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CV Writing Guide

Are you in the process of applying for new job? You want to make your CV stand apart from the hundreds of others a company receives for a position. This article is a CV writing guide to help you achieve your employment goals. It is important to create a complimentary resume pointing out your strengths and your experience in the industry. In today’s highly competitive job market, applicants must prove they are deserving of a job. If you send a quality resume to an employer and you have the experience they require you should receive a call requesting an interview.

Before You Get Started

You want to make a good first impression. A CV is where it all starts, so it needs to be putting across the right messages, with the right presentation and no mistakes. It is important to realise that you must grab your reader’s attention, making sure you are specific and detailed when writing. Make sure your biggest strengths stand out and are completely clear upon perusal. The most important thing is to take your time over your CV – make sure it’s the best it can be.

  1. Getting Started – Start with the obvious information, your name. It should be prominently at the top of the page. Your CV should detail your contact information and location. In modern CVs it is not necessary to include your date of birth, country of origin, ethnicity, or religion. Under your personal information, you should write a clear, succinct summary of your skills that make you the best candidate for the job you are applying for. This summary can be as short as a paragraph. Its purpose is to catch the attention of the reader, so make sure you really sell yourself and show why he or she should continue reading. A good tip for writing the best summary is to put yourself in the employer’s shoes. By pretending you do not know anything except what is in your summary, you will have a good idea of what the employer will be thinking as he or she reads it.
  2. Structure – Next, you should start discussing your work experience. Be very detailed and descriptive. Include the dates you were employed, your role and responsibilities, and anything else you think is relevant and makes you standout. Try not to make it sound like you have simply copied a job description; describe exactly what you did, and what the positive outcome was.   If you received promotions within a job, state each job title and the duties that went along with each one. Discuss any training or certification you have received that increases your credibility and that are relevant to the position that you are applying for. Then write a few paragraphs to tell your employer about yourself. Include hobbies, positive personality traits, interests and so on. Make sure to give your potential employer a good picture of who you are.
  3. Listing duties instead of achievements – Make sure that you sell yourself and be truthful in the information you are giving.  If you manage to secure an interview the interviewer will be referring to what you have stated in your CV.  Be prepared to justify reasons for switching jobs because that is something employers ask if you make it to the interview.
  4. Typing errors, poor spelling and grammar – Always make sure that you spell check and that your grammar is correct. A CV with these mistakes in it can make it seem like you haven’t put the time in, or you don’t think details are important.  Attention to detail when creating your first impression to a potential employer is crucial. A tidy, mistake-free CV creates the impression that you are professional, thorough and care how you come across.
  5. Not tailoring your CV – Sending out the same CV to hundreds of employers can usually be recognised, as they can sound general and unfocused.  If you are generally interested in the job you are applying for then make sure your CV is tailored to the specific job and company you are applying to.  Consider what the main skills are that the employer might be looking for and make sure you highlight your relevant experience.
  6. Visually unappealing and difficult to read – In an effort to include as much information in as possible, some candidates’ CVs can look cluttered, with long paragraphs of dense text and very little white space. This can make the CV very hard to read. Use bullet pointed lists and short sentences to make it easier for recruiters to scan for key points, but remember not to leave out any information that is going to sell yourself and convince the recruiter that you’re a potential match for the role.
  7. Trying to make your CV stand out – It’s a good idea, but another pitfall is trying a little too hard, such as printing it on bright green paper or over a picture. Don’t be tempted to mix up your fonts in an effort to create variety and interest – it can look messy and disorganised. Use one font, but consider the use of bold or underlining for headings.
  8. Too long or too short – There is no set length for a CV but don’t just pad your CV out with information that is not relevant or that can distract the recruiter from what your key skills are.  If you are going to have a detailed CV that goes back a long way into your work history, make sure the information is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Think carefully about whether that Saturday job you had 20 years ago is still relevant. Your goal should be to make your CV appealing and easy.

We suggest you cover the following:

  1. Profile
  2. Academic background
  3. Technical skills matrix (Where applicable)
  4. Career history
  5. Certifications/ Training
  6. Interests
  7. References

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