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Top Tips for Writing your CV/Resume

One of the most fundamental and important aspect of job searching is the writing of what most Europeans refer to as a CV, or resume as they are generally referred to in the United States. Whilst recognising that in the US a CV and a resume are different, you can assume for the purposes of this article it means the same.

Having a good CV or resume is still pretty much a necessity for a job search. It is possible that at some point in the near future CVs/resumes will become a things of the past. Everyone will have an online profile and it will be here that the potential employer takes their first view of your background skills and achievements. We are not quite there yet, so we will outline a methodology for the formulation of a good quality CV/resume.

If your CV/resume is one of your main sales tools and is often the first thing a potential employer sees of you, it is therefore essential that you ensure you are making the right first impression. It ideally conveys a considerable amount of information in as concise a way as possible; enabling the employer to have an understanding of your suitability from their perspective. It should therefore be clearly focused on your abilities, skills and particularly achievements, thereby maximising the positive message you want to promote .

It is perhaps a regrettable aspect of the current employment market place that many employers use automated systems to rule-in/rule-out candidates using key words. We would rather this were not the case, but for many jobs, particularly in large companies, this is increasingly used. It is therefore essential to consider this when writing your CV; i.e. that it may be scanned for specific words, and if these are not within the text you might well be overlooked; “The Computer Says No” is an irritating way to miss out on an opportunity!

There are strong correlations between writing your CV and your LinkedIn profile , and it may be advisable to do them in parallel. You should certainly ensure that there are no discrepancies between the two.

The following areas are therefore recommended:

Contact details, Job objective/profile, Key Accomplishments, Education and professional memberships, Technical skills, Interests, Language skills plus;

Job History: This should be in reverse chronological order (current job first). Each job held should include company name (and possibly a web address), job title, and dates of employment including the month of each year. Include a brief description of the responsibilities of each job, major achievements and evidence of using transferable skills e.g. speaking effectively, negotiating, motivating.

References: This section should only include a statement saying references are available upon request. Do not include the names of your referees.

Publications: If you are applying for a job in the academic or scientific field then we recommend including a list of your publications on a separate page if relevant to the position, or include a statement saying a publication list is available upon request.

Essential tips!

  • Check the appearance, layout, grammar and spelling of your CV before sending it anywhere.

  • Avoid using too much formatting. CVs can be prepared as a PDF but some companies (particularly recruitment companies) use databases that only support Word. Excessive use of tables and colours is not recommended

  • Try to keep your document to two pages and absolutely no more than three. This can be achieved by utilising the entire width of the page. Keep skill set summaries brief, thereby avoiding a repetition of information in your job history

It may be useful to ask a trusted friend to proof-read your document. A properly presented CV suggests an individual who takes their work seriously and has a good attention to detail. A badly presented document does, of course, infer the opposite! In summary, conciseness, honesty and clear focus on achievements are the three things you should focus on.

Good luck in your job search!!

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