CV Preparation

Until your interview, you are only as good as your paperwork and perhaps telephone manner. This makes your CV and covering letter crucial. They are essentials in most job markets. Like any marketing document a CV should help you sell yourself.

What Should Your CV Include?

The First Page
This should contain your personal details name, address, home and work telephone numbers, e-mail address, education and qualifications and a brief general overview of your skills, experience and the nature of work sought. Please include your geographical preferences, availability and preferred locations.

Pages Two/Three
Here you should highlight your employment history in the past 5 years. Present this in reverse chronological order (i.e. last job first). If you have worked for only one company, break it down with an entry for each position held or projects dealt with. For each position held describe the responsibilities. Do include achievements, not just tasks. If you can, quantify them in sales, financial or production terms.

List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines if they are relevant. Any voluntary, charity or external posts you have held e.g. school governor are worth including. Avoid listing anything too controversial.

It is recommended that two referees be given - including the referees' official titles, addresses and telephone numbers.


Helpful Hints

Remember that you want your CV to be read and responded to. Include just enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader.

  • Three pages maximum is preferred. Every word must contribute to the overall message - so keep it brief and make sure that the contents are relevant to the job you are looking for now - not your last one.
  • Ensure your CV is well structured; this gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review. A CV that is hard to read is often put aside and forgotten.
  • When writing the CV remember self opinion is best avoided. Aim to include facts and evidence.
  • Always keep your CV up to date.
  • Pay close attention to reply instructions in advertisements (e.g.: spelling of the contact's name)
  • Have someone check your spelling and grammar.
  • Use good quality white paper - never coloured as it does not photocopy well and is not always easy to read.


Covering Letters


CVs are seldom used alone - they should always be introduced by a letter. The letter should earn readership for the CV. A good letter should be used to pick up points which modesty or space prevented you putting in the CV (i.e. to highlight your key strengths relevant to that job). An introduction letter can save you from having to rewrite the CV each time you want to target your application to a specific advertisement or sector.