Getting a Job: 2/4 - Curriculum Vitae
Application Form
The Interview
Applying for jobs
A curriculum vitae (CV) should be used for speculative applications or when you are asked to ‘apply in writing’. A CV allows you to present information in the way that you wish. You can be much more flexible and concentrate on areas you want to highlight and which are particularly relevant for the type of post you are seeking.

Is a curriculum vitae important?
A CV is a detailed summary of your past experience. The way you present yourself on a CV is perhaps the most important point when an employer looks to filling a vacancy. A good CV can improve your chances of getting an interview. You need to make your CV so interesting that an employer will want to read it right to the end and follow it up!


What should I say on my CV?

A CV normally includes:

Personal Details: This should include your name, address, telephone number (including the local dialling code), date of birth and any other details you wish to include.

Education, Qualifications & Training: Name the schools and colleges that you have attended together with any exams taken (or to be taken). Accurate dates are important. Do not start at primary level education, start at secondary level. If you have failed an exam you should state that you studied the course.

Work Experience: Put these in order starting with the last job you had. Say where the job was, give the job title and what you did briefly, and the skills you used and experiences gained. Even details of paper rounds and short work experience placements can add to your chances.

Hobbies and Interests: Try to include the things that really interest you. Be selective about what you put down, never exceed about four or five points. Emphasise activities which relate to the job you are applying for.
Your interest should always reflect you as a rounded person with balanced interests.
Always include information about whether you are involved in any sports or whether you sit on any committees or have leadership roles.
Don’t include any interests such as drinking, socialising or other activities of this sort. Use this section to highlight your skills such as leadership, team working, attention to detail, ability to get on with people, creativity, teaching others etc.

References: You should normally include at least two references on any CV; if possible one should be from a previous employer.
If you are currently employed, always include your present employer.
Try to choose referees who know you well and who will be able to point out your skills, such as a teacher who knows you.
Always check with them first. Give their job titles and full address.
Never use your parents or relatives.

Note: You should not use a parent or relative as they may not give a fair and unbiased opinion.

What makes a good CV?
It should be typed on white A4 paper and copied on a good quality machine. Ideally it should be no more than 2 pages long and be in a sensible font and size (12 preferably).  If you are having to use a small font size to keep it to 2 pages you should aim to cut down on the content or be less verbose. A CV should be clearly and neatly laid out and all details checked carefully, the spelling, grammar, dates, postcodes, etc.

Be positive and to the point. Remember it is your personal CV so highlight your strengths. The object of writing a CV is to tell the employer about yourself, your abilities and your skills. Try to start with a punchy statement that will catch the attention of the reader.

Should I write a covering letter?
Always include a covering letter with your CV in speculative applications or in reply to an advertisement.
The letter should be word processed or hand written and well presented.
State why you are writing to that particular company, state the job title, if any, or reference number and where you saw the vacancy.
Try to find out the name of the person who deals with the applications for the company and write directly to them.
Check your spelling and grammar are correct.