How to Write a Great First CV (Resume)

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					How to Write a Great First CV (Resume)
Norman Creaney

Interchangable Terminology
Curriculum Vitae "a brief biographical résumé of one's career and training, as prepared by a person applying for a job." - More common term in the UK Résumé "a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job." - More common term in the USA

Why do I Need a CV?
Many employers will ask for one Think of your CV as a brochure designed to promote you Take some time and effort and create a really great CV - it will be worth the effort In an application form you are limited in what you can say about yourself you can only answer the questions that are asked In your CV, you are in control. Take advantage of this and show yourself in the best possible light

Your CV is a Work-In-Progress
Keep a master CV, which is updated cumulatively as you progress in your career: add to it only when you have new experience or achievements to record delete from it only as older items appear less significant in the light of new experience Each time you apply for a job, make a copy of your master CV: edit the copy to reflect the specific requirements of the job you are applying for keep careful records of what was submitted for which vacancies

What Should I Put in my CV?
The past how have you spent your life so far? what have you achieved? The present what are you currently doing? what have you learnt from what you have done in the past? The Future where do you want to end up? how do you plan to get there?

The Past
How have you spent your life so far?
schools and colleges attended (with dates) qualifications attained (with dates and grades) employers and job titles (with dates) student/vacation work (with dates)

What have you achieved?
Do you have any sporting achievements? Do you play a musical instrument? Do you play in a band or orchestra? Are/were you a member of any student clubs societies? Have you undertaken any voluntary work? Have you ever won any prizes or awards? Have you taken a leadership role or position of responsibility with respect to any of the above?

The Present
Subject or industry specific skills:
For an IT professional you might list the programming languages that you have used - indicating your level of experience in each. If you are a school teacher you might list the subjects and levels at which you have taught.

Generic or transferable skills:
Can you write well? Can you communicate effectively on the telephone? Can you fit in to their team? Are you reliable Can you be trusted with money? Do you have any leadership ability?

Which Candidate Impresses you more?
Candidate 1: "I gained considerable experience in dealing with the public during my summer job as receptionist for the Ramada Hotel, Portrush. This involved responding to enquiries on the telephone and registering guests on arrival. I feel much more confident in dealing with the public now." Candidate 2: "I am good at dealing with the public."

Can You Describe a Situation When You Have Demonstrated any of the Following Qualities?
Hard working Good attitude Pleasant personality Punctual Reliable Leadership Qualities Initiative Common Sense Honest Flexible Focused Ambitious Self motivated Organised Responsible Enthusiastic Resourceful

The Future
It is good to have a career goal. It indicates that you are ambitious and are taking your career seriously. Your goal should be ambitious but achievable. You should be knowledgeable about what your goal entails, and be prepared to discuss it at interview. You should have a realistic plan for achieving your goal The job for which you are applying should be part of that plan.

Which Candidate Impresses you More?
Candidate 1: "I want to spend four years working in web design and development to get experience of the technologies and the business. After that I intend to become an internet entrepreneur." Candidate 2: "I'm not really sure what I want to do. I thought about web design but then I didn't know if there would be any jobs. Maybe I'm more suited to management."

How should I Organise my CV?
Use bullet point - or short paragraphs - within each of these sections.
Personal Details - simple, factual information. Career Goal - this section is optional but if you decide to include it, be prepared to discuss it at interview. Educational History - bullet point your progress (with dates) Employment History - bullet point your progress (with dates) Skills and achievements - say when & how you have demonstrated these Referees - make sure you ask their permission first Leisure Activities - this section should be kept fairly short unless you have something very interesting to say.

Within each section, put more recent items above older ones

The Person Reading your CV is Busy
... so use structure, layout and formatting to help him.
Keep the structure, formatting and layout simple, logical and consistent. Use layout such as white space, indentation and bullet lists: to emphasise important information such as dates to enable the reader to scan quickly to the information he is interested in. Keep the text of each item brief but self contained. Your CV should normally be no longer than two sides. Do not use a font that is smaller than 11 point Times New Roman (or equivalent) - 12 point is even better.

Write, Read, Revise ... Repeat ...
Writing is an iterative process that may include multiple cycles of proof-reading and revision. It is very difficult to proof-read your own writing so it is best to get the help of a friend. If you cannot get a friend to help then it may help to: Read your writing aloud to yourself - this often uncovers problems that would otherwise go unnoticed. Do not try to do everything at the one session - leave some time between writing and proof-reading.

Ac-cen-tuate the Positive
In all communication with a potential employer: 1. Clearly indicate your positive attributes – emphasising those that are most relevant to the vacancy. 2. Say nothing about your negative attributes – unless you’re specifically asked. 3. Be truthful – do not tell any lies.

Mister In-Between ~ Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen "You've got to accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don't mess with Mister In-Between."

Related Materials
How to Write a Great First CV (Resume) How to Write a Great Cover Letter

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