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what makes a good CV? as an employer what do you look for? tips/advice please

(21 Posts)
loho Tue 22-Jan-13 18:39:37

Hi, title says it all really.
I'm starting my CV from scratch and would be grateful if some of you lovely people could help point me in the right direction!!
Advice on the basics as well as how to make it stand out please!!!

chocolatecheesecake Tue 22-Jan-13 18:51:50

Ensure spelling and grammar correct.
Ensure chronology of jobs/training accurate and complete.
I bin CVs that do not have this.

Keep it short - two pages max. Start with a brief para summarising your key skills and experience. Then your current role and work backwards in time. For each role summarise key achievements and responsibilities, quantifying where possible.

Then education, training and any relevant voluntary work (explaining what skills/experience you've gained as a result). Finally contact details, and two referees.

Good luck!

oddslippers Tue 22-Jan-13 18:56:10

Don't expand too much on every position held just the 2 most recent, unless you have past positions which directly relate to the job applied for. Hearing about responsibilities of your Saturday job when you were 16 is irrelevant if you're now 26, etc

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 22-Jan-13 19:32:00

Concise as said before 2 pages max. Covering letter should show that you have tried to make an effort to research my organisation.
If you are a graduate I don't care about GCSEs or A-Levels, but I am concerned with what skills you have acquired in previous roles.

PrincessOfChina Tue 22-Jan-13 19:35:14

Two pages max, focus on skills towards top, no gaps in job chronology, only relevant exam results.

The one thing guaranteed to make me bin a CV is if you say you enjoy socialising as a hobby. I take it as a sign you have no actual interests and are probably a social buffoon.

BananaGio Tue 22-Jan-13 19:46:07

Make sure you start with your most recent job and work backwords. I get so many that start with - in 1976 i worked at.... so by the time i get to the end and discover they have relevant experience I am frustrated!
Bullet points rather than wordy paragraphs.
Highlight any achievements in post.

loho Tue 22-Jan-13 19:46:48

O christ I'm really nervous, I'm applying for a management role in my current setting, I'm lacking in management experience and slightly underqualified but this will be over looked for the "right person" presuming they are willing to undertake training (which I am more than happy to do)
Should I mention my family in my personal statement? Its a massive part of who I am but do employers think it is relevant?

chicaguapa Tue 22-Jan-13 19:50:35

Put an achievement for each job, ie developed role to include x or achieved promotion in 2 years.

I also write a cv for a specific job where I can concentrate on what's really relevant. Or you can have a skills-based cv which concentrates on the skills and experience you can bring to the role.

Have a good Google and look for the phrases to avoid and always back up statements with evidence. Anyone can say they have excellent communication skills, but if you put that your background as x helped you developed excellent communication skills it sounds better.

flowery Tue 22-Jan-13 19:53:59

Your cv is not a document about who you are. It is a means of communicating to an employer the information you think will get you the job in question.

Therefore no, your family isn't relevant. This is about work. Your personal statement should be about the qualities that make you the best person for the job.

flowery Tue 22-Jan-13 19:57:46

Here's my top cv tips cut and pasted from loads of other threads.

'Put personal information at the top (name, address, contact number only, not 'married 3 kids age 37 favourite colour blue').

Put a personal profile-type statement after that, just a couple of lines summing up what experience/skills you have to offer and the type of position/company you are looking for. Obviously make sure these tie in with the job you are applying for.

For each job, put dates, job title and employer, in reverse date order. For most recent/relevant jobs put a list of bullet points of main responsibilites and/or achievements. Do this with the job description for the job you want in front of you so you can emphasise relevant stuff.

Then qualifications/training. List in most recent order, include relevant training courses and higher education if you have it. Don't put Home Ec O Level. Everything on your cv should help you get the job you are looking for, and school exams usually won't unless you are a school leaver or very early in your career.

Don't put photos or anything else annoying and irrelevant, don't put it in a folder or on pink paper, don't staple it. It needs to be easy to read and easy to copy. Put page numbers and your name in the footer of each page in case of mishaps with photocopying.

