The best CV
Your CV is all about you and your life… so make sure it shows you at your best!
As well as application forms, CVs (Curriculum Vitae) show employers your skills, qualities, education and experience.
Application forms vs CVs
The main difference between the two is that application forms have a set structure designed by a company, which takes you through a series of questions about your life to date, whereas a CV is a personal document that you can, to a certain extent, plan yourself.
Additionally, CVs are often used by people who are applying speculatively for vacancies – they are asking employers if any jobs might exist that match their skills. Instead of waiting for the perfect job to be advertised in the newspaper or online, they target specific companies or organisations and send off their CV in the hope that something might come up for which they could be suitable.
These top tips should help put you on the right path:
- Always prepare a draft first so you can check what you have written and make changes, if necessary.
- Try to aim for one side of A4 or two at the absolute most.
- Enclose a covering letter to explain what job you are applying for as there might be more than one on offer.
- Presentation is key – always use good-quality white paper and produce it on the computer. Don’t handwrite it!
- Use an easy-to-read font and size – Times New Roman and Arial, size 11 or 12 – are the best.
- Include only the most relevant information on your CV. They don’t need your life history!
- Target your CV – many people fire off the same CV and covering letter to lots of different companies, hoping that one or more will be successful. Employers can spot a blanket application a mile off and won’t be impressed.
- Most employers accept CVs and covering letters by post – check to see who to send it to.
- If you do have to print your CV, do so onto A4 paper and enclose it, together with your covering letter, in an A4 envelope so you don’t need to fold it when you send it.