How to write a great CV

How to write a great CV

Read some tips on how to prepare an effective CV.

Show employers why they should hire you

Think of your CV as a marketing tool – and the product is you!

Hiring staff is an important commercial and financial consideration for employers. Businesses need to benefit from hiring you. Your task is to show how you can contribute.

Your contribution (via your skills, knowledge and personal qualities) should be evident throughout your application. This includes your cover letter, CV, application form and job interview.

Employers tell us that when they recruit staff they look for a package of the qualifications, experience, skills and personal qualities they need to do the job. Your job application should highlight what you have to offer in each of these areas.

Focus on what you can do, relevant to the employer’s requirements

  • Research each employer and their field carefully: refer to the job advert, job description, company website etc. Find out what the employer is looking for. This could include qualifications, experience and skills.
  • Look for what the firm values.
  • Your skills are what you can do. Consider adding a skills section to your CV.
  • Employer requirements vary: your application must also. Each application (CV, cover letter and application form) must be targeted for each job.

Show your skills in your CV

  • Give evidence of your skills (ie, examples).
  • Refer to actual, relevant experience.
  • Choose action words carefully to provide clear information to the employer.
  • Emphasise your achievements.
  • For more information, attend Career Development and Employment Services workshops
  • To increase your chances of success, customise your CV to each job you apply for.
  • Closely consider the job advertisement and/or job description, and using your CV and your cover letter, show the employer how well you match what they are looking for by marketing your skills, experience, qualifications and personal qualities.

Preparing your CV

  • Different employers may have different preferences.
  • There are a variety of ways to make it work well for you.

Some general principles to follow

  • Keep it concise: a total of 2-4 pages is optimum.
  • Use an easy to read font, such as 10-12 point Arial.
  • Use plain white paper (this is easy to photocopy).
  • Put staple/paperclip on top left corner (this makes photocopying easier).
  • Use a consistent layout throughout the document.
  • Make sure your contact details are easy to find and read.
  • Make sure your spelling and grammar are accurate (this shows attention to detail).
  • Avoid using abbreviations and jargon (these can be misinterpreted).
  • Use action words to describe skills eg, supervised, developed, organised.
  • Make sure the most important information is in a prominent position (easy to find).
  • Include points of difference to make yourself stand out (mention awards and scholarships you have received, and any positions of responsibility you have held).
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