises your background and what you can do for the organisation.
Personal Details: Name, address and phone number only are required. You may want to include email and fax.

Education: List details of all relevant education and training in reverse chronological order. Mention any prizes and awards. Short courses, seminars and workshops can be included if they relate to the position.

Work Experience: Document all paid work including part-time and temporary jobs, and unpaid/voluntary work if relevant or you lack paid work experience. Organise in reverse chronological order.

Skills and Strengths: These need to be relevant to the position. You can use your experiences in work, study, community, sporting or social activities to demonstrate transferable skills.
Interests: This is optional, however employers do find this information helpful to assess your personality and how you may fit in to their work group. List a few activities that will demonstrate relevant personal qualities and abilities and indicate your level of involvement.

Career Objectives/Personal Statement: Experts differ on whether you should include this kind of section. It can be useful if you know exactly what type of position you want. Some employers request a personal statement. Write short statements outlining your career goals. Avoid general, vague and meaningless phrases. Be specific and focused but be aware you can limit your opportunities if you appear to be inflexible in your aims.

Referees / References: Most employers get verbal referee reports. Choose two or three people who can speak positively about you. You could use a tutor/lecturer, a work place supervisor, someone from a club, team, or other situation in your life. Check first that they are happy to be listed as your referee and let them know about the position each time you apply. If you have written references attach them or state that these are available on request.

For more help with CV’s please contact the Careers Adviser.

Download a CV Template Here
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