Preparing a CV

The Perfect CV  
The perfect CV is the one that gets you an interview!

In reality, there is no such thing as the perfect CV.  Your CV should be targeted for the job in question and summarize your appropriate qualities, education and experiences. It should focus on showing how you can meet the criteria that are necessary for the advertised job. It should be clearly laid out, informative and logically ordered. The grammar and spelling should be checked and rechecked. Do not rely on a spell checker. Your greatest quality for this job should be displayed on the upper middle of the front page. This may be a qualification, an award or any appropriate experience.

Where possible, the CV’s clarity and conciseness should help to make you stand out from the very many other applicants. It should be easy for the reader to pick out your key attributes and see how you are suitable for the position, without reading lots of text. It should not be more than 2 pages. It should be honest. A lie, if detected, will exclude you from the competition or if you are offered the position, may have very serious consequences if it is detected at some future date. The cover letter should link together the skills required in the position with those you have described in your CV. Using a good quality paper of attractive colour, especially in the cover letter, can make your application stand out from others.


It will show your personal details and contact information; name address, telephone and email. Date of birth, place of birth and marital status are not normally required.


It will show your qualifications, the name of the awarding institution(s) and the year(s) of awards.  Give brief details of any recommendations, awards received or specific academic achievements.


Outline your work experience, focussing on those that are useful for the position advertised.  Use positive terminology; managed…,   developed…., organized…., coordinated etc.


Briefly outline your interests and achievements, using bullet points to reduce boring text and demonstrate a range of interests. Avoid passive, solitary hobbies; e.g. watching TV, chilling out, reading etc., which may give the impression that you are not good team player. Evidence of leadership is always good e.g. captain, class representative, chairman etc.


A second language, higher computer/IT skills, driving licence etc. may be desirable for some employers. Don’t forget to include any experience you have with Voluntary Groups or Charity work that you have done. This shows commitment, good time management and networking skills.


The names and contact details of 3 appropriate referees are usually supplied on your CV.


MS Word is probably the most widely used format for generating CVs. If you are sending it electronically as an attachment to an email and if you want it to look exactly like it was when you sent it, you should consider saving and sending it in PDF (portable document format). Readers of this format are available for all platforms (Windows, MacOS and Linux) and employers will not have a problem opening it.