CVs Related Staff
Provided by: Maamoun Salam, Bilal Khawam.
Last updated: 13/7/2007
What makes a CV stand out?
You'll generate a better response with your curriculum vitae if it is well organized and is packed with relevant information to match and support your professional, academic or research objective.
Preparing effective CV's presents a unique challenge due to length, which can make them boring and result in important data being buried or lost in such a long document. As a result, prioritizing your top skills and experience to be presented in the first or uppermost section of your C.V. makes sense. Then detail additional educational, employment or academic experience.
In this way you will maximize important criteria which you do not want to be overlooked by academic or hiring committees.
What should you leave out?
• Any sort of failure - exams, marriages, etc.
• Fancy patterns/borders - these detract from your presentation
• Title pages, binders and folders are usually unnecessary and can be off-putting (though if you are doing a special presentation, enclosing your CV in a binder may look more impressive)
• Leave out age (put in date of birth instead), weight, height, health, or any other personal information that is irrelevant to your application.
• Do not use poor quality photocopies of your CV - they make it look as though you are sending off your CV to lots of companies and that you may not be too bothered who you work for.
Why are CVs rejected?
First impression matters; if your CV does not attract the reader's attention in the first 20-30 seconds then your chances of being accepted are greatly reduced. An employer may have a hundred or more CVs to look through and probably only a couple of hours in which to make their selection. So put the most important achievements at the start of your CV.
What an employer really wants to know is why they should accept you for the job. For this reason a short summary of your capabilities and/or a list of your major achievements can often be a good idea, but please be careful that you do not oversell yourself.
1. Poor visual layout
The visual layout of your CV is very important. Even though the wording you use may be correct, if people cannot find the information they want quickly they will move on to someone else's CV. You should use plenty of 'white' space in your CV and appropriate headings and section breaks.
Always use a word-processor. Never use a typewriter as you will look old fashioned and out of date. Use good quality A4 paper, preferably 100gram for both your CV and cover letter.
2. Length of CV
It is usually best to try and keep your CV to two pages of A4, unless someone specifically asks you for a longer CV. If you cannot keep your CV to this length then you probably have not understood an employer's requirements. Employers do not want to know your whole life history - just enough to decide whether they should interview you or not.
3. Organizing the information on your CV
If your CV is not well organized then the reader will find it hard to follow and will not be able to build up a picture of you quickly. Remember the reader will not spend very long looking at your CV - so if they cannot find what they want they will not bother to read any further.
4. Overwritten - long paragraphs and sentences
This makes it difficult to read quickly - try and keep your sentences short and punchy and use bullet points to break up the text under section headings.
5. Too little information
A lot of people do not include enough details about their previous experience and an employer therefore does not have enough information - they will therefore have to reject your application.
6. Not results orientated
You need to shout about your achievements. Please remember that your CV is your sales document to an employer. If it does not tell an employer why they should employ you then it has failed. An employer will only want to employ you if they can see a benefit in it for themselves. So do tell them the benefits of employing you.
7. Misspellings, typographical errors, poor grammar
Your CV should be carefully checked for such errors before you send it out to employers. Tiny errors in your CV can detract from an otherwise good CV and make you look lazy or careless - not the sort of qualities you want to portray to an employer. As you will probably be 'blind' to these errors you should get someone else to check your CV for grammar and spelling errors.
- A well developed, general CV can be a useful reference document, but to really stand out from the crowd, you need to tailor your CV for each job.
- Remember that your CV will need a covering letter, to introduce yourself and summarize the main points you hope will attract the employer.