GUIDE FOR PREPARING A WINNING ‘CV’
The main aim of your Curriculum- Vitae (CV) is to get you an interview. simple as that curriculum vitae, means a brief account of one’s life or career. The key word is brief! Remember that what you leave out your CV is just as important as what you put in.
Your CV is the first chance you have to impress a potential employer. More importantly, it is only part of the job selection process over which you have 100 percent control, you can’t control who gets interviewed; you can’t control the interview; but you can control how you look on your CV.
Your curriculum vitae should be error free, impeccably neat and easy to read. Once these are achieved, you are already miles ahead of most job hunters.
The Look of your CV
- Use high-quality white or cream A4 paper
- Confine it to 2 or 3 pages
- Don’t print on both sides as companies often photocopy or fax your CV and this makes it awkward
- Use wide margins and plenty of white space
- Use capitals sparingly but consistency
- Spelling error attracts negative attention! Use a dictionary
- Make sure your CV meets the requirements set out in the job advertisement.
The covering letter is a requirement and it is compulsory to write one. It is packaging for your CV. If your covering letter does not command attention i.e. not attractive, then why should they read, your CV?
The letter should be typed, well written and directed to a real person. Dear Sir or Madam is a sign of Laziness. Find out who the potential decision – maker is and write to that person.
Work Experience and Achievements
This is where you list:
- What you did
- who you did it for
- When you did it
What you did is the most important information, so make sure your job titles stand out on the page. Employers know that the best predictor of future performance is your past performance, so emphasize your achievements. When listing them, remember that a ‘responsibility’ differs from an ‘achievement’.
Tell the truth and nothing but the truth
If you cannot justify every part of your CV, you will instantly lose your credibility. If you lie about anything in your CV, you may be exposed and lose out on the job.
You have right to leave out unpleasant information. Potential employers eat what you feed them. ‘Tell the truth’ the appropriate items you have listed. You should leave out the following from your CV.
- Political affiliations
- Your health
- Exams you’ve failed
- Current or anticipated salary and benefits
- Life-threatening interests
Listing of outside interest
Some do, others don’t. If you do, list them at the end, following work experience and achievements. Remember that what you do in your free time tells a potential employer a lot about you, your values and your intelligence. For example an interest in crosswords says you are a good problem solver. And although an interest in car racing says you are a risk – taker, it also says you may be a liability.
You can include references if you are a fresh gratitude and there is nothing else to go on. Otherwise, it is obvious that any reference you provide is bound to be flattening. Employers are more interested in your skills and suitability for the job than in a friendly word from your favourite boss. if you still want to include references put ‘References available on request’ at the end of your CV.
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