Contact & General Details Section
In this section make sure you include any normal contact numbers whether mobile or land-line. You should include details of your driving license status as well since for some employers this can be an important consideration for certain roles. If you are not from the UK or EU, relevant information on your nationality and, if appropriate, work permit should also appear in this section.
If you have been working long enough, a short summary of your capabilities, any significant and relevant professional qualifications obtained e.g. a MCITP, and/or a list of major achievements will definitely help your CV stand out
Professional, Vocational & Academic Qualifications
Details on relevant professional qualifications such as a MCITP should appear relatively early on your CV as it will help it stand out. Unless you are a recent graduate or have just obtained a vocational qualification, your academic and vocational qualification details should appear towards the end of the CV.
The key thing to remember when completing this section is to be succinct! Don’t write excessively long paragraphs, yet at the same time do provide enough information to sell yourself and your capabilities properly. Use bullet points to improve clarity in this section. If there are any significant gaps in your work history you must ensure that they are adequately explained e.g. maternity leave, etc. This section should be in reverse chronological order with your most recent employment appearing first. Make sure you include what your role entailed.
Technical Skills Summary
A very important section in the context of an IT person but also for most other professions too now! It’s best to break down your skills into subsections such as hardware, operating systems, desktop applications (which in turn can be broken down into subsections such as spreadsheets, word processors, etc), front end application development tools, etc. Also grade these skills by proficiency as this will tell the potential employer more about your experience with particular products. The most important thing to remember is to be as honest as possible here or you will be found out at a later stage in the hiring process.
Try and keep the length of your CV as reasonable as possible. A rough guideline of how long your CV should be is provided below Juniors: 1-2 pages 1-2 yrs commercial experience: 2-3 pages 3-4 yrs commercial experience: 3-4 pages 5 yrs+ commercial experience: 4-5 pages
Some General Points
- The first thing to remember is a clear and well-organised CV will help your CV stand out. To this end, the judicious use of spacing and bullet pointing will help to achieve this.
- Don’t use multiple fonts in your CV. Select just one traditional font eg Times New Roman, and stick with it throughout your CV. When you have finished your CV, check it thoroughly for spelling, typos and bad grammar
- Plan- it’s a good idea to plan out what you’re going to write on your CV in different sections, starting with work experience and then moving on to skills and qualifications. Then refine each draft until you’re happy with it.
- Correct dates of employment- getting this right is very important because it shows your future employer that you are a conscientious. If you get this wrong you will come across as disorganized and may harm your prospects of securing an interview.
- Put your own personal interests towards the end of your CV
- List your skills individually- as well as listing the skills gained in each employment you have undertaken, you can also have an individual section dedicated to your skills.
- How long should your CV be? It’s important to be as succinct as possible when writing your CV but that doesn’t mean you should leave important experience or skills out just for the sake of brevity.
- How to reduce the length of your CV- change your margins in MS Word to Page Layout/ Margins/ Narrow- this will set your page margins to a size which is big enough that it won’t look cramped but will also help reduce the length of your CV
- Presentation tips- use bold and italic typefaces for important information. Each page of your CV should be on a separate piece of paper. Be as succinct as you can without omitting important information.
- Use of Fonts- choose a font that is easy to read and not too ornate and decorative. Use the same font throughout your CV with a minimum size of 11.
- Keeping your CV updated- it’s essential to ensure that you regularly check your CV to make sure that your latest employment is featured and any recent courses you’ve attended or new skills you’ve gained also appear.
- Use figures if you can and your job is relevant to this to back up your achievements and assertions on your CV. This won’t be possible in all cases but, for example, instead of just saying that you increased sales, say you increased sales by 40 per cent over an 18-month period. It sounds more impressive.
- Contact details- include your phone number, address and email address and also a link to your public Linkedin profile if you feel this is appropriate
- Focus on what you will bring to an organization in your CV. What makes you a better candidate than other applicants? How will you improve the help the organisation that you’re applying to work for.?
- Evidence- ensure you provide enough tangible evidence for every significant professional qualification and claim you make. If you have a professional certification, provide the ID number.
- It’s a good idea to include three or four points for your accomplishments in your previous roles, if appropriate. For example: how have you gone beyond what was expected of you? How have you demonstrated that you are versatile, flexible and creative, how did you find solutions to problems and what legacy have you left behind?
- The first impression of the overall layout and quality of your CV is very important and will play a crucial role in determining whether you are hired or not. Even if your CV contains all the relevant details concerning your qualifications and work experience it may not look very good as whole. Keep this in mind when you’re finalising its layout and contents.
In closing, remember your CV is your personal sales document! If you follow the above guidelines, it will hopefully help you obtain those all important interviews.