Your CV should be clear and concise, limit it to two pages. Employers simply won’t have time to read page after page of your achievements, particularly if they are reviewing multiple C.V.s. They will probably have a method of scanning content, thus it is better to frame the narrative of your experience in short, punchy sentences.
Listed chronologically, detail school and university/college qualifications, including grades and dates. If you won any medals, prizes or distinctions, by all means put them in. Equally, if you received bursaries, scholarships or other awards, your potential employer would like to know.
If you have an extensive work history and have advanced in your career well beyond the scope of your academic or professional education, there is no need to give too many details on your educational background and it is preferable to list it after your employment history. On the other hand, if you are looking for your first job, your education will be extremely important.
State all professional qualifications and recent courses attended.
Additionally, specify your IT skills, foreign languages and any other skills of interest with your relevant level of proficiency. Be careful not to describe yourself as, for instance, “fluent in French” if you are not ready to deal with a question in French at interview.
Begin with your current/most recent position, including the name of the company and nature of the business.
State your job title and the dates you were employed. Describe your responsibilities, duties and main achievements. If you are using examples, be precise and quantify them with facts and figures. Remember, the likelihood is that your last role is what an employer is most interested in so take great care in how you structure the narrative and have it leap off the page.
Don’t leave any employment gaps. If there are gaps in your employment, make sure you have accounted for missing time. If you have switched jobs frequently, try to set out the basis for each change (such as a project coming to an end). If the gaps in your employment history are due to travelling, stress the formative nature of the travel and, unless it is a short-term role you are seeking, consider how to imply that you will not be resigning after a year to go travelling again.
Be specific. Your interests say something about your personality. Rather than simply saying “Hockey” you could expand and say that you play for a local team and you were club treasurer for the season. Be prepared to answer questions on your interests. If you have no interests, don’t pretend that you do! It is not necessary to regale your employer with the richness of your social life, merely to suggest that you are a reasonably rounded person.
There is no need to include referees on your CV, simply write ‘References available on request’. Should they be asked for, provide references to cover the previous five years.
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