The way you present your CV can have an overwhelming influence over whether your CV is even read, let alone get you that all important interview. CV’s are different in name only, they describe the same thing: A document that chronicles personal details, career history and achievements!
You will need to consider what to include, how much detail is needed and how to make your CV stand out from all the others. Here are the golden rules to abide by when constructing your CV:
- Construct your CV with your prospective employer in mind. Make it easy for them to conclude that you are a strong candidate.
- Tailor your CV to the job. Your CV should be tailored for the job you’re applying for, focusing on the parts that are important for that particular job.
- Use a clear, uncluttered layout, without too many special effects. If you want to use bold text, indentation or even frames, feel free—but keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to make the CV a quick read.
- Use positive language. when describing your work achievements use power words such as ‘launched’, ‘managed’, ‘coordinated’, ‘motivated’, ‘supervised’, “liaised” and ‘achieved’.
- Explain all significant breaks in your career or education
- Place the important information up-front. Put experience and education achievements in reverse chronological order starting with your current job and working backwards.
- Give a brief describe of the companies that you worked for and your major achievements in bullet form.
- Include experience and interests that might be of use to the employer: IT skills, voluntary work, foreign language competency, driving skills, leisure interests that demonstrate team skills and organization/leadership skills.
- Put your name and email address on every page.
- Include salary information and expectations. Leave this for negotiations after your interview.
- Include information which may be viewed negatively – failed exams, failed business ventures, reasons for leaving a job, points on your driving license. Don’t lie, but just don’t include this kind of information. Don’t give the interviewer any reason to discard you at this stage.
- Be tempted to shrink the font or reduce the margins to get more information in. Keep it easy to read. If you need to say more, use another page, but ask yourself if the extra detail really adds value.
- Include referees – just state they are available on request.
- Include all of the jobs you have had since school, just the relevant ones. Add details about your most recent qualifications, which are more relevant, but summarize the rest.
- Use jargon, acronyms, technical terms – unless essential.
- Include a photo unless requested.