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CVs That Work

It is worth spending quality time to get your CV right, as it’s main purpose is to get an interview and as a memory aid to the interviewer.

The most important aspect of your CV is that it clearly states what you can do for the employer / reader. It tells them that you have got the experience and skills for the job.

This page covers the following:

-  Key Aspects of Your CV

-  Standard Reverse Chronological CV

-  Functional CV

-  Academic CV

-  Self Employed Consultant or Contractors CVs

-  Presentation of YOUR CV

-  What Next


What To Do Before Starting to Compile Your CV

Reread the job advert several times.

Summarise your attributes that are relevant to the job. This may be lists of achievements, skills, competencies.

Write down the evidence in support of your claims in the lists above.

Now you have the basic facts that support the role you are applying for.


Key Aspects of Your CV

It must be:

- A well presented selling document.

- It must be individual – do not use templates from MS.

- Keep it simple and concise.

- It contains relevant information.

- It is interesting to read.

Remember you are writing the CV for the employer / reader.

The format for the CV can take several forms. The key element is that a CV must be no longer than two pages, and must meet the needs of the target organisation.

                  A generic CV is not good enough.


It must highlight your achievements, experience and skills plus the relationship to the job you are applying for. It must give the reader a reason to interview you.

The contents must include:

- A script for selling yourself.

- Key attributes for the specific job must come first.

- Achievements and skills in short bullet pointed style.

- It must be honest and factual.

- Your name bold and large.

- Your contact details. Not too bold as to distract the reader with these.

- Current professional memberships and qualifications.

- Do not put CV at the top of each page – it’s obvious.

- Keep old education details to a minimum.

- Keep ‘other interests’ section (if using one) brief. If included, try and get an angle that makes them job related e.g. treasurer of local tennis club.

The Employment history starting with current job and working backwards, is now seen as dated and is less flexible in highlighting relevant skills and experience, especially for IT related jobs.


Common Formats of CV

Standard Reverse Chronological CV

This format has been around for years and some consider it to be old fashioned.

- Personal Details.

- Profile (optional).

- Career Summary - name of firm, job title, experience and achievements  (in reverse chronological order).

- Training.

- Qualifications.

- Memberships.

- Education.

- Other interests.


Functional CV

List your skills first and keep employment information to a bare skeleton of your job title, and employer.

- Contact details.

- Profile (optional).

- Key skills.

- Achievements.

- Outline of employment history (in reverse chronological order).

- Qualifications (in reverse chronological order).

- Memberships.

- Training.

- Education.

- Other interests.


Academic CV

If you applying for academic position, your CV should focus on research achievements.

- Contact details.

- Research/dissertation abstracts.

- Research interests.

- Teaching/administrative experiences.

- Publications.

- Presentations or conferences.

- Professional memberships.

- Fellowships and awards.

- Employment history.

- Other interests.


Self Employed Consultant or Contractors CV

If you are seeking a role as a consultant or you are self-employed, you can move away from the conventional CV and include:

- Contact details.

- Profile.

- Recent clients (the customer, not the agency) and length.

- Skills.

- Key assignments undertaken.

- When you are available.


Presentation of YOUR CV

- Lay your CV out neatly.

- Use good quality paper e.g. 100 gsm.

- Use the same paper for your covering letter.

- Leave plenty of white space on the page – easier to read.

- Print in black and white without too many gimmicks.

- Be concise by using short sentences and paragraphs.

- Use a typeface such as Times New Roman or Arial.

- Use a bold typeface to highlight key points – but not too many.

- Use a type size 11 or above.

- Check for typographical and spelling errors.


What Next

When you have completed your CV, reread several times as though you are the interviewer or employer.

Are you comfortable with the content?

If you were the recruiting company. Would you shortlist this person for interview?


Now get your CV checked by someone else for errors.

Always send a covering letter with your CV.

Always keep a copy.



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