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Curriculum Vitae (CV) Guide

There is no absolute right or wrong format for a CV, but most tend to follow the guidelines below. In summary, it is acceptable to deviate from these guidelines and where the role is looking for specific information, it is advisable to ensure that the most relevant information is at the fore. Additionally, do not write a 'War & Peace'. Two to three pages is generally enough and more will tend to distract and will not be read in detail.

Always ensure that you proof read your CV and if possible get someone else to do the same.

If you are applying for a given position, it should be evident why you are suitable for the role.


Suggested format for a CV, Curriculum Vitae or Resume:

If possible, try to keep your CV to 2-3 pages in length. Ensure that these pages are numbered with your name on each.

Contact Details:
Begin with your personal details: name, address/location, contact details, telephone, mobile, e-mail address.
Personal Profile: (optional)
This is normally two or three sentences that sum up your career achievements to date and any particular special skills you can bring to an employer. It is a selling tool and should include features, achievements & benefits. It is not designed to provide an autobiography. If included, it should be relevant to the requirements of the particular opportunity.
Career History:
This should be in reverse chronological order. Always talk in terms of career history and not work history as this provides a more professional image.

Date Employed: This should include both the month and the year - not just the years alone.

Please note: If you have been with one employer throughout more than one role, or the employers name has changed (for any reason), always head with the complete period. Role changes and promotions should be shown as subheadings. See below regarding company name changes.

Company Name and Location: If the company is not well known, it may be appropriate to include business or business sector. If the company has a high profile parent company, but is not well known itself, always remember to state this information (part of .....Group). Company name changes should be included in brackets after the company name.

Position Held: This should be the full title of the position held whilst employed by the company. If you held a number, they should be listed with the most senior position first plus the dates and the position was held in brackets beside the position title.

Achievements: There should now follow one or two sentences about the responsibilities of the position in general. This should be followed by a list (possibly bulleted) detailing your achievements in the role. This is by far the most important part of any CV. Do not just list the job description. That will add no information about you. You must bring our your personal contribution and achievements, i.e. your 'value add'.

The last two or three positions held should be detailed in the manner described above. Positions prior to this would normally be included in less detail. Again bias should be given to listing your personal achievements and contribution you made to that company.

Skills and Qualifications:

Educational: All educational qualifications should be listed in reverse chronological order with the dates that the qualifications were studied or gained, the institution, and where relevant, the grades obtained.

If you are applying for a role where these qualifications are necessary, you may wish to include this information on page one of the CV or include it in the optional profile.

Professional: Membership to any professional bodies should be included. Other professional qualifications should also be included.

Skills Summary: Where a technical role is being sought, it is usually necessary to include a technical skills summary; e.g. platform, software, languages etc. This should also include the level of proficiency; e.g. beginner, competent, expert, and sometimes the years/months of exposure. This type of information is often best represented in a table.

Languages: These should be listed including degree of fluency.

Personal Details:

Date of Birth: If actual age is included - make sure it is current.

Marital Status: This can be included on page one if it is particularly relevant - e.g. for an overseas posting. NB: certain countries will not allow work/resident permits for couples who are not married.

Leisure Activities: This will often show an insight into your broader personality. However, it is not wise to list too many here as prospective employers may wonder when you have time to work. Also, sports that have a high element of risk can cause concern with regard to possible injury.

Driving licence: This should be included when relevant to the position, e.g. sales. It is advisable to note if there are any driving penalties registered, as some companies may have limitations on their insurance policies.

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