Curriculum Vitae definition = course of life.
A CV is a road map of your working life and summarises education, career and achievements. They are used as a primary marketing tool and one that is not well written or presented is guaranteed to have no effect. It will not pass the first sift.
What is trying to be achieved ? Obviously, the job seeker wants to make the right impression as quickly as possible so they are invited to the recruitment interview and hopefully to the next stage of the process.
A well-constructed CV is central to the selection processes as it gives recruiters an immediate snapshot of the candidate.
The candidate also wants their CV to stand out – recruiters/employers may just briefly scan an application letter and CV so it is important to get it right. Ensure dates and specific details are verifiable because they may be checked at interview or at the reference stage. If there are certificates of qualification, achievement or course attendance then ensure this is taken to interview.
A well-presented CV makes it easier for a recruiter/employer to find the information they are looking for. It will have good shape and form with clear headings and easy to read. It should look balanced and attractive and not stuffed full of clutter.
We like the KISS principle; Keep It Short and Sweet, and do not overload it with irrelevant information. Two pages maximum.
We consider the timeline CV the most appropriate where name and contact details are at the top, followed by a brief personal summary of attributes, then in reverse order the work history starting with the current job, highlighting responsibilities and achievements. Leave education, qualifications and training experiences to the end and very last of all, hobbies, extra curricular activity and personal interests.
It really is important to be transparent and honest. People who recruit do so all the time and see thousands of people so are used to scrutinising CVs and can quickly spot an error or inconsistency. Don’t try to blag it as recruiters soon know when candidates are over-exaggerating.
Before completing the CV make sure the contact details are correct. Imagine the awful scenario where the candidate is considered suitable for a second interview, but the recruiter is unable to contact them due to an incorrect digit in the telephone number or email address.
Before you start writing a CV there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself so that the end result is a clear and concise document which presents you in the best possible light, but also in terms of matching it to a particular vacancy:
- What type of company do you want to work for?
- Does the job match your experience and meet your aspiration?
- Do the hours and location suit you?
- What systems have you worked with?
- If the job holds responsibility, do you want it?
- What are your strengths?
- Avoid putting down mundane hobbies and interests such as ‘family’ and ‘going out’.
- Does the job relate to your own interests ie you enjoy reading and it is a media company?
- Do you enjoy working in a team?
- Do you enjoy problem solving?
Terry’s tips for a good CV
- As curriculum vitae means “Course of Life” the document should be a concise story of your work life history, responsibilities and achievements.
- As a rule of thumb, a CV should be no more than two pages long. Always lead with your name and contact details followed by a brief profile highlighting your experience and what you have to offer that makes you relevant to the job.
- Check the detail. Recruiters have a well-earned reputation for spotting inconsistencies such as dates. Make sure the dates and roles flow.
- Make sure the CV is in an easy to read format, possibly in bullet point form
- Be honest at all times and do not exaggerate.
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