Writing an effective Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the first stage in the process of seeking a new position. Your CV is often the very first impression an employer has of you and is vital in achieving that important next stage – the interview.
A CV has to be written to meet the requirements of the reader. i.e. the person or organisation responsible for the recruitment. That person will have limited time availability, so that your CV must be user friendly; in effect it must:
- Be easy to read and simple to understand
- Have impact and not contain waffle or unnecessary information
- Convey concisely the key characteristics of you and your experience
- Be written in the third person and avoid the use of ‘I’ or ‘We’
There is no standard format to follow, but our experience at CRA Consulting suggests that the following format will meet most requirements. It is simple to follow and you certainly do not need to pay for your CV to be written by specialist agencies.
Format & Content
The recommended format is a 2/3 page (no more) document which conveys the following information. Use these headings and keep to the order as listed.
- Full name
- Home address
- Telephone numbers, home and mobile should be sufficient
- Private e-mail address
A summary of IT experience including types and titles of relevant software is essential for today’s workplace.
Work history & experience
The most important part of your CV and the one an employer will use to judge how you match their requirements and fit their organisation. Your employment history should be in reverse order starting with your current job and give the following information for each job:
- Job title
- Company name and market sector, if not well known
- Start and finish dates of the employment
- Skills used and acquired in the position
- Principal activities and achievements
Include here any professional qualifications achieved or for which you are studying. The date of qualification, and level achieved if applicable, would be helpful.
Educational history should be listed here in date order starting with the most recent education. When you get to GCSE passes, simply list the total number achieved and the number of A-C passes; details of each examination at this level is not necessary.
Use bullet points. Think about what you are writing, so that you are as informative as possible, but in a very concise way. If you are short on space (because of the 2/3 page rule), give more information about your most recent jobs and/or the ones where you have the greatest achievements.
Employers can learn a lot about an applicant from their interests. But keep this section brief and limited to 3 to 4 items. Think about the impression your interests or hobbies will give about your personality and mindset. Be prepared for questions on them.
Quick CV Tips
- Do keep to 2 to 3 pages
- Do seek guidance from CRA Consulting
- Do use bullet points
- Do take time to get it right, version 2 or 3 might be necessary
- Do check for spelling and grammar mistakes
- Don’t include names of referees, that can come later
- Don’t use unusual fonts and borders
- Don’t leave gaps in work history as it prompts queries
- Don’t include photographs
- Don’t list salary requirements
- Don’t write in long sentences