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How to write a CV (great information!)

Writing a CV

A CV is quite simply an 'advert' to sell yourself to an employer. You should send a CV to an employer when they ask for one in a job advert, or when you are enquiring if any jobs are available. So the purpose of your CV is to make you attractive, interesting, worth considering to the company and so receive a job interview.
Your CV is your best chance to convince a prospective employer that you are the best person for the position. Because the employer may have several hundred enquiries for the position he/she will only choose a few suitable people for an interview. So it is vital that your CV paints a clear picture of you and that it highlights all aspects of your life and career that is of interested to any future employer.

Bear in mind when constructing your CV that the decision maker/potential employer will probably only spend 30-60 seconds reading your treasured life history - which is not much time for you to market yourself. A CV is designed to get you an interview and a foot in the door, it is not to get you the job.

Where to start
Sit down with a piece of paper. Look at the job(s) that you are applying for. Consider how your skills, education, and experience compare with the skills that the job requires. How much information do you have about the job description?
Sometimes employers do not give enough information. Ask for more detail if needed. Spend time researching detail about the job(s) that interest you and information about the employer - their structure, products, successes, and approach - from:

Their own publicity, reports and publications
A library (business reports, trade papers)
College career office
Newspaper reports
The Internet

Gathering and organising the facts
Start working on your CV by collecting and reviewing information about yourself: Previous positions, job duties, volunteer work, skills, accomplishments, education, and activities. These are the raw materials of your CV. This is also a good time to review your career goals and to think about which past jobs you have liked, and why.

After compiling this information, research the occupations that interest you. Determine what duties they entail, what credentials they require, and what skills they use. Your CV will use your autobiographical information to show that you meet an occupations requirements. Remember: Even if you do not have many specialised and technical skills, most occupations also require abilities like reliability, teamwork, and communication.

Writing a CV What to include

Name/Contact Details: Your permanent address, telephone number and e-mail address if you have one. CVs may be kept on file with a company for up to 12 months and they may want to get in touch with you in the future.

Personal Details: Personal details can be placed at the beginning or end of the document. If you have a home page/website then include this here.

Education: Give places of education where you have studied - most recent education first. Include subject options taken in each year of your course. Include grades, any higher education courses. If you are still at college/university or are doing any kind of course relevant to the job then state what you are doing, when you will be finished etc..

Work Experience: Last position first (dates), including your title/position and company name. Detail your responsibilities and achievements. Include any voluntary work and work placements you did at school.

Additional Skills: Regional Studies, Project, Analytical. If you have specific computer, foreign language, typing, or other technical skills, consider highlighting them by giving them their own category even if they dont relate directly to the occupation youre pursuing.

Personal Interests: Limit this information but look at what it is saying about you (solitary individual or team player). Don`t go in to hobbies that have no interest to the position unless you have wrote articles and had them published, have been a captain of some kind of sport.

Referees: Only include - 3 maximum. Ensure at least one is an existing or a previous manager - provide details on company division, job title & telephone/e-mail contact details.

Selecting a CV format
Chronological: Work history in chronological date order (last position first). It shows no gaps or changes in career and is useful for a continuous work history which is related to your next job opportunity.

Functional: Highlights certain skills, achievements and responsibilities rather than chronological listing work history. Good for career changing, periods of unemployment, redundancy or general gaps in work history such as illness. Also useful for repetitious job titles.

Targeted: A one off CV targeted for a specific job or vacancy. It focuses on what you can do and your potential. Unlike chronological or targeted which focus on past work, it can be useful for a specific position

The length of your CV
A long CV is difficult for a recruiter to digest and retain; and, given the volume of CVs many recruiters receive, long CVs are often ignored. Although rules about length are more flexible than they once were, general guidelines still exist.
If you are a student use a one page CV
other workers use one or two pages,
and the very experienced use three-four pages. If your CV doesnt match this pattern, it probably contains unnecessary words or irrelevant information. Eliminate anything that does not help prove youre qualified for the job.

Presentation
Use plain English don`t try and impress with big words that will just use up valuable space

Use good quality paper: Your CV maybe forwarded to another office or department so do not use very thick paper as it can jam faxes or photocopiers.

Where possible, use a good quality printer and print on one side of the paper only

Avoid long sentences

Overall appearance: a CV should be visually pleasing and easy to read - bold headings, use indentations and bullets where applicable. Avoid excessive use of capital letters, underlining, bold or italics. Avoid lots of white space - or very wide margins.

Writing a CV
What not to include

There are no hard and fast rules on what not to put in a CV, it is personal preference. However, you don`t want to make your CV drag on and there is no point in putting any information that is irrelevant to the job. Here are a few tips on what not to put in your CV

Age, height, weight, marital status are not pertinent to the hiring process (unless you're applying to be a model).
Photos - the only people who need to include these are models, actors, actresses and possibly air cabin crew.

Salary details. An employer will always offer the minimum that they can get away with.

Any sort of failure - exams, marriages, businesses, etc.

Fancy binders, several colours, complicated graphics.

Negative descriptions, problems or gaps in work history which would cause the reader to have doubts about you. That is not to say you should lie, however it is far easier to discuss these issues in greater detail at an interview.

Reasons for leaving each job.

Do not use poor quality photocopies of your CV - they make it look as though you are sending off your CV to lots of companies and that you may not be too bothered who you work for.

Don`t list more than 3 referees - no relatives.

Good luck with any future employment

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