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Help & Advice | CV Writing Tips | Interview Tips

Preparation
Where do you start, a blank piece of paper has never looked so empty. Hereís what you do, take some post-it notes and brainstorm the following topics:

  • What are my strengths?
  • In which areas did I excel in my previous positions?
  • In which working environment would I thrive?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • What are my mid to long-term professional goals?
  • Define what I do professionally.
  • What personal attributes can I bring to a role?

Now you have started the process you need to get them into some order.

The Basics:
Your CV is a reflection of your professionalism. It needs to state that you are the right person for the job. You need to have one master copy of a CV and then should tailor subsequent CVs to bring out salient points in your work history that match the Person Specification and Job Specification of the role your are interested in.

A Good CV should contain the following:

  • A 4-line summary or profile of you as a job seeker, what are your strengths and what do you excel at?
  • A clear, un-cluttered layout (3 pages maximum)
  • Job specific information (avoid jargon and include a synopsis of the company you worked for, donít assume that people will recognise the company name.)
  • Articulate, concise language- a maximum of 15 words per sentence.
  • Specific and quantifiable achievements.
  • No mistakes

Top Tip
Recruiters and employers look for the following attributes when filling a post. Include quantifiable examples of as many of these as possible in your CV.

  • Competence and experience
  • Relevant skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Creativity and problem solving
  • Leadership (how many people in your team, based in one place or in far-flung places?)
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Personal management skills
  • Integrity

The Headings
A Chronological CV is the most traditional; they list previous employers and job roles in detail and are suited to professionals who have a formal history of experience.

Functional or skills CVs are better suited to contractors, graduates, people who have taken time out. They are useful when making a complete career change.

  • Personal details
  • Name, contact details, nationality
  • Profile
  • A descriptive overview of your professional profile. List your key features, formal training and business acumen.
  • Work experience in reverse chronological order
  • Include dates, a brief summary of what the company did, size of turnover, and number of employees. Include projects worked on, responsibilities and key, quantifiable achievements.
  • Education and Qualifications
  • Most recent first (no need to include you GCSE results if you have subsequently gone on to achieve an MBA or similar.) Include PC skills and proficiencies
  • References
Proofing and Checking
There is nothing more unprofessional than grammar or spelling mistakes on your CV. Donít rely on the spell-checker facility, print off a hard copy and circulate it around people you can trust who will read it through for you and highlight any errors.


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