Your CV is the key to an interview. Its sole objective is to sell you and your skills to a prospective employer. Employers have to make decisions inviting candidates for interview on what they see. Remember you will also be judged on your presentation of your CV as well the content, so make sure you check spelling & grammar before you send it.
Type or word-process your CV. If you print a copy, use good quality paper. Try and stick to one type of font throughout the CV and also use the same font in your covering letter.
Avoid using large or bold fonts, stick to Arial or Times New Roman font type. Also, avoid using bright colours and borders. When emailing a CV be wary if you have photographs attached to the CV document. This will affect the size of the document and may bar it from being received by your intended recipient.
At the top of your CV, always include your name, address, contact number and email address – and make sure that they are all up to date!
Begin this section of your CV with your academic qualifications.
Detail your education and qualifications in a clear format, emphasizing your highest qualification. Always include:
- Qualification gained
- Dates of Study (Years only)
- University / College name
- Highlight good grades
If you have obtained any professional qualification during your employment history, ensure that this is included in this section. You may also want to bullet point any particular areas or modules you studied during the course which will help communicate your areas of knowledge and skill to a prospective employer.
Always detail your education in chronological order.
- Dates of employment (months & years)
- Company’s name
- Job title
There should always be an accompanying paragraph with a brief description of the role, responsibilities and duties. In particular, highlighting:
- Projects completed – try and quantify projects by size & cost, also include a description of the project including type & method of construction, duration, form of contract & client
- Skills you developed in your role
- Key achievements – i.e. Projects you worked on completing ahead of schedule, on budget, nominated for awards or recommendations
- If you have worked on a contract basis, ensure that this is clearly stated next to the Dates of Employment.
List your employment history in chronological order, start your CV with the most recent employer.
Focus on displaying your career progression through promotion or more challenging work.
If you have any gaps in your employment history, for example traveling or redundancy, make sure you state why there is a gap in your employment history.
Hobbies & interests
Whilst outside work interests sometimes gives an employer a better insight into the applicant, do not get carried away with all listing all your hobbies and pastimes. Only list hobbies or interests if you have enough space.
What else goes with a CV?
As well as your education and employment history, employers may want to see your hobbies and interests, or you may have thoughts about whether to add a photograph. Also, depending on what your specific application states, you may need to offer a covering letter and a particular number of references.
A covering letter (or covering email if you are sending your CV by electronic format) introduces you and most importantly states which position you are applying for, quoting a reference number if applicable. Remember that many employers are recruiting for numerous positions at any one time; you need to make sure that your CV is looked at for the correct position.
Your covering letter needs to be brief. Simply state:
- What position you are applying for or if it is a speculative approach
- Where you saw the position advertised
- What you current position is – employers name / job title or recently graduated
- Include any notice period if you are currently employed
- Include what your availability for interviews would be
Always put your contact details on the covering letter in case it gets detached from the CV.
Only list referees and their contact details if they have agreed to provide references for you. If you do not wish prospective employers to contact referees without your permission, state it clearly at the bottom of the CV.
They may look nice but add any photographs to an accompanying document which you could take to an interview.
Remember: before you send your CV, always check your spelling & grammar!