Writing your CV
Providing an employer with their first impression of you as a candidate, your CV stands as an important part of the recruitment process. It could provide the initial step in attaining your first interview or meeting and provides a snapshot not only of your professional history, but your life experience and various capabilities. A well written CV will be concise, relevant and highlight your details, education and job experience, yet should be limited to around 2-5 pages. There are some fundamental guidelines to follow when preparing any CV, this page provides a guide to increase your chances of success.
The indicator of a well-structured CV is where the decision maker can assess much of your history from the first page and treat the rest of your CV as evidence or supplementary information. Generally it is appropriate to work in reverse chronological order when communicating your career history. Use appropriate headings for easy reading and keep the lesser important details at the back of the CV, give priority to the most important points up front.
Additionally, there should be a logical link between your:
- Skills and knowledge– who you are and what you are capable of.
- Responsibilities– what you do and what you have done.
- Achievements– how well you do and how you have done it.
- Your key result areas and your key performance indicators as evidence of these.
A CV that is specifically relevant to a role or opportunity is a good structure for candidates to aim for. Where employers can form a direct connection between your personal experience and their job position via the CV, you will significantly improve your chance of success. Tailor your CV to the criteria for the role, emphasise your background and the competencies you hold that connect you and the listed requirements for the position.
In a highly competitive job market, a polished, professional and strategically minded CV will greatly increase your chances of employment. Be sure to check whether an employer has requested a specifically formatted CV submission and that your CV is free of spelling errors or awkward formatting.
Also check you have:
- Been concise- focused more on details about your most relevant or recent jobs, less about the past
- Have used clear, direct text – making sure your wording is not too complex
- Used one format – consistency and clarity is important.
- Kept to the employer’s submission requirements and the job description in mind.
Following these guidelines when CV writing will make a crucial difference to your chances of being contacted for the interview that could be the next step in your career.