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CV Do's And Don'ts

Your Curriculum Vitae is a particularly important stage of the job application process. After your cover letter this will be the first introduction your prospective employer will have of you.

Your CV should be a summery of your educational background and professional experiences to date. Essentially what you are doing is marketing yourself to potential employers.

Below are a list of things you should bear in mind while drafting your CV.

Curriculum Vitae Do’s

  • Do adjust your CV to suit the role that you are applying for. Your CV should highlight the aspects of your experience which are relevant to the role that you are applying for.
  • CV's with a specific role in mind are almost always more successful than those written for any generic position. This is particularly true for graduate positions.
  • Do thoroughly check spelling and grammar. Whenever possible ask friends or colleagues to read through your CV so obvious errors are not missed. Spelling or grammatical mistakes might suggest poor attention to detail which can be an issue for employers.
  • Do focus on the skills and experience that will appeal to the employer that you are applying to. Do not include everything you have ever done as this ‘kitchen sink approach’ can mean that your most relevant skills are lost in your CV.
  • Do use reverse chronological order with dated lists of your experience; for example, in your ‘Education’ section, put your most recent qualification or course at the top of the list and work backwards from there.
  • Do your research first to learn as much about your potential new employer as possible. This is important as it helps you focus your CV towards what your potential new employer will require in a graduate.
  • Do remember that your CV and cover letter may only get a few moments of the readers time, be sure to put your most important information on the first page.
  • Do promote your transferable skills. Transferable skills are qualities that employers seek in graduates in addition to their academic achievements.

Curriculum Vitae Don’ts

  • Don't have an overly elaborate or stylistic CV format that concentrates more on design than on content.
  • Remember employers will give you a job due to your experience and achievements as opposed to your ability to make a word document look pretty.
  • Don't be afraid to omit sections recommended by CV templates. Don’t spend hours trying to come up with false pastimes for the Hobbies and Interest section of your CV (especially if you are running low on space).
  • Don't have unnecessarily long paragraphs. Bullet points are a much more efficient way of summing up experience in an easy to read format.
  • Don't include information on school qualifications. Only higher or further education qualifications need be included, unless you don’t have these .
  • Don't use the same cover letter for every application. A cover letter should be a brief note saying why you are suitable the specific role you are applying for.