Your CV and how to approach it

If you are going to apply in writing or online the first thing a potential employer will see in many cases is your curriculum vitae (CV). As the saying goes: “you only get one chance to make a first impression” and that is certainly true of a CV. Make sure you devote plenty of attention to it.

What needs to go in your CV?

Your CV is your calling card. It is known that many employers make an initial selection on that basis. So make sure that there are no mistakes or omissions, and that it is appropriate to the job for which you are applying. Be sure to include the following in your curriculum vitae:

  • A summary. In a few sentences describe who you are, what your ambitions are, and what you are good at.
  • Your personal details (name, address, date of birth, etc.)
  • Your education. Only mention courses of study that are relevant to the job. If you wish to become a bookkeeper and you have done a course in fretwork, that won’t be particularly important to your potential employer.
  • Your work experience. Describe where you have worked over the last five to ten years. You can supplement this with previous jobs if they are relevant to the job for which you are applying.
  • A photo. Don’t use a dull passport photo. Instead, invest in a personal and professional photo. If you have a professional CV you will attract attention in that big pile on the desk of your new boss.
  • If you like, you can add your hobbies, social positions and voluntary work. This is your chance to let some of your personality and motivation shine through.

A few more tips

  • Keep it brief. A curriculum vitae should be no longer than two pages. Put yourself in the position of the person who has to appraise it. Would you make it to the end of a long epistle?
  • You should re-draft your CV for each application. No two jobs are the same, just as no two bosses are the same. So, in your CV, pay extra attention to precisely those things that may bring success on that particular occasion.
  • Stand out! Use colour, or an eye-catching typeface; be creative in the way you draft your CV so that you stand out. Be careful not to overdo it, though. Consider whether your CV is actually appropriate to your position.
  • Do things differently. Is there anything to say you have to submit your application on paper? Some people get a professional video made, and introduce themselves that way. That comes across as very personal, and gives your employer a chance to get to know you a little bit before you come for interview. That will stand you in very good stead.

Your CV and applying online

Increasingly, job applications have to be submitted online, with an accompanying CV. An online CV gives you an opportunity to stand out that bit more. For example, you can incorporate video shorts or slide presentations of your earlier work. You can include links, for example to your own website, or sites of your previous employers. The possibilities are nearly endless. Don’t forget to take a look at the other tips from Robert Half, too.



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