CV Guide

What is a CV?

A Curriculum Vitae or Résumé is a documentary record of your education, qualifications and employment history.

It is also a lot more. When applying for any kind of job you are trying to sell your skills to the employer. The employer will decide whether to interview you depending on the contents of your CV and accompanying. The CV is therefore not just a documentary record of your career to date but also a chance to sell yourself. Spending a little time getting your CV right is therefore well worth the effort involved.

Would you write my CV for me?

Our consultants are happy to offer advice and assistance in the preparation of your CV.

How do I write a CV?

First think about what makes you good as an employee and what the employer wants. Take a few minutes to plan what you want to write before typing it up. Start by jotting down an outline of the CV by hand. Don’t sit straight down in front of your typewriter or word processor until you understand clearly what skills you intend to ‘sell’ with the CV.

How should it look?

  • Clean and sharp – black ink on white (A4) paper is best.
  • Clearly mark each section with a section heading. Ask a friend to check the grammar and spelling before you send the CV.
  • Avoid fancy fonts and decorations – it is the content that is really important.
  • A picture is optional – make sure it is a quality photo.

Does length matter?

Yes. Keep it brief – but be sensible. 2 to 3 sides are usually best.

What writing style should I use?

  • Write in the first person.
  • Stick to the point. An employer wants to identify your key skills and experiences by glancing at your CV. If it is hard work to get this information you will be passed over.

What else?

  • Give maximum coverage to your most recent experience or your relevant skills.
  • Don’t leave gaps! Employers are suspicious of unexplained time gaps in a CV. If you took a year off to go travelling or were forced not to work because of other commitments then say so.
  • When you think you have finished, turn the tables on yourself. Pretend the CV belongs to someone else and you are the employer reviewing it. Be critical!

The importance of the cover letter

  • The covering letter is truly of crucial importance. It’s how you present yourself in letterform, and it is just as important as the CV itself.
  • If your letter is good, the potential employer or his agent will read it. If it’s brilliant, you’re probably at the halfway stage to an interview.
  • First, the obvious bit. Always make sure you address the letter to the right person. It’s so obvious; it’s easy to forget. So don’t.
  • Next, make the letter job-specific. If you demonstrate that you’ve thought about the demands of the job, you’ll look keen. Conversely, a general cover letter will appear unfocussed, uninterested and uninteresting!
  • Give them a reason to see you. Highlight your most appropriate skills and achievements, and how they might benefit the company. This is your first chance to stand out from the competition and showing an appreciation of the company’s strategies will do you no harm.
  • And don’t be tempted to run through your entire CV – that will be read if you generate enough interest with the letter. Here, less is definitely more.
  • Finally, double check your CV. Read up about the company and ensure that both your covering letter and CV are spelled and punctuated correctly. These are serious business documents and could make the difference.
  • To manage and develop your career effectively it is essential to ensure that you are offered the most suitable job opportunities that match your career and lifestyle goals. Unless you work in a highly specialized area there will usually be many others competing for a first interview and then the offer for the job itself.
  • This CV and interview guide sets out some practical steps you can take to increase your chances of success substantially.
Career development