The purpose of your CV is to promote you. It must highlight your skills and achievements across your experience to date. You should tailor your CV to each approach. Identify the skills and experience required for the role and prioritise your complimentary experience, using keywords from the job description.
Your CV should be relevant, interesting and concise, using strong action verbs such as achieved, developed, monitored and succeeded. The presentation should be clean and consistent, across a maximum of two sides of A4. Use a standard font such as Arial with a minimum point size of 10. Use headings and sections, capitals and/or bold for emphasis, and bullet points for multiple responsibilities and/or achievements.
Use a logical structure, headed up with your name and contact details. We suggest the following sections, using reverse chronological order throughout.
This punchy, two or three line paragraph should encompass how you position yourself, the extent of your experience, your key skills and your career objective. Sell yourself.
Within this section list all roles, including placements and voluntary work where appropriate, leave no gaps. For each role detail the employer, your title and the dates of employment. Describe the purpose of the role and your responsibilities, the actions you took, the results you achieved and the skills you used.
Work through your skills and achievements relating to:
- Financial management – have you increased profitability?
- Time management – did you save time or increase efficiency?
- Organisation – are you good at multi-tasking and managing projects?
- Communication – are you a good presenter, do you have good writing skills?
- Innovation – have you solved problems, made improvements or come up with new ideas?
- Opportunities – have you identified opportunities or generated business?
- Client management – are you good at building relationships and managing clients’ expectations?
- Staff management – do you have good leadership skills or responsibility for a team?
- Teamwork – do you work well in a team?
- Adaptability – can you successfully adapt to change?
Detail your educational and professional qualifications, stating grades and dates. Any additional professional development courses and workshops you have attended. And your IT and language skills.
Include genuine interests that help demonstrate your skills and give you personality. For instance team sports and volunteering for a cause that you are passionate about. Your future boss may share your passion!
Either simply state that ‘references are available on request’ or provide the contact details of two professional referees. They should be from your two most recent, relevant positions.