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Section3 Curriculum Vitae (cv's)

What is a Curriculum Vitae
What you should include
The layout and style

What is a CV?

Your Curriculum Vitae, (C.V.) is a means of communicating with the recruiter. The purpose of a C.V. is to summarise your personal details and work experience. Attention to its design and submission are very important. Normally you should not use a C.V. where the recruiter issues an application form. Use a C.V. when, for example, the advertised vacancy says: 'send full details to...'
or simply asks for a C.V. If you are sending an 'on-spec' letter, a C.V. with a cover letter is essential.

Whereas application forms are structured with questions and spaces for replies, you can design your C.V. as you think fit. Your C.V. should include information relevant to the recruiter.
Thus, each C.V. that you produce has to be tailored for the specific requirements of each position for which you are applying. A standard, 'mass-produced' C.V. is not the most effective means of presenting yourself for a specific job.

What to include

The content of your C.V. will depend upon the position you are applying for. A C.V. to impress an advertising agency will be of a different style and content to that intended to impress an accountant.

Your C.V. has to provide the recruiter with a picture of you, of your accomplishments and experiences, as well as your potential capabilities. Although it is necessary to use facts when writing your C.V., adopt a style that allows the recruiter to make favourable assumptions about you.

Once you have decided on the style and content of your C.V. you need to follow a number of guidelines. Try to emphasise the most relevant and positive aspects of your qualifications.

1. Start with your Personal details such as name, address, phone number, date of birth. It is not necessary to include your marital status, religion or nationality. This is entirely up to you whether you want to include these details or not.

2. Educational details come next such as the name of your school, the years you attended, the qualifications gained (subjects taken and results of Leaving Certificate if you completed both leaving and Junior Certificate, results of Junior Certificate if you did not do your Leaving Cert.)

3. Further Education such as the name of College attended, dates, subjects/courses, results of examinations etc.

4.Work Experience. The general rule is to start with your most current position and work backwards giving names addresses and dates of the time spent with the company, as well as a brief outline of your duties. Do not forget to include any part-time positions held whilst you were still studying as this shows a willingness to work.

5. Key words to use when mentioning your work experience are;
accomplished, achieved, arranged, contributed, developed, devised, directed, established, initiated, motivated, organised, planned, supervised, sustained.

6..Skills: Include any that you may have gained through work experience, i.e. typing and office skills, interpersonal and reception skills etc.

7. Achievements: Mention any certificates that you have been awarded or whether you have taken part in any fund raising activities, charity events.

8..Hobbies/interests: Mention any spare time activities, any clubs that you belong to, any sports that you play, types of books you read etc. Try to make it as interesting as possible! The general guideline is to include a sport which involves team effort and an individual one.

9..Referees: Choose your referees with care and do not forget to ask the people concerned if you may use them as a referee. Try to include a past employer and school/college teacher

Neatness and accuracy are very important, and don't put anything on your C.V. that is not true as you are only causing problems for yourself in the future.

Write down all the information in a rough manner at first and then check it. Think about what you are saying and how the information will be interpreted before the final draft is typed up.

You should produce an initial first draft and check the following points:

1.Be selective about the education details that you include, e.g. if you have a Degree in Communications, then there is no need to list the results of your Junior Certificate.

2.The length of your C.V. should not normally be more than two A4 pages. Remember, the C.V. is a summary, not a report. The recruiter will receive many C.V.'s and needs to be able to read through them quickly, gaining an initial first impression of your suitability.

3.The various sections of your C.V. should be well spaced with ample margins. A tightly packed C.V. will be difficult to read and digest.

4.The style of writing should be 'snappy' using verbs that suggest dynamism. Sentences, if used should be short and to the point. Just include facts.

5.The tone of your C.V. should be positive and optimistic creating a strong and favourable image.

6.You should then get another person to read through your C.V. to confirm its appropriateness, and to make sure it creates the intended impact. The next stage is to:

7.Have the C.V. professionally typed on good quality paper.

8.Post the C.V. with a covering letter.

9.Keep a copy of the C.V. and read it before any interview you may be called for.

10.As with application forms, the immediate objective of using a C.V. is to obtain an interview. The golden rule for achieving this is to relate your skills and accomplishments to the recruiter's needs. To support the C.V. and to motivate the recruiter to read it you will also have to write a cover letter.

Layout and Style

An important point about the style of your C.V. is that it should be easy to read and concise, using brief, clear statements. 4 or 5 page C.V.'s will not be read. Companies may have hundreds and in some cases thousands of replies to a job advertisement and they just do not have the time to read long C.V.'s. A two page C.V. is the length that you should aim for.
Your C.V. will have a stronger impact if actual facts or figures are included, such as grades achieved in examinations, and successes that you have enjoyed at work, for example, increasing sales turnover by 100% in 12 months! There is normally no need, however, for sentences to be used, as a note-format will suffice.

When applying for posts which demand creativity, you should use a creative approach in designing the C.V., for example write it as if it were a press release.
Alternatively, you could provide an additional 'fact file' that includes further details and examples of your creative work. You will need to give this approach careful consideration and pay attention to detail. If you are sending a fact file it must encourage the selector to read it rather than discard it in the waste paper bin.

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