Career Help

WRITING A CV

Beforehand

Your Curriculum Vitae is usually the first chance that you get to introduce yourself, portray your skills, experience, education and to make a good impression to a potential employer.

Time and effort needs to be spent on producing a CV which will hopefully result in gaining an interview and giving you an opportunity to market yourself in person.

Think about your previous roles, dates of employment and education, the lay out of the CV, your hobbies and interests and how best you can stand out from other applicants before you start writing and putting everything together.

Start also thinking of your profile section which is an individual paragraph about you and what you are looking for – acting almost like a covering letter at the beginning of your CV.

Here are some guidelines but please remember that every CV is unique to the person writing it.


Presentation

Never hand-write a CV

Try to keep it to two pages if possible

Ensure there are no spelling mistakes

It must be well presented, easy to read and visually pleasing


Order

1. Personal details

Name

Address

Contact telephone numbers

Email address

2. Personal profile

Short paragraph explaining skills and business strengths as succinctly and accurately as possible. Eg. “I am a keen, ambitious and well motivated individual working in a high profile customer service environment. I have a proactive approach and consider myself flexible and enjoy working within a team. I can work under pressure, enjoy meeting deadlines and using my own initiative.”

3. Employment History

This should start with your current/last employer and work backwards. You should provide the following information for each role:

Name of employer

Nature of business and turnover

Job title

Accurate dates of employment

Responsibilities and duties – explain where applicable in bullet points

Achievements – be specific

If you have extensive experience your early career can be described in less detail.

Do not leave gaps in employment history. If you have travelled for example put down the location and dates

4. Educational and Professional Qualifications

Put both University and School qualifications in chronological order. If you have extensive employment history, do not be too detailed about school

Eg:       Marlborough College (1976-1981)

3 A levels: Mathematics, Physics, Business Studies

8 GCSEs: 4 grade Bs 4 grade Cs (inc. Maths and English)

5. Hobbies/Interests and Achievements

This gives you the opportunity to portray something about your personality and what you do in your free time.

6. References

There is no need to write the details of your referees on the CV, simply state that references are available upon request.


Do’s & Dont's

  • DO smile and maintain good eye contact throughout
  • DO dress smartly and professionally
  • DO come prepared with a list of questions to ask
  • DO your research beforehand
  • DO always answer questions and back up with examples
  • DO make sure you know the location and arrive promptly
  • DO take a map in your car and don’t rely on sat nav
  • DO take a contact number in case you get lost
  • DO listen carefully to the questions asked
  • DON'T answer questions with just a 'yes' or 'no'
  • DON'T be the first one to bring up about salary
  • DON'T condemn your current/previous employer
  • DON'T be late
  • DON'T be over familiar
  • DON'T panic! Relax and concentrate

INTERVIEW TECHNIQUES

Preparation

First impressions are very important. You should carry out lots of research on the company web site or brochure and know the following about the organisation:

Ensure you know the exact location, time of the interview, the salary level for the role, who you are seeing, what their position is and how you pronounce their name.

You will be expected to know in detail about your current/former employer. Bring yourself up to date with any facts and figures.


Essential Dos and Dont's

  • DO keep it short
  • DO put your employment and education in chronological order
  • DO provide a covering letter stating why you would be applicable for the position
  • DO use bullet points when providing a description
  • DO highlight headings such as personal details, etc.
  • DO ensure there are no spelling mistakes
  • DON’T waffle, 35% of personnel managers cited waffle as their “pet hate”
  • DON’T write in conversational tone – use third person
  • DON’T list your school qualifications in too much detail, unless you are a fresh graduate
  • DON’T leave any career gaps – if you have spent time out, say so
  • DON’T lie
  • DON’T have too many pages – ideally everything should be condensed onto two pages
  • Who is the company owned by - private or public?
  • Is it part of a larger group?
  • Who are their main competitors?
  • What services or products do they offer?
  • What is the size of the company?
  • How long has it been established?
  • Latest news?
  • Business sector?

  • Body Language

    Do not underestimate the power of body language. The way in which you present yourself will tell an employer much more about you than your CV ever could. You should be aware of any bad habits you are prone to.

    Your handshake should be firm but not too forceful!

    Do not slouch, always maintain good posture

    Be a good listener; acknowledge comments with nods and if there is more then one person present, switch your glance between them at regular intervals.

    Try not to gesticulate as it suggests nervousness.

    Before leaving, establish what the next step will be. If you are with JR Personnel, we will act as the middle man, but if you have arranged the interview yourself, make sure you know when you can expect to hear from them and what will happen next.