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The importance of an eye-catching, well written and informative CV can never be underestimated and ultimately can be the difference between you securing that dream job or not. A CV is a personal marketing tool which presents to employers your relevant academic qualifications, work experience and skills.

The main aim of the CV is to highlight your strengths and suitability for the post in order to obtain a first interview. Two pages of A4 is more than enough room to persuade your potential employer that you're worth contacting for an interview. Unless you're going for a design, layout should always be second stage to the content of your CV. Black and white text on a clean design is all you need so don't over do it.

Use your name to head your CV rather than "Curriculum Vitae". The type of information you include in your CV and the structure can vary.

Before you start your CV it is important to research the area of work thoroughly. Analyse vacancies, job adverts and job descriptions. Look at the company brochures and websites. Speak to personal contacts in the area of work you're interested in. This will help you identify the key skills the employer will be looking for and what evidence you can present to reflect these skills. Keep your CV relevant and don't waffle. Avoid long sentences and large blocks of text. Instead use short dynamic phrases and make effective use of bullet points and subheadings.

Use positive paraphrases that demonstrate your enthusiasm and motivation. For example, keen, interested in, particularly enjoyed, and use positive verbs such as developed, implemented, completed, and motivated rather than helped and did.

The following information is normal included on a CV:

Personal details. Ensure you include your name, address, email address and phone number. Personal profile of career objective: This is optional. If you do choose to have this section remember to keep it clear and specific.

Relevant skills and achievements: Should be targeted to what the employer is looking for. For each skill you mention you must ensure you provide relevant evidence to how you have developed that skill. Remember to consider all aspects of your life in terms of what you have to offer. For example, part time jobs, vacation work, spare time activities and family commitments.

Education and qualifications: Details about your education are usually stated in reverse chronological order with your most recent experiences first going back to your secondary level education. You should include dates, the name of the institution/place of study and time. Ensure you have marketed the latter education and professional training more fully. You might want to include a list of relevant modules, information about projects and dissertations, received graded or predicted grades and skills development.

Work experience: This should include any paid and voluntary experience you may have. Details to include are the company you worked for, your job title and how long you've worked there. You should also outline your responsibilities. However, you only need to provide basic information as you will have provided evidence of your skills development on page 1.

Interests: This section provides you with the opportunity to highlight any extra curricular activities that you have enjoyed doing and may help to enhance your application. If you do decide to list your interests, avoid generalisations such as reading, socialising, going to the cinema and listening to music.

References: Please use a variety of references. Generally an academic or a work related reference are offered. Ask your referee if they're willing to provide a reference before putting their name on your CV. Ask if you may put down a telephone number and email address and always give your referee a copy of your CV to keep them informed about your career plans.


Research the job and the company.

Tailor your CV to the job requirements.

Keep to 2 pages.

Keep it relevant.

Provide evidence of skills required.

Check your spelling and grammar.

When possible your CV should always be accompanied by a covering letter. Use it to put your CV in context with the position or organisation outlining how you relate to its values, ethos and aspirations.

Use the following format as a guide for your letter:

Briefly introduce yourself. State the post you're applying for and where you saw it advertised.

Explained why you're interested in this type of work and show an understand of what its likely to involve.

Explain why you're interested in working for this particular employer, demonstrate enthusiasm and evidence of research into an aspect of their successes, involvements, values or clients.

Ensure there are no errors and spelling mistakes and that you have written the addressees name correctly.

* For more info on what your CV should look like, check out the video below.*

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