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How to write a great CV

Your CV will in most cases, be the first impression a recruitment consultant or employer has of you. In a competitive market, you need a good CV to succeed in securing a job. It's the first step in the recruitment process so spend some time getting it right.

A good cover letter should always accompany your CV.

Your CV and cover letter should combine to create a picture of you and your career-to-date and illustrate why you are different from the competition! With this successfully achieved (and a bit of luck!) you will secure yourself a place on the shortlist.

CV Structure

Personal Details

Start with your personal details. Full name and contact details including all useable telephone numbers. Avoid superfluous details such as religious affiliation, children's names etc. Include language skills, professional memberships and military service if relevant.

Education

Educational history and professional qualifications should follow, including names of institutions and dates attended. List these in reverse order, beginning with your tertiary qualifications, as they are more relevant for a potential employer. List secondary school results (these details will matter more if you have recently entered the job market, than if for example you left full time education 20 years ago). Include computer skills and any other recent training / development that is relevant to the role you are applying for.

Time spent abroad or work placements attended as part of your degree or diploma should be mentioned.

Time spent abroad or work placements attended as part of your degree or diploma should be mentioned.

Career Details / Core strengths and skills

Briefly specify what you are looking for in your next position: Required Position, Position Type (contract or permanent), Last / Current Salary, Availability and Career Objectives. Include a list of your core strengths and skills.

Work Experience

The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological CV. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with your most recent position. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis / information should be put on more recent jobs.

A functional CV can sometimes be more appropriate, for example if you have held a number of unrelated jobs. This presentation emphasises key skills that can be grouped together under suitable headings. However, career progression and the nature of jobs held can be unclear with this type of CV.

Identify the contribution you made - Rather than just stating a list of duties you had, think about ways of demonstrating success in a particular role. Mention your achievements at work and any concrete results you achieved (in measurable terms if possible). For example, rather than writing, "designed company's web site," you could say, "designed company's web site, which increased company's overall product sales by 50 percent."

Rather than writing, "designed company's web site," you could say, "designed company's web site, which increased company's overall product sales by 50 percent."

References

References can be listed or simply be 'Available on Request'.

Want to make a great impression? Make a cover letter a vital part of your personal marketing literature!
 
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