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Writing a good CV

Your CV will look far more attractive if you can convince the employers that you have the qualities they require. Your CV could be your ticket to an interview.

Think about what particular employers want, and how you will be an asset to their company. On average an employer spends two minutes reading a CV, so avoid long detailed paragraphs. The employer may only read the first page, or even the first few paragraphs to get a feeling of who you are and what you can do for them. This means that the most important information should at the top of your CV.

Make your CV clear, with a simple yet easy to follow layout, showing all the important facts about your skills, employment history and education. You should target your CV at every specific job you apply for. Layout Guidelines (up to 2 A4 pages of attractively presented information is standard):

1. The first thing is the document title, Curriculum Vitae, followed by your name. This should be in bold with a lager font, but not too big.

2. Your address, contact details should be neatly presented, with date of birth, nationality and marital status also possible here.

3. Brief Personal Profile: This will be about 3 to 4 lines of text giving a brief overview of your key skills and attributes, and perhaps your objective regarding such a position. Be concise, try to appear interesting and professional to the reader. It will encourage them to read on.

4. Work experience (employment history) starting with your current or most recent job first, then go backwards through your career. State the company name, job title and the period you worked there. Begin by listing your duties and responsibilities. Be specific and detail only what is relevant to the new position (up to 5 or 6 duties). List specific achievements such as finishing a job/project ahead of schedule, or learning a new skill. List any industry training and qualifications you gained while in that employment. Employers like to see employees who learn and respect new skills. If you are a graduate, you should list some work experience. This can show that you have worked in a company and can be a team player.

5. Education: Briefly list your school qualifications, college certificate/diploma and university degree giving dates, location and exam results. Again start with your highest level or most recent training first, then go backwards through your education.

6. Additional skills: List your important everyday skills such as some IT skills, programs used, professional skills, languages. Perhaps provide some evidence of where you have used them.

7. Interests: Employers are usually more interested in activities which require you to show team commitment or personal initiative and drive.

8. References/Referees: Write 'References available on request' if you prefer that the employer asks your permission before writing or ringing them up. Referees can be personal or professional, though professional referees are much better.

9. Do not expect to produce a great looking CV at your first attempt. You may need to make a few drafts. Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. Make sure the font and style is the same throughout keeping it consistent. Microsoft Word contains a variety of CV templates that ensure details are presented clearly and effectively. Show your CV to someone whose advice you trust and listen to what they have to say. Welcome constructive criticism. Print your CV using a laser printer on good quality paper. When sending CVs via email, it's important to include them as attachments rather than in the body of the email.

10. Now that you've created a good CV, you need an equally good quality covering letter to convince the employer to look closely at your CV.
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