Time to update your CV

The New Year is approaching, so no better time to update you CV. The article below has been highlighted as being particularly helpful when writing a new CV or updating an old one.

CVs are one of the primary means of submitting an application to an employer. This written document is often the first chance you get to make a good impression on a potential employer. A CV that is focused and well presented will grab an employer’s attention and encourage them to find out more about you. A poorly presented CV, which is unfocused and difficult to read, may seriously harm your chances of an interview. No matter how skilled, qualified or suited to a job you may be, an employer will not be able to recognise this if you’re CV does not clearly depict your qualities.

Writing a CV can often present some challenging questions. Often it can be hard to decided what to include in your CV. This article will look at what could be included in your CV and what is often advisable to omit.

What to include in your CV.
A CV that is easy to read will be attractive to an employer. If your CV presents pertinent information in a logical format, employers will find it quick and easy to gather relevant information about you.

The following categories can help you plan and format your CV in an effective manner. These are common CV categories, which can be given more or less emphasis according to the nature of the post and organisation. The list is not exhaustive, and some categories can be combined, or omitted

  • personal information
  • career goal or personal profile
  • education and qualifications
  • employment and work experience
  • achievements
  • skills
  • interests and activities
  • awards/prizes
  • publications
  • languages
  • professional organisations
  • other information
  • referees

Common errors in CVs

Untrue information- while you can put a spin on your CV to emphasize your experience by using strong, positive language, do not include anything that is untrue.

A famous case in the UK recently concerned a NHS Trust Chief Executive who earned £115,000. When applying he claimed he had a degree and a graduate diploma but in fact he had only two A levels. He was given a 12 month suspended sentence and had his name splashed all over the news and press.

Spelling errors and typos- incorrect spelling or grammar may make it easy for an employer to pass over you as a candidate, particularly if there is strong competition for a job. Errors can show apathy and lack of attention to detail. Make sure to check you CV thoroughly and ask someone else to read it over also.

Language- the language you use in you CV will influence how easy it is for an employer to read it. While it is fine to use complex terms and language suited to the agri sector when the role is technical, make sure the terms are relevant. It also seen as polite to provide a full description of abbreviations and acronyms’ that may not be widely known. The language you use should be easily understood and neither confuse or irritate the reader. Keep things simple and clear.

I enjoy reading crime novels.
I like nothing better than immersing myself within the pages of a novel.

Show some enthusiasm
An enthusiastic approach will portray you as a person who is interested and committed to performing the role to the best of their abilities. Your CV should convey strongly your interest and motivation for the job as well as your skills and experience. Here are examples of some power words that may help you sell yourself:

Determined Charted Analysed Trained
Performed Coordinated Assisted Calculated
Researched Evaluated Represented Studied

CV Checklist
How does your completed CV measure up against this checklist?

  • My name and contact details are clearly stated at the head of the page.
  • The information is accurate and truthful.
  • The CV is targeted to the job.
  • The important facts are prioritised and the most important supporting evidence is prominent.
  • It is clear, easy to read and pleasing to the eye.
  • It creates the right impression. (Use good quality neutral coloured paper and don't fold or staple it.)
  • It only includes relevant information that supports the application.
  • I have demonstrated all my relevant skills, both transferable and subject related.
  • I have given evidence for every claim I have made about myself.
  • The CV is interesting to read, and flows in a logical order.
  • The spelling and grammar are correct and have been checked and double checked.
  • There are no typos.
  • Someone else has checked for errors.