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The Purpose of your CV

When writing your CV, you need to maintain focus - always consider the purpose of your CV and what you are trying to achieve. Remember your CV is your sales tool, your CV is your marketing collateral and your CV is the key to a door; the door to an interview and your future career! Don’t give a potential employer reasons to screen you out!

Keep it unfussy, keep it logical and straightforward, keep it clean, keep it punchy, keep it easy to read and flow. Don't use jargon and don’t give a potential employer any reason to make negative assumptions about you. You will want your CV to stand out but, believe it or not, when it comes to CVs, be conservative, stick to standard formats and, unless you are in the design industry, keep it simple.

Writing your CV

Your CV will help further your career and reach your aspirations. However let’s also put things into perspective. It shouldn’t take any more than 6-8 hours to prepare max. .

Should you not have the desire or the inclination to write your own CV it’s relatively inexpensive to get someone to write one for you from £150 upwards.

CV format - What paper should I choose?

If you're posting your CV, which together with a handwritten cover note is still expected for the most senior roles, invest in some decent weighted paper rather than the thin stuff that you borrowed from the photocopier at work! It has been said that printing your CV on coloured paper will help you stand out from the masses and get that all important interview.  I think that so long as the colour still looks professional, and isn’t florescent then it can’t do much harm.

I think that it would be wrong to assume, however, that a gimmick such as these will swing you an interview. To get the sales job for you, it is most important to come across as professional and I believe that using quality white paper is the way to achieve this. My advice would be that unless you are in the design industry – be conservative.

CV format - Background Images

Occasionally some candidates put a background to their electronic CV to give the appearance of paper but beware – many firewalls will not let it through, the file will be large and many recruitment software products will not accept it.

CV Templates and CV Style

Google up CV templates and you’ll find a wide range of straightforward and simple templates to follow. Save yourself time by using a ‘classic’ CV template – unless you are applying for roles where you need to demonstrate your design flair or eccentricity – don’t be ‘wacky’.

My advice is to let other people be the ground breakers in CV design and let you be the one who gets the interviews and gets the jobs!

The optimum length for your CV

Try and keep your CV to two pages.

Recruiters and employers read hundreds of CV’s, and you don’t want yours to be looked over on the basis that you just can’t get to the point. If you find that you have a lot more to say, my advice is to list the most important factors on the CV, and save the rest for the interview.

If you feel it will support your case for a specific application attach a separate document as an appendix, separate attachment of case studies or detail specifics in the cover letter.

To ensure that you don’t make you CV unnecessarily lengthy, visit the following pages for tips on how to write an effective CV that is succinct and clear: 

 


CV Topics

 

Graphics and photographs in your CV

Personally, I quite like photos – most hate them! A tasteful passport photo can add a sense of personality to a document which can otherwise be devoid of character. You should bear in mind, however, that no employer will ever employ you on the basis of the photo. Regardless of how attractive you may look, it will never be a factor in your employability.

If you choose the wrong photograph it could actually be a huge hindrance. A photo of you on a night out with friends won’t make the right impression to a potential employer. My advice would be that using a photograph could be a reason for people to make assumptions so don’t bother unless it is relevant to the application.

Use a subtle graphic or watermark if you choose to do so BUT keep it simple and appropriate, less is more!

The best fonts for your CV

Use a standard TrueType font. Firstly, it looks better as as it is a regularly used font and secondly all TrueType fonts will be picked up by OCR (optical recognition) software. Never send a ‘hard copy’ of your CV in a font that is not TrueType (most are nowadays in standard Office products and can be identified by a TT next to the font). NB, you can’t go wrong with Times New Roman, Arial, Franklin and Tahoma (and courier/century schoolbook but they’re looking somewhat dated now.)
 

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CV Topics

 

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