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Help and Advice - Preparing Your CV

Think about your skills’ competencies, qualifications and experience. What are your unique selling points and strengths? If you are replying to a specific job advertisement, review what key words and tasks were used in the advert. Use these words in your CV if they apply to you.

Helpful Hints
Remember that you want your CV to be read and responded to. Include enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader. Three pages maximum is preferred, but one page is even better. Every word must contribute to the overall message - so keep it brief and make sure that the content is relevant to the job you are applying for.

Ensure that your CV is well structured and well laid out; this gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review. A CV that is hard to read is often put aside and forgotten. When writing the CV remember self-opinion is best avoided. Aim to include factual information or objective evidence and remember to focus on the benefits of your achievements.

Pay close attention to instructions in advertisements (e.g.: spelling of the contact’s name). Always check your spelling and grammar. Use white paper, not coloured, as it does not photocopy or fax well, and avoid fancy fonts. If you plan to e-mail your CV, you'll get a much better result with clean fonts and a simple layout.

The First Page
This should contain your personal details, your home address and contact details located right at the top, followed by a brief summary of educational credentials and qualifications. An overview statement should be included covering your strengths in the relevant area, skills and experience, and the type of position you are seeking.

Pages Two/Three
Here you should highlight your employment history. Present this in reverse chronological order (i.e. last job first). If you have worked for only one company, break it down with an entry for each position or projects dealt with. For each position held, briefly describe your responsibilities and work undertaken.

Do include achievements, not just regular tasks. If you can, quantify them in sales, financial or production terms. Each professional position that you've had must include at least one statement of accomplishment. For current and recent positions, you may want to have several bulleted items under the job that list your most significant experiences.

List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines. Any voluntary, charity or external posts you hold are worth including (e.g.: school governor). Always include any languages, courses or training you may have done, or any professional memberships.

It is recommended that two referees be given – including the referees’ official titles, addresses and telephone numbers.

The 'Covering' Letter
CV’s are seldom used alone, they should always be introduced by a letter or a telephone call. Remember, recruitment consultants and employers receive hundreds of CVs and an interesting introductory letter can make yours stand out. The letter should encourage the CV to be read.

Your letter can be used to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you from including in the CV (i.e. to highlight your key strengths to a particular job). An introductory letter can save you from having to rewrite the CV each time you want to target your application to a specific advertisement or sector.

Nevertheless keep your CV up-to-date. Using an out of date CV gives a bad impression and may exclude you from consideration.

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