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cv tips

Your CV has 10-15 seconds to impress a potential employer. It is important to sell yourself using positive language and emphasise your key skills.

It goes without saying …

Your CV should include your name, address, email and mobile phone number. You would be surprised how many people miss these off, regardless of their level of experience or seniority.

Other details you should include are:

  • Education and qualifications. Include the institutions, courses and dates that you attended in reverse order, making sure to include grades at each stage; 
  • Work experience. Career history is also presented in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Place more emphasis on the most recent role and provide more information. Make sure to explain any gaps in employment;
  • Interests and activities. These should demonstrate your networking and organisational skills, and should be kept brief.

The following, however, are unnecessary:

  • Marital status
  • Age or birth date
  • Referees 
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Personal recommendations or quotes

Be concise…

Your CV should be no more than two pages long. Bear in mind that the recipient will have seen several other CVs that day and only spend on average 8 seconds scanning your CV. Think about the parts you want to highlight, and remove any excess that would be better suited to discussion at interview.

Be relevant…

Whilst drafting your CV, make sure to read several job descriptions of roles which interest you. What particular skills do they look for? Can you demonstrate experience in this area? Use of keywords is very important, as the reader will scan for these during an initial skim of the document. Think about specialist terminology that can be used. Equally avoid mentioning the irrelevant, such as work in other fields or membership of unrelated organisations.

Where possible tailor your CV to the job in question. Highlight the key skills mentioned in the job advert/description, or have two or three versions of your CV that feature different skills, experience more prominently, using the most suitable when applying for a job.

Be positive…

Positive language makes a big difference. You can instantly make your achievements sound a lot more impressive by using words like ‘managed’, ‘led’ and ‘achieved’ at the expense of ‘tried’, ‘assisted’ and ‘helped’.

Be professional…

Your CV should be in a common font, such as Arial, in size 10-12. Bear in mind that your CV will be read on screen as well as printed out. For this reason, lines, borders, boxes, pictures, colours and even italics should not feature.

Your CV will usually be the first time a potential employer hears about you. The above is a great start, but for more information contact us.

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