How to Write the Perfect CV

Write the Perfect CV

How to write the perfect CV to get you that interview and job you want. A CV is the best way to get your foot in the door of the company you want to work for. Your CV is often the first impression a business will get of you. It is also the first contact you will make to a company, whether for an advertised position or via a speculative letter sent inquiring about a possible job.

I'm sure you knew that CV stood for Curriculum Vitae. But did you know that Curriculum Vitae stood for "path of life", after all that is the role of a CV; to highlight what you have achieved in regards to education and your career, as well as showing whether you can drive, are married and also have hobbies and interests outside of work.

Producing a successful CV

A successful CV will only have under a minute to grab the attention of the reader, is this case a possible employer. Therefore, the perfect CV should be short (no more than two pages), clear and use bullet points to detail your route through education and your work experience. This information will demonstrate to any future employer that you have the skills required for the role.

Therefore a perfect CV should include:

  • Name, address, contact details
  • Date of Birth (DOB) or Age
  • Marital status
  • Educational information, school, college, university establishments, the courses and grades you achieved and the start and end date
  • Work-based education and what was involved - in brief, plus the name of the course and dates achieved.
  • Work experience, with the most recent job first, the employer's address, a brief job description and start and end dates
  • Interests - A brief descriptions of your interests outside of work, no more than 3 lines
  • Two references, one being your most recent employer, there name, address, contact number and email address*

* To avoid any nasty surprises inform your current employer that you are applying for a new job and that they may be required to speak as a referee on your behave.

Tailor-make your CV

These days most people have had a multitude of different jobs, roles and a variety of on and off the job training. With only a limited about of space on a CV, you may nee to tailor what you actually include depending on the role you wish to apply for. Therefore, you will also need to research the position and its responsibilities and gather as much information about what the employer could be looking from a member of staff. If you have not received a job specification from the employer you are applying you could try the following options:

  • Research the role on the internet
  • Look for similar roles advertised with other companies
  • Read the company’s web site
  • Speak to someone in the same or similar role.

Different types of CV's

There are three different forms of CV, including:

  • The work experience-based CV
  • The achievement-based CV
  • The graduate CV

The work experience-based CV is the most common as it demonstrates that the role you're applying for is a role you have working experience off. In a work experienced-based CV the writer should list their employment experience before their academic success as once the potential employer knows that your previous job experience has equipped you with the necessary skills for their company they are more likely to read the rest of the CV.

In a work experience-based CV your employment history is shown in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job first. Job titles and company names are strongly emphasised and duties and achievements are described under each job title in a bullet point format.

The achievement-based CV is best suited to those looking to change careers. The idea is that listing your academic and training success first will demonstrate to an employer that you have amassed the necessary training and education to meet their needs, even if your previous work experience has been within a different industry.

Of course an achievement-based CV will also include your work experience, but as you're looking for a career change you will be able to tailor this area of the CV, by listing what you feel is relevant employment experience and, most of all, your 'achievements', rather than simply listing your most recent jobs first with a brief job description. It is often those parts of a job NOT within the job description that demonstrate a different level of thinking and highlights to a possible employer that you will fit into their company and embrace their organisational ethos.

The graduate CV is one in which a previous student will not have a wealth of work experience to demonstrate their level of competence within the work place. Therefore, the graduate CV acts very much in the same way as the achievement-based CV in the fact that the writer should pick out bits of their education that they feel best highlights their ability to successfully fill the job role required. For example, many college and university courses require students to present to an audience. Therefore, if a job requires formal presentations or report writing, a graduate should highlight these areas of their course.

Presenting the perfect CV

We apologise if this sounds like we are making grandma suck eggs but your CV should be presented clearly and with each area, sentence and word in the same font and same font size as every other word (headings can be set in bold). This is important as mixing fonts will make your CV seem amateurish - meaning you will appear amateurism; not really the impression you want to give to a person who you want to pay you for your work.

To create the perfect CV, use these ideas above and use a free CV writer programme found on the internet.