A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a factual summary of your career to date. It is usually a standard document with a covering letter that highlights your specific skills, experience and qualifications. As it is your first selling tool you should consider content, length and presentation in order to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. There is no definitive guide for writing an effective CV but we have provided some useful hints and suggestions, which we hope you will find beneficial.
Keep it clear, concise and instantly recognisable. It should contain your name and address and other relevant contact information for the employer such as contact phone numbers and e-mail addresses if applicable. You can also provide other personal details if you feel it is appropriate for your application.
Start with your most recent qualifications and include:
- Name of course, grade achieved and when it took place
- Name of College or University
- Give a brief outline of your Leaving Certificate results rather than listing all subjects.
You could also highlight key achievements of your school years if appropriate. This section gives you an opportunity to demonstrate how you have grown and changed as a result of college. Eg: problem solving, team work, research work, deadlines and timeframes etc.
Starting with the most recent you should include:
- Job title, start and finish date
- Organisation name and nature of business
- Job role and duties carried out
Ensure all information is relevant and recent. Highlight job roles where you gained the most experience. Link your previous job roles with the position advertised to demonstrate that you are the best fit for the position on offer. Try to keep the information concise yet detailed and related to the vacancy. Explain any gaps or missing time periods in your CV.
Additional Skills and Experience:
This should include skills, knowledge and experiences, which have not been detailed elsewhere. You should relate as many of these specific skills to the advertised position further highlighting your suitability for the position. Items such as foreign languages, computer and keyboard proficiency, driving licence and other relevant information should be cited.
Interests and Activities:
Include activities carried out after work or college, which show constructive use of your spare time. Offer variety and detail to the reader and include examples where you can demonstrate evidence of responsibility and initiative.
It is usually better to write References are available on request . When the company rings for your referees names, you can contact them and provide them with an outline of the position you are applying for.
If you want to include referees details, offer two - one from your academic experience and one from your most recent work experience if you have just left college. Where you have been in the workplace for a number of years you will be asked for a reference from your current and previous employer.
Remember to ask their permission and choose people who you feel will write effectively about you. Also try to tailor referees and references to the particular job.
- Write your CV in such a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. You must attract the attention of the employer to get called for interview
- Make your CV personal, clear and concise. Avoid clutter and graphic designs on your pages
- Use bullet points where appropriate and avoid writing paragraphs. You are being judged for what you write, not how you do so. The interviewer should notice keywords instantly
- Two pages is sufficient to demonstrate your suitability for the role (attach a Cover Page to the outside)
- Emphasise all the skills you possess which are applicable for the job
- Place all your previous jobs in chronological order and explain any gaps during jobs
- Finally, if you are e-mailing your CV, ensure that it is in printer friendly format. Alternatively, avoid binding your CV if you are posting. A plastic wallet folder is often sufficient .
Writing your Cover Letter:
A cover letter is often underestimated in terms of importance, which is a huge mistake. An employer/recruiter will be inundated with applications for a position and will base much of their decisions on the cover letter. Therefore, in order to get called for interview it is essential to spend quality time preparing a letter, which will complement your attached CV.
It should be clear and forthright, outlining why you are the ideal person for the job.
Refer to the job title, where you saw the advertisement and the date it appeared. Highlight your skills, qualifications and experience from your CV, which are relevant to the job. Refer to the vacancy advertisement, which may outline specific job requirements and outline how you fill these requirements. Conclude your letter by reiterating your interest and how you would appreciate an interview to expand on your comments.