A CV or Curriculum Vitae is often the first opportunity for a potential employer to assess how you present yourself. A CV is a sales document if tailored to the job you are applying for, it will provide evidence that you are a good quality candidate for the position on offer. A poorly written CV, no matter how relevant the content, will probably create a negative impression.
Seeing the recruitment process from both client and applicant perspective, ASA have some suggestions to help you make that all-important first impression a positive one.
- One page is too short, two or three pages are fine though three or four pages for contract personnel where there are more assignments is the norm together with a covering letter that highlights your specific skills and abilities. The prospective employer will scan read your CV for suitability so it needs to have impact within the first 30 seconds.
- Tell the truth.
- All contact details (full address, telephone, email etc), summary of education and qualifications, including BSc grade and language fluency should go on the first page, followed by your current or last job. You should always list employers in reverse chronological order.
- Academic successes should include dates, type of institution, location and principle subjects and examination results. List your highest qualifications first. Remember to include memberships of professional bodies.
- A personnel statement and/or technical skills summary allowing a prospective employer the chance to see you have the relevant skills immediately.
- Describe each employer briefly. Most people have heard of Microsoft, but many companies or the relevant division you worked for require some explanation / introduction.
- Give a brief description of what you do/are, or were responsible for - and highlight with some key achievements /responsibilities (number of staff, value of sales, reduction in costs, length of projects etc.).
- Be specific, focused, and factual and give full explicit details and provide evidence for any claims you make.
- If you have any peculiar or company specific job titles that mean nothing to the outside world, give a generic description of what you did.
- Future employers do not need as much detail about what you did 5 years ago, still ten years ago, a single line may suffice.
- List a few principle hobbies or leisure activities. Be careful not to list too many, it looks like you are never at work!
- Before submitting your CV check it thoroughly for errors, not just for spelling and grammar, but also to make sure it is a clear representation of you.
- Ensure your CV is written in a suitable font that is clear and easy to read. Use bold to enhance particular points, especially those skills summaries and educational achievements that are at the front of the CV