Preparing a CV - a Short Guide
Last updated: 20/08/2007 16:41:47
Your CV is your own advertisement - a personal sales brochure. It is a vital document - regard it as your passport to a new career. To maximise on its impact, like any ad, it is essential that your CV is clear, concise and contains up-to-date and relevant information.
 
Most importantly, you do have some legal responsibilities when you represent yourself for a job - make sure it is an honest and accurate reflection of your educational and work achievements to date.

The CV, whose first page is shown below, is unspectacular, but an employer would welcome it.It is likely to work in favour of John Smith when he applies for a job, as it is simple in layout, easy to navigate and wastes no time in describing irrelevances. It is sharp and to the point.

CV Content and Layout
Depending upon the stage and the level you have reached in your career, the content required may vary. So there are no hard and fast rules, but above it must be easily legible, well spaced out and contain the following details:

Personal Details: Name, address, telephone numbers, date of birth (optional), marital status and nationality.
Education: Show these in reverse chronological order, dates followed by name of establishment, followed by qualifications and grades achieved. Secondary and further education only.
Career History: Put in reverse chronological order with dates, company name, type of company (inc. Franchise where relevant) and job title. Talk about the environment you worked in and include your concrete achievements in addition to your level of responsibilities, including number of staff supervised. Long paragraphs of text generally will not get read, so keep them concise and relevant.
Training Courses Attended: Give one liner of course title and dates attended together with any qualification gained ie FCA, MIME, AIRTE etc. Do not list lots of employer or manufacturer courses here – “Numerous Manufacturer courses attended” will suffice.
Hobbies and Interests: This is optional and dependent on available space. Again it should be restricted to just 2 to 3 lines.
Referees: Names and addresses of two suitable referees, recent employers or academic if you have only recently left education.

Do make it well laid out, neat, clear and easy to read.
Do pay attention to presentation. It must be a business like document.
Do avoid small fonts to get in more information. Use either 11 or 12 point typesize.
Do stick to the point. Leave out any information that is not needed to get an interview. Employers do not need to know the occupation of your partner, the names of your children, your passport or NI number, etc.
Do date each major entry under education and career history.
Do keep it to two, at most three pages.
Do explain any gaps in education and experience.

Do not try to stand out from the crowd – let your experience do that for you.
Do not use patterned or coloured paper.
Do not add your photograph - employers like to judge the person, not the body.
Do not use fancy graphic images, type styles or symbols.
Do not make jokes about any of your experience, or derogatory remarks about previous employers.
Do not email a link to your personal career web site.

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