Curriculum Vitae Tips

The purpose of a CV is to sell yourself to a potential employer and outlines your qualifications, experience, skills and achievements. Your CV speaks volumes about you. Many employees will automatically disqualify an applicant who has submitted a CV containing typos and grammatical errors. We are frequently asked about how to put together a good CV so we have put together some tips and created a list of dos and don’ts that will keep you on the right track.

Top tips for writing a successful CV.

Include the most basic information about you.

Never forget that the CV should hold all the information about you that is relevant to a future employer. Even though you may have entered many of these details when registering to the Greenjobs site, you should still ensure that your CV is a strong, standalone document that includes the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality, including visa and work permit status
  • Languages (level for both written and verbal)
  • Driving Licence (if you have one)
  • You should also indicate on your CV if you are willing to relocate.

Keep it concise.

An employer may only allocate a few minutes to review your CV so bullet points are preferable to unwieldy paragraphs so it is vital that you eliminate any unnecessary details as they will just distract from the salient information. Two A4 pages is the ideal length for a CV although it may be impossible to condense relevant work experience into this space. Weed out any information that is not suitable for the type of jobs that you are applying for. Space is precious - use it wisely.

Include your Employment history.

All your employment history should be included and presented in reverse chronological order (i.e. listing it beginning with the most recent first). It is essential to include the following information in this section:

  • Dates
  • Name of employer (including previous names if it has subsequently rebranded)
  • Job title(s)
  • Brief description of your main duties in the role
  • Key Achievements in the role (e.g. increased turnover or implemented a new system)
  • Any promotions received during your time in the company.

Include your career objectives.

A starting point for any jobseeker is to compile a list of both short-term and long-term career objectives. This will enable you to focus on deciding on the type of work you want to undertake? General areas that you want to work in are fine; avoid going into miniscule detail as it may constrain you.

Include your Education history.

It is vital to include a section listing your education history. You needn’t go into too much detail, for example and employer does not want to have to sift through all the modules you studied at college. The education section should include:

  • Dates
  • Institution
  • Technical and academic qualifications achieved
  • Achievements / Positions of Responsibility

Include Hobbies / Interests.

An employer will want to ascertain if you are a ‘good fit’ for their organisation so it is important to give them an insight into your extra-curricular activities too as it helps to convey some of your personality. This section is traditionally the last part of the CV.

Produce a document that you can be proud of.

Many people underestimate the power of a first impression and your CV needs to create a very positive first impression so that it will open the door for an interview. Make sure your CV is well organised and well laid out. Ensure that it has a logical flow and put the most important information at the beginning. Make sure that nothing contradicts any earlier statements you have included. If you claim to be an organised an individual person, a higgledy-piggledy CV will show you to be the opposite.

Use good document layout.

Make your CV easy to read and visually inviting. Use standard margins (one inch at the top and bottom, one and a quarter inch on the sides) and cram too much information on to the page - it looks off-putting.

Include some ‘white space’ between sections and keep the use if colour to a minimum.

Use a simple, ‘business’ font like Times New Roman or Arial and use bullet points to reduce clutter and communicate the key points quickly and easily.

Be honest.

We all want to put ourselves in the best possible light on our CVs but there is a world of difference between making the most of your experience and exaggerating or falsifying it. An untruthful CV is very obvious to a recruiter or employer. It may get you to interview stage but you will be quickly found out.

Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct.

Use a spellcheck on your CV and ensure that the grammar is also correct. An employer is likely to send your CV straight to the shredder if it contains spelling mistakes. It’s also worth letting someone else proofread it for you to make sure it is clear.

The Dos

  • Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. Make sure that your personal profile at the beginning earmarks you as the kind of candidate that is absolutely suited to the position.
  • Spell check your CV.
  • Make sure your CV is well presented. Lasting first impressions are generated by the appearance of your CV.
  • Be concise and clear.
  • Look on your CV as a marketing brochure about yourself. You need to sell your skills and abilities.
  • Make your CV interesting so it will awaken employers’ interest and curiosity.
  • Be positive. Use positive ‘power words’ such as "developed," "managed," and "designed" to make your accomplishments really stand out. Remember you have to sell yourself.
  • Include relevant buzz words and concepts.

The Don’ts

  • Lie on your CV.
  • Clutter your CV with irrelevant details like early summer jobs and primary school.
  • Don’t attach references - these can be provided later.
  • Litter your CV with cliches. Tired old business jargon will drag down your CV.
  • Rush your CV. Take time to polish it and keep editing over and over again.
  • Don’t include your salary expectations.
  • Don’t include your political affiliations.

Remember your CV is your first selling point. You need to market yourself and ensure that it gives a clear, accurate picture of your skills and experience. Keep your CV clear, concise and above all relevant to the types of jobs you are applying for. A good CV will open the door to an interview.

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