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CV guidance

Your CV is an important sales document and is your first, and sometimes only, chance to make a good impression, so it is essential to make it stand out.

A CV needs to grab the reader’s attention quickly by providing relevant information to interest them enough to invite you for an interview. The reality is that you have less than 30 seconds to make an impression with your CV.

The style and tone of CV required will vary slightly by profession, e.g. a CV for a design job would need a portfolio section, but here are some general rules:

Length

There is no one set format for the perfect CV, but you should generally keep it to a maximum of two sides of A4 paper in a legible font size (around size 11 for text, larger for headings) and type (Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman). It should always be concise, neat and up-to-date.

Short bullet point sections work well to get the key information across quickly; you can expand on details when you get to interview stage. Generally speaking, your work experience in the sector should be near the top, although if you are newly qualified you may want to place more emphasis on your key skills and education.

Here are some simple guidelines that should be followed to ensure that your CV is presentable and markets you to a prospective employer most accurately.

Your CV should include the following basic information:

Personal details

It is essential that you include your name, address, contact telephone number and email address.

Career profile

This should be short and snappy (3 or 4 lines) and it is a really good opportunity to sell yourself. You can include your professional status with career highlights, skills, strengths and career ambitions.

Employment history

List in chronological order your work experience, with current/most recent position first and in the most detail. Include a brief description of any other roles and bullet point your key responsibilities/achievements.

Education & qualifications

List the most recent qualifications first and only list relevant education (no school qualifications unless you have just graduated).

Interests & achievements

Include a brief list of your main hobbies and interests to show that you are an interesting and likeable person. However, this is not essential so if space is an issue leave it out.

References

Do not give details -simply state ‘available on request’.

DO:

  • Be honest
  • Include your key achievements
  • Spell check and proof read.

DON’T:

  • Under / over sell yourself
  • Leave gaps in your work history
  • Exceed 3 pages.