Your CV is a marketing tool that enables you to position yourself effectively in the job market. Your CV helps employers determine whether you have the skills and experience for the role. With many applicants for the same job, it is natural to skim read when faced with a mountain of CVs. You must be 'to the point' and concise. An employer should not have to read between the lines, or scan your CV for key words in order to decide whether to interview you.
Some practical points
Your first page
This should contain your personal details; name, address, phone numbers and e-mail, as well as educational details. Qualifications should be ordered to reflect ongoing professional development and do not go into too much detail listing all GCSE and A levels. It should also include a Personal Profile.
Your 'Personal Profile'
The next few sentences are often what will ensure that the reader is encouraged to read on. It is a snapshot of what you do and of everything you have achieved in your career, condensed into two or three sentences. Your profile should contain all of your USPs (unique selling points), giving a brief overview of your skills and experience, as well as the type of role that you seek. You should make it forward looking rather than dwelling on the past and you may need to rewrite it for each job you apply for.
Example: ' A highly self-motivated Systems Developer, with 3 years' experience of building fixed income trading systems through the full project life-cycle using C++ and Java/J2EE. Proficient in structured OO analysis and design techniques and with recent exposure to .Net/C#.'
The second part of your profile should state your career goals and show evidence of self-analysis and forward thinking.
Example: ' I am seeking a hands-on development role, where I can make more use of my mathematical abilities and deepen my technical design skills. My medium term ambition is to move into a role that focuses on enterprise architecture design, as well as applications design.'
A clear objective shows you to be a candidate who has carefully considered their career plan and their next job move. You are serious about getting the right role.
Your 'Career History'
This should be written in reverse chronological order and should concentrate on the most recent achievements. Start with your current employer, position and length of time in that role. Describe specific projects and demonstrate clear career progression by taking care to quantify your achievements.
Example: ' Over the last 12 months, I have been a senior member of a 6-person team responsible for the implementation of additional functionality to the new global fixed income trading system using Java/J2EE and, recently, .Net/C#. I am personally accountable for the rapid delivery of Repo and Asset-backed Securities trading applications using RAD techniques, including pricing and risk management functionality
Previously after completing a 12-month graduate training programme, I was responsible for the ongoing maintenance and support of the legacy trading system, using C++, Perl and Sybase.'
Avoid self-opinion at all costs and concentrate on providing quantifiable proof of your achievements.
Use of language
Try to start each sentence or point with a dynamic word that demonstrates your key skills (i.e. developed, implemented, supported, redesigned, created, managed, directed). Don't forget useful adjectives such as; successfully, rapidly, smoothly and profitably. Avoid bland statements like 'good team player'. You should, again, quantify this by stating how big the team was, what was your position within it, what was its objective and how was this met.
Your LinkedIn and other social media profiles
It is imperative you have a LinkedIn profile that resembles your CV as closely as possible. It should contain a recent business like photo and short, succinct details of your career to date. Also make sure that your Facebook and Twitter profiles are secure and if you don't feel comfortable with your potential employers knowing what you get up to on the weekend then make sure the privacy settings are appropriate. Our clients will look at these if available.
Interests: keep these to a maximum of 3 and avoid anything controversial or too extreme. Tightrope walking and snake charming may make you seem interesting and confident, but may appear to a client to reflect a thrill seeker who takes risks and not someone to be trusted with authority. Be honest, you never know when the interviewer may have the same interest.
Referees: a matter for personal consideration. Put 'available on request' if you wish to preserve confidentiality or make it clear that you do not wish references to be taken up prior to job offer being accepted.
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