How to write a good CV

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In this post I am going to discuss applying for jobs and how to produce a good CV, which will increase your chances of being invited to interview.  I will discuss my own experiences as examples of things you might want to try.  I will also include links to web pages and other useful resources.

When applying for any job always remember you are selling your skills and knowledge for money and the one thing that highlights how well you do that is an update and correctly formatted CV or Resumè. If this isn’t laid out correctly then your chances of being invited for Interview are significantly reduced.

Laying Out Your CV / Resume (Page1)

How you layout your CV is important, because the person reviewing it will most likely not have time to read it in detail, which means you to need to:
1. Make sure that your CV immediately highlights why you believe your suitable for the job and should be offered an interview.
2. Make sure your CV is ONLY two pages long.

Having done that put your:

  • full name (including middle names)
  • full address
  • personal email address
  • telephone number (mobile / cell is best)

This information is obvious but you’d be surprised how many people forget to supply it.  I am now going to list the headings used in my CV along with an explanation as to information they should include and why they are used:

Professional Profile – In the below figures you have the opportunity to sell your skills for the job you are applying for.  In order to be as effective as possible your professional profile should be around 100 words long, use words (such as ones shown below in red) that positively describe your attitude to work.

ProProfile

Key Skills and Competences – Below are the keys skills and competences from my CV, because I work in the IT industry I list first, because these are the skills I want my potentially new employer to see first.

KeySkills&Competencies

Not all of these skill areas show above maybe applicable to the kind of job you’re applying for.  But as mentioned previously the area, which is most applicable to the job you are applying for should be the shown first.  In order to provide clarity to the reader all the skills you decide to include in this section of your CV should be clearly defined by their own sub-header.

Laying Out Your CV / Resume (Page 2)

On page two of your CV / Resume you need to list your employment history, your qualifications and any other additional information. The information in this section has to be as accurate as possible and it is laid out and the order in which the information appears is just as important as it was on page one.

Layout for Employment History

This is how I have laid out my employment history.

Employment HistoryAs you can see the name of the employer, job title and employment dates are clearly displayed.  The paragraph underneath needs to be short, whilst at the same time clearly describing the duties performed as part of the role.  When listing your employment history make sure that you put the most recent one first

Layout for Qualifications sections

When laying out your qualifications as part of your CV I adopt this layout

Qualifications

All of the information is listed in chronological order and in reality if you chose a similar layout to what is shown above you would also include the place where you obtained each qualification.  As you can see that after starting my studies at University I decided to transfer to a different course, which is included in my list of qualifications, because a potential employer might ask you why you chose to transfer, but more if you chose not to include the fact that you changed course an employer may notice the gap and ask you were doing during particular time period.

When I got asked why I transferred from a BSc Computing to BSc Business Software Development this was the answer I gave.

“This reason I chose to transfer is because the BSc Computing was too much like studying a computer science degree and I knew that I wanted to study something which would give exposure a wide range of different topics and technologies”

We’re almost there, all you need to do now is list any additional courses and information an employer might want to know and I will also discuss references.  An example of a course information that would be considered additional and not pivotal to the job, but useful would be things like the following:

  • Disclosing that you hold a Full driving licence
  • Courses such as First Aid
  • Professional development qualifications

You do not need to put down references unless people specifically ask for them, but always make sure that you have people available to act as references for you and that you have asked if they would mind acting as reference for you.  Good people to have as referees are:

  1. Previous boss / line manager
  2. Lecturer / teacher (if you looking to go straight from education to employment)

So that’s it you now have a full-fledged CV, which hopefully includes all of the necessary information.  But before I conclude let me just offer you some extra advice and tips:

  • Get somebody to check your CV, particularly if they have experience of hiring people and even better if they work in the same industry you’re looking to work in.
  • Tailor your CV to each job you decide to apply for.

I hope you find the information in the post helpful, informative and results in your landing an interview.  If you already have an interview lined up check out my How to prepare for an interview post.  In the meantime though happy reading.

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