We all know how crucial it is to have the perfect CV, it is, after all, a potential employer's first introduction to you but how do you go about writing it? What details should you make sure it contains and what should you leave out? We at AllOxfordJobs want to assist you in maximising your chances of getting that superb so here are tips for making the right first impression.
We are all aware it's clear but a Curriculum Vitae (CV) should always be typed to give it the best clarity possible. It should also be well laid out. Consider how it looks on the page. There should be obvious headings and breaks between sections. A prospective employer will likely look through loads of CVs for a job so they should be able to see the pertinent information at a glance before short listing it for a more thorough read through. A inadequately laid out CV which is difficult to read will probably end up in the rubbish.
Most employers like a CV to commence with a personal statement as it allows them to see immediately what you are about. What should this contain?
Make sure you give these questions real thought before you answer them as they are likely to be questioned at interview. Here's an example of the type of thing might say:
' I am clever, hardworking and passionate about any challenges I take on. My careerto date has all been decidedly customerorientated and I have found this to be very enjoyable. I have spent the last five years in a sales environment and I find enjoyable the interaction with different types of people this brings. I feel I am intelligent and would like the chance to exploit. During my time at H J Estate Agents especially enjoyed learning lots about the procedural and legal avenues of the conveyancing process and feel that I took to it quickly. I am very much keen to take on a challenging role with the opportunity to progress and train where possible. I am also extremely IT proficient and thoroughly like using computers as part of my working life.'
The next section should be your educational history if it is especially relevant to the job for which you are applying. For example, if you have a degree in French and you are applying for a multilingual position then it is useful to state this first. However, if you feel your education is not particularly significant and you are applying on the importance of your experience then it is worth considering putting your work history first.
Your education should be stated in reverse order with the most recent education received at the beginning. It is not necessary to go into extensive detail here, simply state where you studied and what grades you achieved. It is not vital to put the dates of study if you do not wish to as, under the Age Discrimination Law, you are not obliged to make any reference to your age and including dates from which your age may be discerned. Remember to include information of any other certificates you may have be awarded which may be relevant to the position.
Like education, it is important that this is laid out in reverse order, the most recent or current employment first. You should give the name of the company and the period of time you worked for them (this does not have to be dates but you should put for how much time you were employed in that role). It is also useful to state where the employer was based, e.g. Oxford. You should also clearly state what your job title was. Underneath explain briefly what your job role was and your main tasks. This should assist a perspective employer decide whether your experience makes you suitable for their vacancy. Try to be succinct and keep it to only relevant information.
It is not a good idea to put your salary for each role undertaken on your CV as this can cause an employer to make assumptions about your suitability for a position and make negotiating your salary, where applicable, more difficult. The same can also be said for putting your salary expectation on your CV.
It is not uncommon for people to put a little bit of personal information, such as hobbies, on their CV. You should keep this to a minimum. You should, however, state whether you have a driving licence and whether you own your own car etc.
It is not always the case that employers like to see photos on a CV. For most roles it is not necessary to include a photo but if you would like to it ought to be passport photo sized and professional in appearance.
It is vital that you make sure all spelling and punctuation are correct. Literacy is often highly desirable to employers so use the 'Spell Check' function on your computer.
Ask a friend or contact to read through your CV. Ask them to check it looks presentable and easy to read. You should also ask them to check your spelling and grammar.
When applying for a opening you should include a covering letter. This should indicate why you are applying for this job in particular and a little bit about the experience and/or skills you have which could be important to them (avoid repeating too much from the CV itself).
Remember that it is not necessarily 'one CV fits all', it is worth spending a few moments reviewing your CV before each occasion you send it to ensure it makes the best impact for each particular opening. You may want to consider changing some information, particularly your personal statement, to suit the job description.