It should be no more than 2 sides if at all possible. Don't leave gaps but jobs that were ages ago and/or are not relevant can be just listed with dates and little or no information about them.'

helpyourself Tue 22-Jan-13 20:01:10

^^ as chicaguapa says customise your cv to each job. Sit down with the person specification and job description and write it.
No more than 2 pages, no spelling or grammar mistakes. No nonprofessional email addresses, if you're, create a new one. If your application is via email send the cv as an attachment with a relevant name, eg.
JaneDoeGreggsCV. The rest is personal- some people hate third person, chronological or skills based, others rate them...
Just make sure your contact details are correct and there are no howlers.
And keep a copy to refer to at interview. wink

flowery Tue 22-Jan-13 20:08:54

ooh yes I hate third person. Don't pretend you are someone else writing about you.

CarpeJugulum Tue 22-Jan-13 20:10:23

Good cover email/letter as well as the CV.

We advertised and the amount of decent CV's were daunting, but then when we looked at the covering letter or email and we weeded out about two thirds of them.

The CV's had obviously been proofed and checked, but the letters were shocking. Bad spelling, punctuation and little attention to detail with basic details incorrect - our company name spelt incorrectly, addressed to "Mr" despite my name clearly marked as "Mrs"; all assigned to the dustbin!

MumOfTheMoos Tue 22-Jan-13 20:12:02

Absolutely no spelling, grammar or formatting mistakes - if they can't pay the attention to detail at this point I'm going to spend my life checking everything they do.

TheCrackFox Tue 22-Jan-13 20:12:15

Sorry to hi jack!

If they ask for a covering letter do you add that as an attachment or put in the body of the email?

loho Tue 22-Jan-13 20:16:33

Thank you everyone! I really do appreciate you taking the time to help me
I was going t buy a wee folder to put it in to make it look nice, I'm glad I didn't!
What about font? And size? (Or am I now seriously overthinking it??)

slambang Tue 22-Jan-13 20:19:52

YY to Flowery. A cv is not a list of everything you've ever done. It's an overview of the relevant skills and experience you have relating to the role you are going for.
(So no marital status, number of children and member of the church choir etc- unless you're going for a job as Maria von Trapp)

State your skills and experience in terms of evidence that you do it well ,not just in terms of listing responsibilities/ duties.
e.g. Not 'Responsibilities include managing a sales team' But 'Creating and motivating a highly effective and mutually supportive team, resulting in an increase of sales by 30% within 3 months'. (or whatever).

If you are a pig farmer/ lollypop lady/ vicar the employer will know what your job involves and they don't need to read your job description, but how will they judge if you're good at being a farmer/ lollypop lady/ vicar or better than the other farmers? So tell them what matters to them - i.e. the size of your pigs/ how many children you haven't got squashed or how many souls you've saved.

Good luck!

CarpeJugulum Tue 22-Jan-13 20:29:56

If you are sending the CV by email, then I'd expect either:

- covering letter in email body, or
- "please find attached my covering letter and CV"

And I'd suggest converting the CV to PDF format - it makes it look more professional and means you can't see all the formatting issues wink

TheCrackFox Tue 22-Jan-13 20:45:53

Thanks Carpe.

Things were so much easier when it was just a normal letter. (showing my age, sigh)

emess Tue 22-Jan-13 22:50:29

If I can disagree ... I used to advise the 2-pages rule but recently I've been reading much longer CVs and I belive there is no harm in a longer one as long as it's both relevant and well laid out. I've had to read one that was in about 6pt font size (tiny, to those unfamiliar with font sizes) with all 4 margins minimised to the extreme. It was very difficult to read! I'm a fan of lists and bullet points, which are easy to skim-read. I had 120 CVs for one post ... please make it easy for the poor sod to choose yours!

DevaDiva Wed 23-Jan-13 11:11:33

As long as it's relevant then you can go over the 2 page rule, this often is the case if your role is particularly technical as there is so much to include.

Minimum font size 10pt, use a sans serif font and one that is widely used like arial, although as Carpe said converting to a pdf will negate any formatting issues.

Some great advice on here. My problem is the right roles just aren't coming up so i'm on speculative CVs and the dreaded follow ups sad

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