Your CV or 'career resume' should provide an easy-to-follow breakdown of your career, skills, experience and qualities to help prospective employers assess your suitability for a job. Drawing up a CV from scratch and periodically updating it, is a useful self-development exercise, which helps act as an additional check to guard against possible shortfalls in your skills portfolio.
A chronological CV is the most widely used format in which you set out your career history working back from the present day through to your first post. The reason for presenting your current position first is to help your prospective employer see your most recent achievements. Evidence of recent accomplishments is usually more pertinent and meaningful than those of, say 15 or more years ago.
You may wish to tailor your CV and in particular the profile to emphasise the match between those qualities that you have and what the employer is looking for. Generally however your "standard" CV should be sufficient for most job applications with the covering letter focusing on match of experience etc for the job being applied for.
Developing a CV
The purpose of the CV is to get you an interview. It is not a substitute for an interview. Hopefully that will come later. The CV should not be an exhaustive list of everything you have ever done, it must have impact and for that it should be concise. Your CV should reflect the facts of your employment but it must sell your positive points and show what you have done / achieved in the job. Your CV should present your capabilities and experience in up to three pages (no more), to make the employer want to find out more about what you have to offer. A CV can be tailored to meet a specific opportunity but this may not always be appropriate particularly when making a speculative approach to an organisation.
First page of CV
Start with contact details i.e. name, address, telephone numbers and E-mail address if you have one. The Profile is important and can be re-written and tailored for each specific application if you wish. Key Skills should be bullet pointed with a maximum of 6-7 and can also be directly related to the requirements expressed in the Job Specification/Advertisement. The advantage of this approach is that when the employer looks at the profile and skills they will see immediately that you meet the advertised requirements. To do this it is important not only to read the specification closely but UNDERSTAND what is meant by what has been expressed and be able to reflect this in your own words relative to your own unique achievements.
With regard to Career History each job which should be headed by a brief introducing sentence outlining key responsibilities and then it is important to show what you have achieved. The Bullet Point achievements should all open with past tense achievement verbs, "devised, introduced, co-ordinated" etc. and should generally be quantifiable and verifiable such as "by 30%, being promoted by, £7M per annum" etc. this is much more impressive than merely saying that 'a good job was done'. For impact, as well as for practical reasons, the list for recent jobs should be limited to the most relevant half dozen or so achievements. For earlier jobs this should be reduced to capture the essence of what was achieved.
Following pages of CV
If the first page is not done effectively then the risk is that the following pages will not be read.
Page one will have clear contact details, the tailored Profile and the Career History with achievements from the most recent and relevant jobs. The following Pages provide meaningful back up. The discipline of page one must be maintained throughout. Having got the potential employers interest the following pages should confirm the initial impression that you are indeed worth interviewing.
- With jobs further back in your career history you should keep the descriptions short. Not only were these achievements some time ago but the Industry was different then and you probably had less responsibility. However do ensure that a good clear record of progression is demonstrated and that there are no unexplained gaps in your history. Although these entries should be brief, dont waste the opportunity to highlight important achievements.
- List principal qualifications that are relevant. Focus on what matters now. Remember to (briefly) indicate dates and awarding body. Be selective for now as you can always add in more detail when you get to the interview. Do ensure, however, that you include those that are both relevant and important.
- Date of Birth and possibly marital status if you feel this is relevant. A brief statement of fact. No need to dwell on these or to give undue prominence.
- Interests need to be handled carefully. Most of us have a range of outside interests and whilst potential employers might be impressed, they can just as easily be put off. This is likely to be the case if they think that you might be running a business in your spare time, or be prone to suffer from sports injuries or from the "morning after" your hectic social life. Equally someone with no interests is scarcely credible. Sound advice is to select from your wide range of interests those that are socially admired, safe and unlikely to deter a prospective employer.
- You may want to add some brief details on any Professional Affiliations, Publications or special honours that you have been awarded. At all times be aware of what the prospective employer is likely to find relevant and positive for the particular job in question.
Example CV style
About 30 words describing who and what you are and a brief outline of your expereince.eg
( Senior Manager in Logistics with a substantial background in the Oil & Gas industry
- Excellent communicator
- Highly motivated
- In depth experience, in
- Well qualified in both
- Expert skills in
|Name of Company||Date from present|
Brief description of the job and your responsibilities
- Achievment 1
- Achievement 2
- Achievment 3
- Achievement 4
|Name of Company||Date from to|
Brief description of Job etc
Education and Training
|University / College etc||dates to and from|
Date of Birth
Any other relevant information you feel appropriate
list some interests
Information on CV preparation is contained in the Institute of Petroleum Lifetime Learning Work book however we do provide -
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