We all know how vital it is to have the perfect CV, it is, after all, a potential employer's first meeting of you but how do you set about writing it? What information should you make sure it contains and what should you take out? We at AllExeterJobs want to help you in maximising your chances of getting that need so here are hints for making the right first impression.
We know it's clear but a Curriculum Vitae (CV) should always be typed to give it the best clarity possible. It should also be excellently presented. Consider how it looks on the page. There should be apparent headings and breaks between sections. A potential employer will probably look through loads of CVs for a job so they should be able to see the pertinent information straightaway before short listing it for a more thorough read through. A badly laid out CV which is difficult to read will probably end up in the trash.
The majority employers would like a CV to start with a personal statement as it allows them to see straightaway what you are about. What should this include?
Make sure you give these questions serious thought before you decide upon the answers as they probable to be questioned at interview. Here's an example of the type of thing might want to say say:
' I am bright, a conscientious worker and serious about any challenges I come up against. My careerto date has all been decidedly customerfocused and I have found this to be very enjoyable. I have spent the last nine years in a sales environment and I enjoy the interaction with different types of people this brings. I feel I am intelligent and would like the opportunity to exploit. During my time at Joe Bloggs' Estate Agents I very much enjoyed learning lots about the procedural and legal aspects of the conveyancing process and think that I absorbed it quickly. I am particularly keen to take on a challenging position with the chance to advance and train where possible. I am also extremely IT proficient and thoroughly like using computers as part of my working life.'
The next heading should be your education if it is especially relevant to the job to which you are applying. For example, if you have a degree in French and you are applying for a multilingual position then it is useful to state this first. However, if you are of the opinion that your education is not especially significant and you are applying on the importance of your experience then it is worth considering putting your work history first.
Your education should be listed in reverse order with the most recent education received first. It is unnecessary to go into extensive detail here, just state where you studied and what grades you achieved. It is not necessary to put the dates of study if you do not wish to as, under the Age Discrimination Law, you are not obliged to make any reference to your age and this includes dates from which your age may be obvious. Remember to include information of any extra certificates you might have be awarded which may be relevant to the position.
Like education, it is important that this is laid out in reverse order, the most recent or current employment first. You should state the name of the business and the period of time you were employed (this does not have to be dates but you should indicate for how much time you were employed in that position). It is also useful to indicate where the employer was based, e.g. Exeter. You should also clearly state what your job title was. Underneath explain succinctly what your job role was and your main tasks. This should aid a potential employer decide whether your experience makes you right for their vacancy. Try to be succinct and keep it to only relevant information.
It is not a good idea to put your salary for each employment undertaken on your CV as this can make an employer to make assumptions about your suitability for a position and make negotiating your salary, where applicable, harder. Similarly the same could also be said for putting your salary expectation on your CV.
It is not uncommon for people to put a small amount of personal information, such as hobbies, on their CV. It is advisable to keep this to a minimum. You should, however, state whether you have a driving licence and whether you own your own car etc.
There has also been a noticeable shift away from employers liking to see photos on a CV. For most positions it is unnecessary to include a photo but if you wish to it ought to be passport photo sized and professional in appearance.
It is essential that you ensure all spelling and punctuation are correct. Literacy is often highly important to employers so use the 'Spell Check' facility on your computer.
Ask someone to read through your CV. Ask them to double check that it looks presentable and easy to read. They should also check your spelling and grammar.
When applying for a vacancy try to incorporate a covering letter. This should indicate why you are applying for this job in particular and a small amount about the experience and/or skills you have which would be significant to them (avoid repeating too much from the CV itself).
Don't forget that it is not necessarily 'one CV fits all', it is worth spending a few minutes reviewing your CV before each time you send it to ensure it makes the greatest impact for each particular role. You may want to think about changing some information, particularly your personal statement, to suit the job description.