"Striving for Excellence"

CV ADVICE

Your Name

Make your name stand out by writing this in a larger font than the rest of your CV. You can include middle names if you like.

Marital Status and Family

You do not have to include these details however, there may be circumstances where information about having a family or not could make your application more attractive to a potential employer. Working unsociable hours could be easier if you are single.

Date of Birth

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 has made age discrimination against the law. However you may include your date of birth if you wish.

Nationality

The Race Relations Act 1976 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, or nationality (including citizenship, ethnicity or national origin). As long as you are a native to the country in which you are applying or have a suitable working visa you do not need to state your nationality.

Contact Details

Don't include your work contact details. Use your own email address and make sure that your email address looks professional. Include your telephone number.

Other information

If you are applying for roles that require you to drive, then you need to let potential employers know that you have a clean licence. Any other information you include should help your application, so be sure it is something your future employer will find useful to know.

Personal Statement

The aim of your CV is to get you an interview. The average recruiter will spend only 20 to 30 seconds reviewing your CV, so it is important that you make a good impression.

Your personal statement is the opportunity to do this. The aim is to highlight your personal attributes and show why the reader should continue to read the remainder or your CV. Try to use no more that 50 words and make each sentence a key selling point. Avoid using phrases and key words that are tired and clichéd.

Potential employers will want to know what you can do for them and what you can bring to their business. The personal statement should make it clear what they need and how you can help them achieve this.

Skills

Probably the most important part of your CV to employers as they want to know what you will being to the business. You need to sell yourself and indicate your skills to illustrate how you will be a worthwhile addition to their organisation. Take time to understand what skills are required for the job to which you are applying.

There are three key skills types:

It would follow that transferable and job related skills are the best. So ensure you include those that will make you stand out.

Particularly popular skills are:

If you have used a particular computer or software system then detail it. If you have any foreign language skills then let the reader know. By illustrating a wide range of knowledge you are showing that you are a good learner and can retain information.

Previous Jobs

Most time is spent looking at your employment history. So this section needs to quickly convince the Client of your suitability.

There are different formats that can be used so show your employment history:

Chronological CV

When applying for a similar position to the one that you already have and can illustrate a gradually advancing career this CV is ideal. Include the dates that you worked with each employer together with the company name, location, job title, responsibilities and achievements. Each position should be listed in reverse order and will start with your current or most recent position.

Functional CV

If you are seeking to change careers or have been out of the workforce for a prolonged period of time this format is recommended. The focus is on your skills and experience relevant to the job rather than employment dates. Replace the traditional company, job title and date information with the name of the most important skills and experience that you have developed through paid employment, voluntary work or general experience.

This ensures all of the information regarding your experience and skills looks recent and keeps an employer's attention on your attributes. You will also need to briefly list the positions you have held and dates, but there is no need to go into great detail.

Combination CV

Redundancy and job-hopping have become commonplace, however, brief employment dates will still be seen as a warning signal for potential employers and could harm your chances of securing a job. You can counter this by dividing and combining your employment history. Group your different roles and work out which give you the skills relevant to the job you’re applying for. Place the company names and dates at the top of each group and below list the various achievements made and the experience gained. Try to include measurable results, for example, "Increased revenues by 70%."

Qualifications

Everything on your CV is there to appeal to the requirements of a potential employer. Where to include the education section depends on how much it enhances your application.

If your strongest selling point is your education then you will probably want your Education section after your Personal Statement. This is a good idea if you are a recent graduate or have graduated from a highly regarded university and have excellent results. Should your work experience be stronger, then it is advisable for education to appear after your employment history.

Expand on any areas of education that will assist your application, but be careful not to include too much information. Your work experience must be quantified with your achievements, however your education may be summarised with the grades obtained.

Some employers insist on certain qualifications such as a university degree, but many will also consider your experience and skills as more relevant. Never embellish your qualifications as employers can easily find out if you have.

As every job is different each CV should be tailored to meet the job requirements. Try to appreciate the information that will be of most value and select only relevant educational details. Education history should be listed in reverse chronological order and start with the most recent education. Include the name of the educational institute and summarise rather than list your GCSE’s. Make your education section clear and easy to read.

Tailoring your CV

It is not unusual to find many positions that you wish to apply for. By making an effort to tailor your CV to each particular job you can greatly increase your chances of obtaining an interview.

Change the following main areas of your CV:

Personal Statement

Understanding the requirements of the job advertised, you will know what is being sought from a candidate. In a brief sentence summarise your unique selling points and detail your accomplishments indicating how these will help you succeed in the job you are applying for.

Employment History

If the job is for a managerial role but you have never worked as a manager highlight how previous roles involved responsibility and decision making. If the role is a sideways move you could show the ways in which you have achieved success to illustrate your ability.

Skills

The majority of roles will have similar skills but consider how much easier it will be for the potential employer if you are demonstrating your skills in the same order as the job description.

Hobbies and Interests

Job advertisements usually indicate the personality required, so understand what they are and decide if your hobbies and interests are relevant. If the role is for a senior position, the fact that you were a sports captain would be able to demonstrate leadership and the ability to organise. If the role is within a creative field, then you could make a reference to artists or exhibitions that are of interest to you but remain relevant to the position on offer.

CV Mistakes

It is important to avoid making mistakes, so here are the most common ones to avoid: