The first thing that will bring you to the attention of an employer is your CV. This makes this single piece of paper absolutely vital. This is all going about selling yourself from the page.
WHAT SHOULD YOUR CV INCLUDE?
Think about what it is that you have achieved in terms of experience, skills and qualifications. What is it that makes you unique and employable? What are your strengths?
If you came across the job advertised in a paper for example, then word your CV in terms of the advertisement. Consider the key words and tasks mentioned in the notice and which of these apply to you. Also use these words directly in your CV.
Remember that you want the person reading the page to be as interested as possible. Do not overload them with irrelevant information, but write what is applicable. Three pages is the most that would be acceptable, one would be preferable. Keep the information succinct and in small chunks so it as readable as possible. Keep in mind throughout the CV one message. This is the job for you!
Aim to include factual information. Keep it as objective as possible, focusing on your achievements and significant skills. The structure of your CV is also vital. One which is hard to read will most likely be cast aside without a second glance.
Attention to detail is vital. Take note of spelling. It may be a good idea to get another party to read your CV to check for spelling and grammar errors. Avoid strange fonts and lay-outs as they can be hard to read and could ruin your chances of getting an interview.
THE FIRST PAGE
This should contain your personal details: home address, contact details, qualifications and academic credentials. Include a personal statement mentioning your strengths and interests in the job, experience and the position you seek.
The main body of this should be your employment history. Record it in reverse order, that is, your most recent place of employment first. Should you have only worked at one organisation, break down each of the different roles you fulfilled. Describe the details of the tasks you were required to do.
Bring in any achievements and quantify them wherever possible in terms of sales or finances.
List your most significant experiences and successes under each position which youíve held.
You should mention your hobbies and interests, keeping it within three lines. If you have any special skills such as you speak a foreign language or have received any extra training include those here. Also mention any volunteer or charity work you have been part of.
Include two referees, giving their position titles, addresses and work telephones.
THE COVERING LETTER
You should always introduce a CV by an introductory letter and/or telephone call. Let your personality come through in the letter. Make it interesting. When you consider just how many letters like these employment agencies read, youíll really want to make yours stand out from the crowd.
Your letter can pick up on the points made on your CV which you hadnít had the chance to go into. Cite your strengths which are relevant to the job. It also means you donít have to rewrite your CV every time you want to aim it at a specific advertisement or notice.
Keep it up to date. Using an out of date CV can look unprofessional and sloppy.