Tips for writing your CV
What is a CV?
Your CV is a personal marketing document that tells an employer about you, your professional history and your skills, abilities and achievements. Ultimately, it should highlight why you are the best person for the job.
How to format it
- Keep your CV to 2-4 pages maximum and use Arial font size 12.
- Avoid italics or underlined words.
- Check your spelling and grammar.
- Bring a good quality, high-resolution, black printed copy if you do not have access to the internet or an email address. Avoid photocopies.
- Use bullet points to break up text and avoid acronyms, abbreviations and internal terminology.
- Avoid trims, grids and borders, tables and graphics as documents are difficult to scan.
What to include
Your CV should explain who you are, what you have done, what skills and knowledge you can offer and what your career goals are.
- Include your personal contact information and check that it is correct – your name, full address including your postal/zip code, cell/mobile number and email address if you have one. The first line must contain only your name, with a separate line for your address, phone number and email address.
- Use a professional email address e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Start your education summary with the highest qualification and a subject summary. Only mention relevant training.
- In your work experience, start with your most recent and clearly list who you worked for, job title, for how long, what you did and your achievements. Focus on the most recent and relevant and shorten previous roles. Explain any gaps in employment.
- Use powerful action verbs to start sentences, e.g. improved, negotiated, reduced, etc.
- Include any relevant skills, professional associations, volunteer experience and even hobbies but keep it brief. Be clear, structured and concise.
One CV will not fit all applications. It needs to be a very targeted document for the role you are applying for. Build a master CV but adjust it for each role you are applying for, focusing and expanding on what is most relevant. And always be truthful and accurate.
What not to include
- a photograph, copies of your certifications, ID, transcripts, unless requested
- your marital status, date of birth, medical history, religion, dependents or your current salary.
Remember, the difference between landing an interview and being declined can often be the CV. Do not fall short because your CV does not express your skills and your ability to do the job.