Writing a CV – dos and don’ts
With the average time employers spend looking at a CV being a mere 3 minutes, you need to limit your CV to 1 – 1 ½ pages, otherwise you could risk your application being rejected because it is too long and unclear. However, this is easier said than done. If you have an abundance of work experience, achievements or voluntary work that you want to impress a potential employer with, deciphering which points to discount can be tricky. Below are a few dos and don’ts to help you when cutting down your CV:
- Keep your CV concise and the layout clear. Use short bullet points to explain your duties in the work experience section of your CV.
- Keep older roles concise, you do not need to explain everything you’ve ever done. Only go into detail with your most recent work experience.
- Try using the acronym CAR when explaining a skill – context (what happened), action (what you did) and result (the outcome and what you achieved)
- Tailor your CV for each job, considering the skills and experience the employer requires and how you would ideally suit the role. Remember to explain WHY you want to work for that particular company and WHY you want this job! Leave out any irrelevant details
- Only include essential personal details on a CV, i.e. your full name, address and contact number/email address. You do not need to include your date of birth or hobbies (unless relevant to the position).
- Ensure your contact details are up to date. Check the details you have given (telephone number, email address etc.) are valid and correct. You don’t want to miss opportunities because employers cannot get in contact with you.0
- Check for spelling and grammar mistakes! Before submitting an application or sending a CV to a prospective employer, ensure you have thoroughly checked it for any errors. Silly mistakes can cost you that chance of getting an interview.
- Avoid using clichés. It’s easy to fall into a cliché trap, using phrases such as ‘good communicator’ or ‘great team player’ but if you haven’t backed them up with clear examples, they won’t have any substance. Make sure you explain why you are a good team player and how you can bring your skills to the job.
- Don’t give the full address for your previous employers – you only need to include when you worked there, your job title and the name of the company.
- Avoid using a jokey email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – and ensure you only use a professional email for any job applications or communication with employers.
- Don’t include references in your CV, you only need to state that they are available upon request.