Composing A Curriculum Vitae
Your Curriculum Vitae and covering letter essential tools in most job searches. Like any
marketing document a Curriculum Vitae should help you to sell yourself. Here are just some
areas you may wish to consider when composing your Curriculum Vitae.
- Think about your skills, competencies, qualifications and experiences. What are your unique selling points and strengths?
- If you are replying to a specific job advertisement review what key words and tasks were used in the advertisement. Use these words on your Curriculum Vitae.
- Remember that you want your Curriculum Vitae to be read and responded to. Tempt the recipient. Include just enough information to stimulate interest, but not so much that you bore the reader.
- Three pages maximum is preferred. Every word must contribute to the overall message - so keep it brief and make sure that the contents are relevant to the job you are looking for NOW - not your last one.
- Ensure you Curriculum Vitae is well structured; this gives the impression that you think logically and makes it easier to review. A Curriculum Vitae that is hard to read is often put aside and forgotten.
- When writing the Curriculum Vitae remember self-opinion is best avoided. It might be an idea to attach copies of recent appraisals instead.
- Pay close attention to reply instructions in advertisements (e.g. spelling of the contact's name, closing dates). Have someone check your spelling and grammar.
Contents of Curriculum Vitae
- You need to contain your personal details (name, address, telephone numbers, education and qualifications) and a brief general overview of your skills, experience and the nature of work sought. If you are seeking temporary work do not forget to include availability and preferred locations.
- Present employment history in chronological order (ie, last job first). If you have worked for only one company for some time, break it down with an entry for each position or projects dealt with. For each position held describe the work undertaken, duties and responsibilities.
- List your hobbies and interests in no more than three lines if they are relevant. Any voluntary, charity or external posts you have e.g. school governor, referee are worth including.
- It is recommended that details of two references are given. Ask permission before you forward such information.
The Covering Letter
- Curriculum Vitae are seldom used alone; a letter or telephone call should always introduce them.
- A good introduction can save you from having to re-write the Curriculum Vitae each time you want to target your application to a specific advertisement or sector. Nevertheless keep your Curriculum Vitae up to date. Using an out of date Curriculum Vitae may exclude you from consideration.
Recruitment Agency Introductions
- Always ask the recruitment agency for a copy of the Curriculum Vitae they are intending to send to clients on your behalf.
- You should also ask the recruitment consultancy to explain its policy on submitting your Curriculum Vitae or details to a prospective employee. Will they always contact you before putting you forward? I f you always want to be consulted before your name is put forward for a vacancy, tell the consultancy - but bear in mind that employers often put consultancies under a great deal of time pressure. To avoid missing opportunities you will need to stay in close contact with the consultancy.
- Only allow the agency that first contacts you about a specific vacancy to act on your behalf. Multiple submissions by different consultancies can confuse potential employers - they do not multiply your chances of success.