How to write a successful CV

How to write a successful CV
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Keep your curriculum vitae simple. Your curriculum vitae must be concise. Your curriculum vitae must be easy to read. Your curriculum vitae must sell you. And your curriculum vitae must be tailored to what the reader is looking for. These CV and letter principles apply to all career moves. Having a good CV is essential for full-time jobs, part-time, internal, external, promotions, new jobs, career changes, internships and work experience placements - wherever an employer or decision-maker is short-listing or interviewing or selecting applicants. Short-listed and successful candidates are invariably the people who provide employers with the best CVs and best covering letters. A CV does not have to be a text document. It can be a video. If a picture tells a thousand words, imagine what moving pictures can convey about you. The technology exists now for anyone to create a video CV, and to upload it onto a website - including this one. These notes are therefore not restricted to text-based CVs. The principles are good for your video CV too. Text or Video - the same principles apply. How you perform at the interview or group selection is of course crucial, but only the people with the best CVs and letters get to that stage.

Your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself to a new employer, so it’s important you make it work for you. They can be very different depending on the job you’re chasing, but there’s some basic advice that can be applied to most people.

Avoiding any negativity
In terms of language, your CV should steer away from putting things in negative terms. So when addressing any adversity for example, the technique is to present such "challenges" as triumphant. Avoiding negative words such as "hate", "argued", "quit", "ignored" or "tried" is best policy, even if they honestly reflect your personal feelings. Alternative suitable phrases would be "overcame", "persuaded", "re-approached" and "delivered" for example. Similarly negative experiences shouldn’t be conveyed as acts of failure but as opportunities for personal development. So for instance an occasion where maybe difficulties within your team caused a missed deadline, you might say the experience taught you valuable lessons about people management, hinting at how that knowledge has been applied since.

Advice for the length of your CV ranges from 1-2 pages. One thing’s for sure, it’s definitely not a good idea to go on for reams and reams. When an employer has hundreds to go through, they’re not going to take the time to read your 10 page CV which lists in minute detail everything you’ve ever done.

Personal Profile
Five to seven high impact statements that describe you. These are effectively your personal strengths. Be bold, confident and positive when you construct these key statements. Orientate the descriptions to the type of job you are seeking. If you have a serious qualification and it's relevant, include it as the final point. Look at the examples shown to see how these statements use powerful words and professional business vocabulary.

Work experience
This is not your career history. It's a bullet points description of your experience and/or your capabilities. Make sure you orientate these simple statements to meet the requirements of the reader, in other words ensure the experience/strengths are relevant to the type of job/responsibility that you are seeking. Again try to use powerful statements and impressive language - be bold and check that your chosen language and descriptions look confident and positive. If you are at the beginning or very early stage of your career you will not have much or any work experience to refer to, in which case you must refer to other aspects of your life experience - your college or university experience, your hobbies, social or sports achievements, and bring out the aspects that will be relevant to the way you would work.

This is another area which should be tailored to the specific industry you’re applying to. For instance, you’re likely to use much more formal language when chasing a job as a lawyer than you would applying for a job as a photographer. Don’t be afraid to throw in some specific lingo related to the job industry, but don’t make your entire CV a page of jargon. When making claims on your CV, such as “boosted sales figures” make sure you quantify such statements, how much did you boost sales by?

Education and Qualifications
Depending on the person and the job vacancy and the employer's expectations it is often better to show education and qualifications in a separate section, rather than within the Personal Details, as a way of giving them greater emphasis and clarity. If so then this section can be placed after or before the Personal Details, or given higher prominence if the situation warrants it. The level of detail and type of detail in this section should change as your career progresses. For example your school/college exams subjects and grades would be highly relevant when you are seeking your first job, but after working for 5-10 years, especially if you've achieved further training and qualifications, your school/college qualifications warrant far less detail and prominence. As ever,,include and emphasise details according to the jobs you are seeking, and what the employers will find most relevant and useful. Team
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