Your C.V. is the biggest marketing tool you have.
It’s the first step to promoting and getting yourself noticed in an extremely competitive environment. Here’s a simple guide to how your C.V. should flow, what should be included and a few basic hints for you to bear in mind before sending your C.V. anywhere.
Keep It Simple
There’s often no need for fancy borders, logos or a selection of different fonts, as all of this can make your CV look too busy. Keep things nice and simple, you need to make your C.V. as bold and as reader friendly as possible.
What To Include
You’re aiming to cover 4 main areas – your full career history, your achievements, your skills and a small insight to your personality.
How To Begin
Start with a small section for your personal details: name, address, contact numbers, email address and driving licence. (You could also include things like date of birth, marital status and number of dependents, if any, should you wish).
Type a few sentences about your character; don’t waffle, just give the employer a snap shot of what you’re all about and what makes your tick, including your career aims/ambitions and maybe a few of your interests outside of work – but not all of them!
Summarise with a few bullet points, your main strengths and any achievements worth mentioning. You also need to include any IT systems you’re familiar with.
Qualifications & Training
Again a list format always makes for easy reading. Start with your most recent qualification or training course and work back. If you’re a graduate, it can be a bit overkill to go on and list each GCSE subject and the grade achieved, it often looks better to summarise: e.g. 8 GCSE’s, Grades A – C (including Maths & Eng.)
Always start with the most recent role and work back. Begin by outlining the company name, your position within the business, the month and year you started, the month and year you left and your reason for leaving. Below this you can go into more detail by listing your duties and responsibilities – bullet point format is good for this as it keeps things snappy, straight to the point and very easy to read.
The usual etiquette is to list two work related referees, including their address and contact number, however, if you’re currently in a permanent role and would prefer to eliminate the risk of these being taken without your knowledge, it’s perfectly acceptable to state ‘References available upon request’.
Check & Double Check Again
It’s surprising how many mistakes people make on their C.V.’s, which can lead to embarrassing situations at interview. Ensure ‘all’ of your dates tally up and try not to leave any gaps, even if you weren’t working at the time, state what you were doing e.g. Travelling, Maternity Leave, Job Seeking… and finally, carefully check spelling and punctuation.
Remember this is your first chance to impress the employer and potentially secure an interview. The length of your career history and industry experience will depend on whether the above strictly applies to you, but it’s a good basic guide to get you started.