CV & cover letter tips

CV Prep

Preparing your CV is a vital step towards getting an interview. Your CV is a chance to impress a prospective employer with your skills and experience. The following tips will help you to create a strong CV:

  • Print your CV on A4, white paper with a professional looking font. Try Helvetica rather than classics, Times New Roman, Courier and Comic Sans.
  • Write a short personal profile ( three or four lines) at the beginning of your CV, outlining your strengths, experience and career objectives.
  • Make sure your CV is comprehensible and easy to read.
  • Keep the layout simple and avoid pictures or graphics.
  • Do not include photographs or references unless requested in your application.
  • Prepare your CV chronologically – your educational history, academic achievements and work experience should be listed in reverse order.
  • Use bullet points to summarise key responsibilities and achievements; avoid lengthy paragraphs.
  • Try to keep your CV to two pages long, three maximum.
  • If there are gaps on your CV, explain why: you went travelling, started a course, bringing up children, etc.
  • A CV should tell the interviewer enough to be able to match you to the position, but also allow discussion points at interview, so there is no need to write an essay – keep it concise!
  • Make sure you run a spell and grammar check on your CV before it is sent out to a prospective employer.
  • Make sure you have included all of your personal information, especially contact details.
Cover Letter Prep

Your CV should always be accompanied by a cover letter. While your CV is a sales document that lists your experience and skills, a cover letter is more a personal description of yourself and how you meet the requirements of the role. It’s important to remember that your cover letter should not be a copy of your CV, but an independent document highlighting your suitability for the job. The following tips will help you to create an attractive cover letter:

  • Personalise your cover letter and address it to the individual responsible for hiring.
  • Introduce yourself and illustrate how you meet the requirements of the role.
  • Be concise (three of four paragraphs long) and make sure your spelling and grammar is correct.
  • Explain any employment gaps.
  • Your cover letter shouldn’t be a template; it should be customised for each job you are applying for.
  • Email your cover letter and CV as attachments. Don’t paste them into the body of an email.