Firstly, we must explain that every position, profession, interview, interviewee and job seeker is different. And so it follows that every CV will be different too. Even each of YOUR CV’s may be slightly different- it may be wise to create variations of your CV depending upon what potential employer you’re seeking a position from and when. It may pay dividends to customise your CV and covering letter accordingly, rather than simply producing a blanket standardised set of documents- even if you’re a student and this is your first ever set of job applications.
Your CV is important. It will probably be the first, perhaps the only opportunity you get to impress a potential employer enough to get you through to an interview. So take your time with it (if you have time) and re-visit the document several times over a few days. Because you may change the way you portray aspects of yourself within the CV over time, and you might alter the way you word paragraphs. A good CV will develop - it rarely materialises during a coffee break.
The first step is to produce a covering letter. It’s not that important is it? I’ll save my real energy for the CV itself. WRONG! The covering letter will be the first thing about you that your prospective employer might read, and if it’s not produced properly, it might be the last!
You must convince them that you’re potentially the best person for the job from the outset- the letter leads into your CV and then on to an interview.
The covering letter should look good- easy on the eye using a pleasant layout, modern but restrained font and it must not be too long!
Let’s start with a three page A4 CV:
This is a typical CV length although as we’ve said previously, every situation is different.
We’d advise a formal page that lists your name, address and contact details- it’s a kind of front cover.
Your personal statement.
Keep it brief. HR Managers are busy people and they may have a mountain of CV’s to read and access. So don’t waffle- keep it brief and to the point.
This page of your CV could have your Photograph at the top if you think it’s required, or you could have your picture as an optional extra on your CV Folder instead/as well.
You should begin with a short paragraph that confirms your attributes in a positive clear way. See some sample CV pages here < >
The next section should outline your current position, or the most recent position you held.
What you’re doing now will probably count for more than the sum total of what you’ve done previously.
If you’ve recently been made redundant or you’ve lost your job, outline the position you held in a positive way and list any volunteer work or educational courses you’ve attended whilst you’ve been without work.
Follow this paragraph/section with a brief list of previous employment history (in reverse order).
Ensure that you keep the list relevant- don’t just put in every part time job you’ve ever had if it does not form a building block to your career move.
Now move on to the Qualifications and Training part of your CV:
List your Professional Qualifications and Training, your Professional Memberships where relevant and your University and/or School accomplishments. Other skills particularly in software, word processing or web design or programming would be useful to list here which can be mentioned again under hobbies and pastimes if deemed to be appropriate.
Listing volunteer work is important and looks good on a CV.
If you’ve been a School Governor, Parish Councillor or worked for a charity or support organisation, don’t miss the opportunity to show this here.
Lastly, personal interests & details about you:
Write enough to create a positive impression of yourself. Choose what you list carefully, creating a short interesting vista. We underline short and interesting. NOT long and boring.
Your contact details are on your CV Folder, but you can repeat them here too- because it’s possible that the Folder and documents might get separated.