Do:

Construct your CV with your prospective employer in mind. Look at the job advert or specification and think about what the job involves, and what the employer needs. Find out about the main activities of the employer.

Tailor your CV to the job. Your CV shouldn't be your life story but should be tailored for the job you're applying for, focusing on the parts that are important for that particular job.

Make it personal to you. 95% of CVs will say a person is hard-working, a team player, responsible, punctual. Make yours stand out by saying something different and relevant such as “I have a 98% attendance rate”.

Make your CV clear, neat and tidy. Get somebody to check your spelling and grammar. Make it easy to read with space between each section. Use left-justified text as it's easiest to read, using black text on good quality white or cream paper.

View your experience in a positive light. Try to look objectively at your experiences (even the bad ones) and identify what you learned or what skills you developed in the process. This is the picture you should present to the employer.

Place the important information up-front. Put experience and education achievements in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

Include experience and interests that might be of use to the employer: IT skills, voluntary work, foreign language competency, driving skills, leisure interests that demonstrate team skills and organization/leadership skills.

Put your name and email address on every page - in case the pages of your CV get separated.

Use positive language. when describing your work achievements use power words such as ‘launched’, ‘managed’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘motivated’, ‘supervised’, and ‘achieved’. 

Make use of the internet for sample CVs and CV templates - to help maximize the impact of your CV and to get inspiration for layout and tone.

CV's

Example CV 1

This is a typical CV for a job application. Here we’ve used one for a Construction Worker, but it could be adapted for any job.

Example CV 2

You could make a CV like this to apply for an apprenticeship.

Example CV 3

This is a typical CV for a school leaver, where they have very little work experience so more emphasis is put on personal achievements.

CV Template

This is a generic CV template which you can use to make your own CV. Make it as interesting and relevant as possible.

Don’t...

Hand-write your CV. This looks unprofessional and old fashioned.

Include information which may be viewed negatively – failed exams, divorces, failed business ventures, reasons for leaving a job, points on your driving license. Don’t lie, but just don’t include this kind of information.

Include anything that might discriminate against you – such as date of birth, marital status, race, gender or disability.

Include salary information and expectations. Leave this for negotiations after your interview, when the employers are convinced how much they want to employ you.

Make your CV more than two pages long. You can free up space by leaving out or editing information that is less important. For example, you do not need to include referees – just state they are available on request. Don’t include all of the jobs you have had since school, just the relevant ones. Add details about your most recent qualifications, which are more relevant, but summarize the rest.

Dilute your important messages. Concentrate on demonstrating the skills they need, what you have achieved by applying the skills you have and what benefits your clients have gained from your work.

Use jargon, acronyms, technical terms - unless essential.

Lie - employers have ways of checking what you put is true, and may sack you if they take you on and find out you've lied to them.

Include a photo unless requested.

Letters

If there is an organisation you would like to work for you can write a letter asking if they have any jobs available. Try to find out the department or name of the person who handles recruitment, and address your letter to them. Follow up the letter after about a week with a polite phone call.

Example Letter 1

If you are sending your CV in response to a job advert, it is a good idea to send a covering letter with it. Check who the applications need to be sent to and address your letter to that person.

Example Letter 2