Steps to Writing a Successful CV

Your CV, or Curriculum Vitae outlines your skills and experience so that a potential employer can see at a glance how you might perform in a particular role. It also distinguishes you from other candidates applying for the same job.

How important is it?

VERY!! Writing an effective CV is vital when looking for employment. A good CV will increase your prospects of getting the job you want. Having an up-to-date CV already prepared will help you to respond quickly when the ideal job comes up.

The way that you present your CV can say a lot about you - remember, first impressions count.

Why do Employers ask for a CV?

To receive a speedy response. It takes less time than sending and waiting for a completed application form (if they have them). They want to see evidence of how well you present yourself on paper.

The Aim of a CV

To provide a comprehensive summary which is concise, easy to read, attractive and appropriate to the organisation and the opportunity.

How do I go about writing a CV?

  • Start by jotting down notes about your previous jobs and experience. This should include the purpose of your job and responsibilities.
  • Write down the dates when you started and finished each job. If you had spells of unemployment include these too, noting what you did with your time - you may have been travelling, doing charitable work etc. It is important that there are no unexplained gaps.
  • Once you have all the information, you must decide which points are the most important. Keep sentences short or use bullet points. Use headings as per the example, this way your information will be organised, easy to read and interesting.
  • When stating your employment history, start with your most recent (or current) job and work backwards.
  • A brief personality profile highlighting your character strengths adds credibility to your applications.
  • Your CV should be concise and no longer than two sheets of A4. A long CV may seem impressive but unnecessary waffle may annoy the people you are trying to impress.
  • Use 'action' words which have a strong impact such as:
    Researched, organised, designed, trained, supervised, directed, planned, expanded, invented, analysed, managed, developed, created, negotiated, increased.

Before sending

  • Always make sure that your CV contains no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors - you would be surprised at the number we receive which do. It is always useful to ask a friend to check it.
  • Make sure it is typed (never hand written), easy to read and professional. Avoid the use of gimmicks i.e. elaborate typefaces and fancy designs. Use adequate line spacing and margins.
  • Always use clean white paper and never give the impression that it has been photocopied.
  • Depending on the type of job you are applying for, it may be necessary to tailor your CV by emphasising or refining different aspects of your experience, qualifications or skills. Don't expect to use the same CV for every job you apply for.
  • Always include a covering letter, addressed to the right person, stating which job you are applying for and use active verbs to describe the skills, abilities and achievements (i.e. managed, co-ordinated, created, developed) that you can bring to the job.

Above all, you must be honest and accurate with the information. This is often used as a basis for your interview and references.

If you are looking for employment and would like Delaney Browne to help you, we will need a copy of your CV preferably sent by email. We will not be able to help you without one.

See also:
Interview Techniques
Sample CV

open quoteI would like to thank all the staff at Delaney Browne for providing me with temporary administrative staff when I have required additional help. All your administrators have had very good office and communication skills and have provided excellent handover notes. Thank you again.close quote

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