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. An employer may
have several hundred enquiries about a single
job, he or she will only choose a few people
who appear suitable for interview.
Therefore, your CV must be as good as you
can make it
If you are a student, there is probably
a career advice office in your place of
study to help you out. They may have fact-sheets
of advice on how to prepare a CV. Make full
use of them. However, employers do not want
to see CVs which are all written in exactly
the same way. Therefore, do not just copy
standard CV samples! Your CV should be your
own, personal, and a little bit different.
A CV should be constructed on a word-processor
(or at least typed), well laid out and printed
on a good quality printer. Do use bold and/or
underline print for headings. Do not use
lots of different font types and sizes.
You are not designing a magazine cover!
Do use plenty of white space, and a good
border round the page. Do use the spell-check
on your computer! (Or check that the spelling
is correct in some way) Consider using 'bullets'
to start sub-sections or lists. Because
you are using a computer or word-processor,
you can easily 'customise' your CV if necessary,
and change the layout and the way you write
your CV for different employers. Picture
yourself to be a busy manager in the employer's
office. He (or she) may have to read through
100 CVs in half an hour, and will have two
piles - 'possibles' and 'waste-bin'.
yours must be easy to read, short and attractive.
are two communication principles to remember:
*'KISS' - 'keep it simple, stupid'.
*'If they didn't hear it, you didn't say
So, when you have written a first attempt
at your CV, get someone else to look at
it, and tell you how to make it better.
Ask your friends, your tutors or teachers,
your career office, family friends in business.
What you have written may seem simple and
obvious to you, but not to a employer! Go
through it again and again with a red pen,
making it shorter, more readable, more understandable!
Before you 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
Their own publicity, reports and publications
A library (business reports, trade papers),
College career office, Newspaper reports,
What to Include?
Name, home address, college address, phone
number, email address, date of birth.
Do you have your own web homepage? Include
it (if it's good!).
If your name does not obviously show if
you are male or female, include this!
Give places of education where you have
studied - most recent education first. Include
subject options taken in each year of your
course. Include any special project, thesis,
or dissertation work. Pre-college courses
(high school, etc.) should then be included,
including grades. Subjects taken and passed
just before college will be of most interest.
Earlier courses, taken at say age 15-16,
may not need much detail.
List your most recent experience first.
Give the name of your employer, job title,
and very important, what you actually did
and achieved in that job. Part-time work
should be included.
They will be particularly interested in
activities where you have leadership or
responsibility, or which involve you in
relating to others in a team. A one-person
interest, such as stamp-collecting, may
be of less interest to them, unless it connects
with the work you wish to do. Give only
enough detail to explain. (If you were captain
of a sports team, they do not want to know
the exact date you started, how many games
you played, and how many wins you had! They
will ask at the interview, if they are interested.)
If you have published any articles, jointly
or by yourself, give details. If you have
been involved in any type of volunteer work,
do give details.
Ability in other languages, computing experience,
or possession of a driving licence should
Usually give two names - one from your
place of study, and one from any work situation
you have had. Or if this does not apply,
then an older family friend who has known
you for some time. Make sure that referees
are willing to give you a reference. Give
their day and evening phone numbers if possible.
Maybe all you need to say will fit onto
one sheet of A4. But do not crowd it - you
will probably need two sheets. Do not normally
go longer than this. Put page numbers at
the bottom of the pages - a little detail
that may impress.
There are two main styles of CV, with variations
Information is included under general headings
- education, work experience, etc., with
the most recent events first.
You think through the necessary skills needed
for the job you are applying for. Then you
list all your personal details under these
skill headings. This is called 'targeting
your CV', and is becoming more common, at
least in UK. But it is harder to do. So
take advice on whether it is OK in your
country and culture, and how to do it best.
It can be good to start with a Personal
Profile/Objective statement. This is a two
or three sentence overview of your skills,
qualities, hopes, and plans. It should encourage
the employer to read the rest.
You could add a photo of yourself - either
scanned in by computer, or stuck on. But
make sure it is a good one. Get a friend
(or a working photographer) to take a good
portrait. The pictures that come out from
automatic photo-machines usually make you
look ill, like a prisoner, or a little "devil"
or all of them!
