Create a winning CV

Writing a CV can be a challenge to ensure you include the most appropriate and relevant information. Some employers may only spend a few seconds scanning each CV before sticking it in the yes or no pile. Harsh but true!

First impressions do count. How you present yourself through your CV is critical to whether or not you will be selected for interview. Below are some key pointers to help you through the process.

Format
Keep it short, sharp and to the point. Keep it to a maximum of two sides of A4. Choose a simple, clear font and pitch and stick with it throughout.

Personal statement
Your CV should lead with a concise overview of why your skills and experience make you the best person for the job.

Tailor it
Your CV should be tailored to the specific job for which you are applying. Take the time to change your CV for each role to emphasise the relevant skills and experience. Research the company and use the job advert and/or description to work out exactly what skills you should point out to the employer.

Judge a book by its title
Your CV should have your name in bold and clearly laid out at the top of the document. You do not need to write CV or Curriculum Vitae at the top, you want them to remember your name.

Personal Details
Make it easy for an employer to contact you by setting out clearly your name, address, telephone numbers and email address.

Current and previous employment
Your current or last employment should always be at the top of your employment history with the previous employment in reverse chronological order with location, position and employment dates. Provide a brief summary of your responsibilities and any notable experience gained (again relating to the position for which you are applying).

Education
List all of your educational achievements at secondary, higher and further education levels. Provide place of study, dates attended, grades gained in reverse chronological order (the most recent first)

Don’t leave gaps
Leaving obvious gaps immediately raises suspicion and/or curiosity. If you have been travelling, having a ‘gap’ year, raising a family, unemployed, volunteering make sure these are positively explained in the relevant chronological timeline.

Interests and hobbies
Again, keep it brief, but give the potential employer a fuller picture about who you are by listing key hobbies and interests such as volunteering, army cadets, sports, and creative arts. If you have a hobby relevant to the job for which you are applying then highlight this, an IT Developer may enjoy coding/programming as a past time. 100% relevant

References
It’s not necessary to list these on your CV but make it clear that they are ‘available on request’.

Make it search engine friendly
If you are uploading your CV to a jobsite, key words are very important. Job titles and buzzwords will help a search engine pick out your CV and put it to the top if the pile. If you are not sure, have a search online and see what words are most commonly mentioned when you input the job title.

Edit and Polish
Finally, go back through what you have prepared and make sure there are no spelling mistakes, the grammar and punctuation are correct and you have used upper and lower case appropriately. If you are unsure use the spell checker but remember it’s not infallible. As an additional check ask someone else to read it on your behalf and provide feedback. Then go through it one more time to give it a final polish.