CV Writing - Write A Perfect CV
Your CV is a gateway to getting an interview for that ideal job. It is your opportunity to provide a good first impression but you only have two sides of A4 paper in which to do it. It is not surprising then that most people have trouble getting started.
Firstly, you need to know what the employer is thinking.
The employer suddenly has a vacancy. Filling the vacancy is going to take up valuable time that he would rather spend doing his normal job. He would love to find the perfect person immediately rather than plough through hundreds of CV?s. It is often a dull, thankless task.
The employer has a job description in front of him. It includes experience or qualifications that are essential for the job and some attributes that are desirable but not absolutely necessary.
He starts going through the pile of CV?s on his desk. He scans each one for about 30 seconds and makes a judgement.
He simply hasn?t got time to read the CV that is more than two pages and all the relevant information is hidden in long paragraphs. - He files it in the bin.
Fancy formatting, coloured text or multiple fonts do not impress him. Is this person trying to hide their lack of experience for the job behind an artistic CV? ? He files it in the bin.
He notices spelling mistakes and poor punctuation. This person is just sloppy! ? He files the CV in the bin.
He breaths a sigh of relief, the pile on his desk is smaller already. He makes another coffee and then starts reading?
This should tell you a few things about writing your CV.
Keep it concise and to the point. The employer needs to see your work experience, skills and achievements in the first 30 seconds of scanning your CV. He knows what he is looking for. You have what he is looking for. Don?t distract him from your relevant skills by adding in lots of unnecessary information.
Keep it simple. Plain formatting, simply laid out under headings. The employer wants to see exactly when, where and what you have done. Fancy formatting makes your CV difficult to read. It may make your CV stand out from the rest but for the wrong reasons.
Keep checking your english. Good spelling, punctuation and grammar are essential. It is the first step in your personal presentation to an employer. It says a lot about you. Also, poor english distracts the employer from reading the content of your CV.
Now the content:
Contact details should be displayed on the first page. When he decides to invite you to interview you want him to see immediately how to contact you before he changes his mind!
Personal details should be limited to those that are absolutely necessary. Most employers expect to see your nationality and date of birth but you can choose to leave these out if you think they may go against you.
Other personal details such as number of dependents, driving license and marital status can be included if it is not going to make your CV too long by including them. These can help employers to get a rounded picture of the person they are going to interview. Do not include names and ages of children or name of spouse. The employer is not interested at this stage.
Interests can be included but only in one or two lines. It may provide a starting point at interview for general conversation before getting down to serious questions about your work experience. It also gives a rounded picture of you without taking up too much space on the CV.
Profile is positioned prominently in your CV and should be used to sell yourself in one paragraph. It is an opportunity to sum up your skills, experience and general suitability for the job for which you are applying.
Career History or Work Experience. The heading you use depends on the length of time you have been in fulltime employment. If you have recently left school or university you should use the heading ?Work Experience? and include all placements, paid and unpaid work. If you have been in fulltime employment for the last two jobs this should be under the heading of ?Career History?. Do not use both headings in the CV. Whichever heading you use you must include dates, name and location of company and a brief description of what your job entailed including all the positive contributions you made to the company.
Education should be described in terms of selling yourself to the employer. Include all relevant courses, dates passed and name of school or college. But, leave out poor grades and failures. These will not help you get invited for interview.
If you have a university degree you can leave out all of your lower qualifications. Mature applicants may want to leave out ?Education? altogether, as your career history and skills are probably more important.
Skills can be described under three headings: Technical Skills, Professional Courses and Additional Skills. Technical skills are those related to a technical, mechanical or engineering job. You need to list your skills and how recently you have used them e.g. Java Programming used in the last 3 years. Professional Courses are those that you have attended specifically for a particular job e.g. sales courses, hairdressing. Additional skills are anything else that may be relevant e.g. languages, keyboard skills, health and safety courses.
Finally: Make it easy for him! Remember, the employer has very little time. He doesn?t know you yet and is only interested in what you can offer him and his company.
Make it easy for him to:
Scan your CV;
Identify that you have the skills he is looking for;
Pick up the phone to invite you in for an interview.
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