Step 1: Writing Your CV
Your CV is the most important part of your job application; it’s there to sell you to a potential employer. Be positive and make the most of it. Pack it with all the reasons that would make it impossible for an employer to overlook you. Curriculum Vitae is Latin for "the course of my life" and this is what it should represent. Start with your name and contact details and follow it with a personal statement; a paragraph about yourself, namely what you’re doing at the moment, what you want to do, where you want to do it and some skills and experience that make you suitable for the position you’re applying for.
List your jobs and work experience, explaining where necessary the gaps where you were not working. When describing your previous jobs make sure to keep it relevant to the position that you’re applying for. Be clear and succinct. Give the start and finish date, the company you worked for and the position you held and a brief description of the role and your responsibilities. It would be great as well if you could add key achievements that would be of interest to an employer.
This ought to be a couple of simple lines stating where you gained a qualification, what qualification it was and the grade achieved. Also add any extra courses or certificates you may have earned through previous jobs.
Keeping it simple, create a brief list of the skills you can offer to a prospective employer. Separate the personal qualitiesthat you possess from the technical skills you have. Things like customer service skills ought to be in the former and pieces of software you can use should be in the latter.
Not always necessary, but nice to sign off with nonetheless; a paragraph about yourself, your hobbies and things you are trying to achieve in your personal life. Remember this could be the part that separates you from another candidate with similar skills and experiences. So if you enjoy participating in historical re-enactments, write about it. Write about how you’re learning another language or teaching the piano, because it’s in those tiny facets of your personality that an employer could find a desirable quality.
In regards to references, I would advise leaving them off and instead at the end writing "References available upon request". There are a few reasons for this; firstly a potential employer shouldn’t need your references until after an interview, it’s a section you won’t have to update as your references change and for a third reason that will become clear when you read The Interview (coming soon).
When you’re finished, print it off and proof read it. Documents look different on screen to on paper and you need to make sure it looks neat and legible. Use your own eyes to double-check spelling and grammar rather than just relying on a spell checker. Is it well spaced out? Is the font type and size appropriate? Does it flow well? Your CV should be no more than two pages long. Now that it‘s finished, keep coming back to it. Leave it for a couple of days and then revisit it, try and reword it to make it sound even better, even sharper. Your CV should be a constant work in progress, where you’re adding skills and experience to make it the best it can possibly be.
Next step, Job Hunting Tips