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Writing your CV

A CV (curriculum vitae) is usually accompanied by a covering letter or email. Your CV should be written with a thorough understanding of what the potential employer is looking for by highlighting the key skills and experience relevant to the job. Ensure that your CV is up-to-date with your most current experience and all the skills relevant for the job you are applying for.

Style

Your CV should be laid out in such a way as to enable ease of reading and updating. Try to keep information as short and concise as possible, using bullet points to list skills, responsibilities and achievements. Use a professional font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman and ensure you select a size that is legible.

Length

The length of a CV will vary greatly between individuals but it is expected that contractor CV’s will be longer due to the number of contract assignments to cover. A CV doesn’t need to be 2 pages long although it’s best to keep it within 4 pages and not to sacrifice important information to keep to a page limit.

Example Layout:

  • Name & contact details
  • Profile – A brief summary of your skills and experience
  • Professional qualifications, memberships & any relevant licences or accreditations
  • Career history in chronological order (recent first) with start and end dates and a description of key responsibilities and achievements in each position.
  • Interests and hobbies. Keep this section short and only identify activities that enhance the qualities outlined in your CV
  • References. Most employers do not check references until the interview stage but make it clear they are available on request.

Cover Letters

It is always good to include a covering letter or email with your CV to put your application in context and to explain why you are interested in applying for the particular position. It is also useful to demonstrate how your skills are a good fit for the role and to highlight the relevant experience you have acquired.

Tips

Don’t expect whoever is reading your CV to be an expert, more CV’s are now read by external recruiters, internal recruiters and HR departments so try to get the balance of skills, duties and achievements right and don’t forget to set out what makes you special.

Incorrect spelling and bad grammar can immediately highlight your CV for all the wrong reasons. Make sure you spell check and ask a family member or friend to proof read it for you.

It is always good to include a covering letter with your CV to put your application in context and to explain why you are interested in applying for the particular position. It is also useful to demonstrate how your skills are a good fit for the role.

Major successes, projects or achievements are a great way to demonstrate your abilities, and any facts and figures you can include to substantiate your statements all the better.

Try to account for any gaps in your employment, for example if you have been on maternity/paternity leave, recovering from illness or travelling include it in the career history section of your CV.

Save your CV in MS Word to ensure it is in a usable format, if using PDF format avoid saving your CV as an image.

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