CVs are a document designed to get you an interview for a role. To achieve this CVs must effectively sell your skills, abilities and achievements in addition to matching you to the role applied for. The aim is to stand out from the crowd.
Questions employers will ask themselves when looking at your CV include:
- Do you match their criteria?
- What do you have to offer them?
- Do you have the skills and abilities for the role?
- Can you develop in the role (i.e. can you acquire new skills quickly)?
- Can they work harmoniously with you?
A good CV will adhere to the following criteria:
- It will be easy to read and concise
- Correct spelling, grammar and punctuation – get it checked by someone!
- It must show clear relevance to the skills needed by an organisation
- Achievements must be clear and linked to the required skills for a role, not just the grade you got for your degree
Ensuring a CV looks professional is vital.
As a guide the following details should be adhered to:
- Length – vary rarely longer than 2 pages, although this varies by industry and country
- Text – no smaller than size 10 font and in a standard font (Arial, Times, Verdana or similar)
- No colour or over-the-top formatting. However, a little formatting like bullet points is useful for breaking up the text
- The first 1/3 of the document is the most important as an opinion will usually be made by the reader as this stage as they work through the CV.
- A bit about yourself and what you offer the potential employer
- What you know about the organisation and/or role
- The ‘match’ – what value you will add to the organisation/department.
If the role does not specify that a covering letter is required, it is a good idea to include a short personal profile at the top of your CV (no more than a paragraph or 3-4 bullet points). This is just a short summary of yourself and what you offer.