This can sometimes seem like a daunting task. With some general format guidelines you’ll be able to put together a presentable, concise summary of your key skills and career to date.
The document should be no longer than 3 sheets of A4 with 2 being the ideal. A simple guide to the format can be advised as follows:
1. Your personal details including contact details
2. A mission statement or career aim
- this is by no means essential although many people like to summarise their career goal in a sentence either at this point or sometimes even at the top of the document.
3. Your career history in reverse chronological order with a short summary of your main responsibilities and achievements, ideally in bullet points
- each position featured should highlight your employer’s company name, your start and finish dates.
- your current role should be allotted the most space with the amount of space given decreasing for previous roles. Your current role and contact details should form much of the first page.
- if you have enjoyed multiple roles with the same employer you can summarise this under one heading for ease of reading.
- if your career history spans many years and space is an issue it is often accepted that a section entitled something like “early career” is inserted with start and finish dates where the positions can be summarised.
4. Your interests
- these would normally be in bullet points.
5. Your referees
- It is not necessary to name your referees at this point although this is entirely your personal preference. Many people prefer to simply state “references available on request”
• If you are going to include a “mission statement” , make sure that you can explain it at interview and that it is relevant to the role you’ve applied or want to interview for.
• If you are making reference to facts and figures on your CV make sure that they are firstly accurate and secondly that you can explain them.
• Avoid using personal photos, logos or clip art in your CV. They tend to make the CV look cluttered and can make it harder to read for your prospective employer.
• Coloured paper, digital watermarks or coloured text fall into the same category as the above. CVs printed in black on white paper created in Arial font 10 or Times New Roman font 12 will look impactful.
• Finally don’t be tempted to “bend the truth” at any point in your CV. It’s important to ensure that all dates, facts and figures are genuine and that qualifications and grades referred to are accurately represented. It’s much better in the long run to be “up front” as inaccuracies in a CV will often become apparent and normally result in either slowing down the application process or halting it altogether!