What is a CV?
How should you write a CV? What is its purpose?
Creating a winning CV is an important first step to advancing your career. The look of the CV is important. Go for plain white or cream, good quality, A4 paper. Avoid all these: gimmicks, photocopies, spelling and grammatical mistakes, alterations and changes. Never cross out or whiteout a mistake – always print off a clean copy.
What is a CV?
It's simply one that gets you an interview for the job you want. This brief general guide will help you to put together your best CV, putting the most important information first and bearing in mind the three main aims: to attract attention, create a good impression and present your relevant skills and qualities clearly and concisely. Of course, different types of jobs require different styles of CV but regardless of the industry sector in which you work, there are a number of features common to all good CVs.
The aim of a CV
As the applicant, your aim is to clearly show that you are the right person for the job, so your CV should demonstrate that you have:
- The specific skills needed for the job
- The right sort of experience
- The right personal qualities
- An understanding of the specific requirements of the job.
- But you must also keep it simple. It should be:
- Short and concise – ideally no more than two A4 pages
- Clear – typewritten and laid out with wide margins, section headings and
- Information in logical order
- Relevant – address the employer's main question: can you do the job?
Employers are looking for people who can increase; profits, product turnover, sales, efficiency and market opportunities. Employers are looking for people who can decrease; staff turnover, risks, time taken, potential problems, costs and waste. Employers are looking for people who can improve;competitive advantage, appearance and / or marketability, organisation, information flow, staff performance, and teamwork.
Choosing your words
Take care with the language you use, because words convey more than their literal meaning. This is easy to do when describing yourself but harder when describing your achievements.
When you have written your CV:
Check the following points:
- Is the layout clear?
- Do the relevant points stand out?
- Is the language clear and understandable?
- Are your skills and achievements emphasised?
- Can the employer see the key points at a glance, or does the information have to be searched for and guessed at?
- Is the document free of qualifying words such as fairly, usually and hopefully?
- Is it well presented, smart and professional looking?
CV looking good? Time to Search jobs »
REED has created this career information from Readymade CVs by Lynn Williams, advice and sample CVs for every type of job. The book is published by Kogan Page and is available from all good bookshops.
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