A CV, or curriculum vitae, is an essential sales tool that will help create a good first impression. It is important to get a CV right first time, as it is usually the first form of contact you will have with a potential employer.

Preparation: Think about your skills, qulifications, experience, achievements and strengths. If you are replying to a specific job advert, think about the key that have been used and which apply to you. Note these down!

Format: Keep it simple! Make sure your CV is logical, well structured an well laid out, as this will make it easier for the employer to read. Avoid pictures, borders and coloured paper. Target your CV towards your chosen profession or position you are applying for.

Structure: Your CV should include:

  • Covering letter – CV’s should always be introduced with a covering letter, allowing you to identify the position you are applying for, provide more details to support your CV and application, and let your personality come through.

  • Personal details – name, address, telephone number, email address.

  • Profile – keep this short as it’s purpose it only to provide a summary of your skills, experience, strengths.

  • Education – note these down in reverse chronological order (e.g. most recent first) and provide details of dates spent in education, institutions attended, subjects/courses studied, grades/qualifications obtained.

  • Employment history – again, note these down in reverse chronological order and provide dates employed, title of position(s) held, brief description of your duties and responsibilities.

  • Training – give dates and names of any courses attended that may be relevant to the job for which you are applying.

  • Additional information – provide details of any other relevant information, including; voluntary work, professional membership, skills and abilities, awards and achievements, hobbies and interests.

  • References – detail a minimum of two referees that will give you a good reference and support your job application (where possible, one should be your last employer).

Text: Use a simple font, minimum 10 point. Avaoid using fancy fonts and coloured text.

Length: You may have to be selective as to what information to include in your CV. Whilst there is no restriction on length, it is best not to exceed three pages. Providing a shorter and more informative CV will interest the employer more than a long an irrevelant CV.

Spelling & grammar: There’s nothing worse than submitting a CV with lots of spelling mistakes. Check your spelling and grammar, and get someone else to check it too.

Dates: Present your education and employment information in reverse chronical order ensuring dates are concurrent and be sure to account for any gaps.

And most importantly, tell the truth!