CV’s – what is good and what is bad. The basics.
Curriculum Vitae (plural Curricula Vitae) or CV for short; resume or personal details – whatever you might call this document – that summarises your skills, experience, education and training – has only once job – TO GET YOU AN INTERVIEW.
In the last 25 years I have read tens of thousands of these documents on behalf of clients and so can give a fairly reliable insight, I hope, as to what I want to see and what I find frustrating.
I will deal with make some suggestions on how you might tweak your CV to your further advantage still (achievements, overviews etc) in another post, but this one is about the basics and a check list for you to review your own.
Some of this might seem, well, stating the obvious, but I assure you the obvious seems to escape many – including those (Senior Managers etc ) who arguably should know better. So:
- Have you included all your contact details and are they at the top ideally with your email address on a hyperlink?
- Career details – any huge unexplained gaps? Readers will assume the worst.
- Are your career details in reverse chronological order? ie. last job first
- Is your last job and company on page 1? This is the most important part of your document. If it’s not on page one WHY NOT?!
- Is there a web address for your last/present company and have you stated what that company does/makes/sells; to whom does it sell to?
- Is there context in your descriptions of your present/previous employers? (What does this mean? Ok – ABC Co. A global multi-national or one man and his dog in a shed? You need to show where you fit in).
- Education – your D grade GCSE in woodwork is not relevant no matter how proud you are of that magazine rack you made when you were 16. IF you are a grad/HNC etc put it in your overview “A professionally qualified/time served….” and then move on. Experience is what most employers are looking for, unless it is a technical role and then you will find a different post to discuss this one.
So – in short: What do you do and for whom do you do it -? These are the key components of what CV readers are looking for. Can they see it and can they see it easily?
Make it easy for us and to your advantage.