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Career Advice: Writing your CV

Your curriculum vitae (CV), or resume, is one of your first selling tools. Keep it short, simple and to the point.

A CV should contain:

Personal details


• Full name
• Address
• Phone
• Fax
• E-mail
• Date of birth


Qualifications


Starting with the most recent include:

Starting with the most recent include:


• Name of course, level achieved and when it took place, eg September 1995 - June 1996 PGDip Publishing and Book Production (Distinction).
• Name of institution, eg University of Plymouth
• With Junior and Leaving Cert results do not list all your subjects. Give a brief summary highlighting impressive results or subjects relevant to the job in question, eg 7 x hons [including English (hons) A2].
• Include part-time or ongoing study.


Work experience


Starting with the most recent/most relevant first include:


• Job title, start and finish dates, eg June 2000 to present Content Editor.
• Company, eg Unison.
• Brief description of various duties in order of importance.
• List these in point format, only elaborating if necessary. Be specific, eg Sub-editing news summaries for daily release onto the web.


Skills


• Highlight specific skills, knowledge or attributes starting with most impressive/most relevant to the particular job application.
• Include others that may not be directly related to illustrate a range of abilities.
• Include things like computer skills listing the particular software/hardware packages, languages, typing skills, training courses not highlighted in the qualifications section (include when and where the training took place).


Achievements


• This is where you can include activities over and above job experience and study which show constructive use of your spare time.
• Include things like positions held on committees, charity work, public speaking, competitions etc.


Hobbies and interests


• Use this section to show that you have interests outside the job, an ability to function within a team or other interests that may tie in with the job application in question.
• Do not just list them, give a brief description, eg Reading [what exactly? ie 20th century fiction], Sport [which sports? ie tennis, badminton and squash].


Referees and references


• Referees are considered more important these days than letters of reference, although it is good to have both.
• Always ask for a reference after having worked for someone, even if it is only a few days or in a voluntary capacity.
• Referees should be people who have been involved in some form of supervisory or management situation with you in a previous workplace or relevant situation.
• Employers are keen to know work specific details, such as whether you are reliable, can work under pressure or have good communication skills with the general public.
• Do not give a referee's name without asking them first.
• If you have not been in the workforce for a while, then include references and referees from people who have observed you in a role of responsibility.
• Tailor referees and references to the job where possible.
• It is best to write Referees available on request. When the company rings for the referee name, you can get in touch with the referee and alert them to the kind of job you are seeking.

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