Your Curriculum Vitae is an outline of your
educational and professional history and it should give an employer enough
interesting, relevant information to get you an interview. Because of fair
employment legislation, most Northern Ireland employers use standard application
forms, but many also ask for a CV.
Your CV may be used to shortlist you for interview and
employers often refer to it during the interview and possibly again when making
a final decision - so it’s vitally important that you put the effort
in to make it work for you.
A CV should be honest and factual. It’s important
that you don’t volunteer negative information, but you also shouldn’t
leave gaps in your history because you will be asked about these at interview,
if you get that far.
Collect all relevant information about yourself before
you start. In fact, as your career progresses there will be more and more
of this, so it’s a good practice to keep a running record of things
like qualifications, jobs, training courses, and achievements. You can then
refer to this list when you’re making a career move.
While many people have one CV, it is worth spending time
on tailoring a CV to a specific job, especially if you’re serious about
getting it. Read the advertisement and person specification and make sure
that you show how you meet the criteria. A functional summary can be useful
to achieve this if the standard layout of work experience and key achievements
doesn’t cover the points well enough for you.
If they are specific in what they need (essential criteria)
it is likely that they will shortlist the applications using these criteria.
You need to be explicit that you have what they ask for or they may have to
discard your application. Remember, an employer can’t call you to interview
if you don’t give them the information they need.
A CV should not be more than two A4 pages. A longer CV
may lose the employer’s interest. Because employers get numerous applications
for each job, they will not spend very much time on each CV, so clarity and
organisation are very important in writing a CV.
Most people don’t put much time and effort into
their CV. So with some effort, you can easily make your CV stand out.
- use a good quality A4 paper
- don’t overdo the typefaces and design, less is definitely more
- be meticulous about spelling, grammar and neatness
- leave plenty of white space
- use headings, bold and italic type to help the reader navigate
- make the font size 12 points so it’s easy to read