You may vary the style according to the
type of job, and what is accepted in your
country and culture. So a big company would
normally expect a formal CV on white paper.
But, just perhaps, a CV applying for a television
production job, or graphic designer, could
be less formal - coloured paper, unusual
design, etc! Consider using a two column
table to list your educational qualifications
and courses taken.
When sending in a CV or job application
form, you must include a covering letter.
The purpose of the letter is: To make sure
that the CV arrives on the desk of the correct
person. Take the trouble to telephone, and
find the name of the person who will be
dealing with applications or CVs, and address
your letter, and envelope, to that person
by name. (In a small company, it may be
the managing director. In a medium size
company, it may be the head of section/department.
Only in a large company will there be a
Personnel or Human Resource Department.)
To persuade the person to read your CV.
So it must be relevant to the company, interesting,
and well produced. To clearly say what job
you are interested in. If you are sending
in a 'speculative' CV hoping that they may
have work for you, explain what sort of
work you are interested in. Do not say,
'I would be interested in working for Widgets
Ltd', but say 'I believe my skills equip
me to work in the product development department/accounts
office/whatever'. When sending a speculative
CV, you may try telephoning later to push
your enquiry further. To say why you want
that particular job with that particular
employer To draw attention to one or two
key points in the CV which you feel make
you suited to that particular job with that
particular employer. Start your letter with
an underline heading giving the job title
you are interested in. (If you saw the job
advertised, say where you saw it.) Use the
style and pattern of a business letter suited
to your culture and country. Ask for advice
about this. Try to find sample business
letters so that you can follow style and
layout. Your career office may have a sheet
about this, or show you a sample. The letter
should only be on one side of A4 paper.
It must be polite and easy to read. Also
mention when you are available for an interview.
Ending your letter with a request for specific
extra information may give a positive response.
To apply for some jobs, the employer will
send you an application form. You should
still use a covering letter, and send your
CV also unless told not to. Application
forms need as much care to write as CVs.
Remember the lessons earlier on this page.
Here are some short guidelines:
Plan everything you will say on a separate
piece of paper. Or make a photocopy of the
form, and practice completing it first.
Only complete the real form when you are
exactly sure what is the best thing to say.
It must be very neat and clear, and in black
pen so that it can be easily photocopied.
You should 'angle' your answers to the
company, in the same way as explained for
Do not say in answer to any question -
'see my CV'. They do not want to try to
read both at the same time. Take a photocopy
to keep, so that you can remember exactly
what you said. If you are called to interview,
take this copy with you into the interview.
Keep copies of all letters, applications
forms, and CVs sent, and records of telephone
calls and names of those you spoke to.
Learning how to handle an interview is also
very important. Your college career office
or library may have a sheet or booklet on
interview technique. Take as much advice
as you can. Try and 'practice' an interview.
Ask a friend, or college teacher, to pretend
to interview you.
Be positive, and confident (if you can!)
but not over-confident. Be well-informed
about the company, its record and achievements,
about the job and why you want it. Have
questions ready to ask about the company
and the job. If you are not accepted, some
employers may be kind enough to look at
your interview notes, and explain to you
how you could improve your CV and interview
technique. Ask - you can only be refused,
and it shows you are prepared to develop
and learn; they may make a note about you
for future reference.
Appearances count as much as content. The
way your resume is presented and laid-out
will make an enormous difference to how
much attention it attracts. If it’s
badly laid out, the employer will not feel
like reading more than a few lines. Remember
that they don’t have time to do more
than skip through most applications, so
you want to make life as easy as possible
for them and encourage them to read yours.
The best resumes are usually no more than
two pages in length, with critical information
summarized in the top third of the first
page. Information is presented clearly with
plenty of bullet points. Wide borders and
white space between paragraphs also help
make your resume easier to read. A clear
font and simple layout will keep the employer’s
focus where it matters: on the content.
Snazzy graphics, a messy, cluttered page
and large blocks of text will only make
it harder to read and therefore put the