CV Hints & Tips

Your CV is one of the most important documents you will ever write. It is a personal document which will market your skills to potential employers. The aim of a CV is to convince an employer that they should invite you for an interview because you have the skills, experience and personality required for the job role advertised. The reality is that you probably have less than 30 seconds to make an impression with your CV so you need to ensure you’re succinct and to the point. Here are some simple guidelines that will help make your CV stand out:

Layout

Headings should be clear and accurate. Use white spaces and bullet points to help the prospective employer find all the key areas of your CV easily. Do not use borders, patterns, extravagant fonts or photographs.

Length

The two-page Curriculum Vitae, traditionally seen as the staple length for job-seekers looking to impress, appears to have fallen out of favour with HR officers, line managers and recruiters.

Despite being the conventional wisdom among CV advice services, ending a CV before it runs onto a third page is not endorsed by the majority of professionals who vet and hire IT candidates.

Grammar

There should be no spelling mistakes, typos or bad grammar. Run your document through spell and grammar checks, then get a trusted third party to proof read.

Content

Take time to think about the content of your CV. Be concise and honest. Personal details full name, address, email address, daytime/ evening and mobile numbers and nationality. Your nationality is vital to establish whether you are likely to need a work permit.

Summary

This will frame the reader’s impression of you as it is the first thing they will read. It should be a brief outline of your professional status with career highlights and ambitions, no more than 3 or 4 lines in length

Education

Put your schooling in reverse chronological order. List your qualifications, grades, where and when they where achieved. For those with degrees and above, O Level/ GCSE subjects are immaterial but the number should be listed.

Professional Qualifications

Professional qualifications, memberships of professional bodies’ etc. should be included.

Training

List any appropriate training courses you have taken and any qualifications resulting from them.

Employment History

List in reverse chronological order with most recent position first. Your CV should focus on your last two positions and your responsibilities and achievements in them. Home in on concise and specific descriptions of skills but leave out IT literacy for a separate section. Try to quantify your achievements. Concrete facts come across much better in CVs than generalisations.

IT Literacy

You should include all operating systems, programming languages, platforms and software languages you are familiar with, and the depth of expertise that you have in each.

Interests and achievements

Include a brief list of your main hobbies and interests including any leadership or team experience outside of work. If you have language skills include fluency level.

References

By simply stating ‘available on request’ you can save yourself space for other sections of your CV.

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