The CV workshop

CV's – Key points to remember

In the past you most people didn't need a CV. You turned up for interview and the manager relied on their own judgement. Nowadays that's not the case. Many large companies have a Human Resources department, and will want to sift through CVs first. Small companies will want to do the same, as they will not have time to speak to dozens, if not hundreds of applicants. In either case, the person viewing your CV is the first hurdle to get past

Do NOT send your CV without a short covering letter. The person who opens your may not know which person or department it is aimed at

Firstly, no more then two pages. Nobody has time to read extensive ones so keep it brief and accurate.

  • Tailor your CV to meet the job – give more emphasis to things the employer wants to know
  • Use a font that photocopies well, like Ariel. A manager may decide that you are not suitable for her department but fax or copy it for another manager.
  • SPELL CHECK it will be assumed you aren't familiar with IT if you don't spell check your CV, or you couldn't be bothered!
  • Your name appears at the top, followed by your address. Put your mobile number down as well as your house phone, then your email. You want to be contacted!
  • If your email is humorous, (i.e. bootylicious@hotmail.com etc) get another one; you want to be taken seriously. Also it may offend someone or give a false impression, but don't forget to check it.
  • Your personal profile is usually next, it describes you as a person and should be no more then 6-8 lines keep it short
  • Key skills are next, no more then six, “excellent communicator and team worker” is a good one, but think what an employer would like to see
  • Do not put your two referees' details down, just state ‘references available on request'. Some managers may phone them up just to get a feel of you before considering you. You do not want to get your referees annoyed or fed up with frivolous phone calls.
  • Your employment history should go back at least ten years, with any gaps in employment explained.
  • Also give a good reason as to why you left each job. Imagine if you get made redundant three times but make no mention of it; it looks like you can't hold a job!
  • Make sure your jobs and qualifications are in chronological order, with the most recent first
  • Additional information. This is the roundup, it allows you to explain any queries which may show up in your employment history, for example giving up work for a few years to raise children
  • Know your CV!! This is essential, be prepared to discuss it, and any points raised. If you said, for example, you have cash handling and van driving experience (for example) be ready to discuss them if raised during interview

Case Studies

CV Case Study 1

We were looking for an administrator and we had a load of letters and CVs from a group of students who had just finished a business admin course. I couldn't believe it, the CVs were virtually identical, they even all played for the same football team; obviously I binned them all…

CV Case Study

the following week we had over a hundred CVs arrive, it was a nightmare. The first thing I did was give them to my secretary and get rid of all the long ones, I just didn't have time to read 3 or 4 page CVs

Download a sample CV

 
Be careful:

Many organisations that prepare them for people just use a basic template and alter it slightly to suit. The more they do for people, the more bland and ‘samey' they can be. The problem is that if you are one of a group (for example all from the same college course with a CV prepared for you) and all applying for the same job, all the CVs will be seen together at the same time,

All will look virtually identical and be ‘binned together. Get together with the rest of your class and check your CVs

   
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