CV & cover letter tips
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.