Write your CV & Cover Letter
Employers receive a lot of CVs every day so it’s important that your CV stands out from the crowd. It is important that your CV looks very professional and is targeted towards the sector you are applying for e.g. if applying to the IT sector then it is essential that the language of the CV, modules, projects, research and work experiences related to IT are included. We would also include other work experiences e.g. customer service roles which highlight skills which would be valuable to the IT sector.
As a student you may have two CV’s: one CV targeted towards your sector and a second CV for part-time jobs. Remember your CV will grow with you, soensure to update your CV each year, finally ending with a targeted graduate or post-graduate level CV.
Remember, the one thing a CV must do is secure you an interview. If your CV is not targeted towards a particular sector/role and is not at a professional level, it is unlikely you will be called for interview.
Visual Impact - Layout is Critical
- CV should always be word processed on good quality white paper if a hardcopy is being submitted.
- CV should be easy to read; it should present the important facts about you clearly. Research tells us that an item of advertising material has about a second and a half in which to attract the reader’s attention. Try the arm’s length test - hold your CV at arm’s length and see what kind of an impression it makes.
- Place the most relevant information first because CVs are often not read from beginning to end.
- Make good use of spacing, margins, indentations, capitalisation and underlining, be consistent with your use of these.
- Use bold type or italics to emphasise words and subject headings (do not over do it!).
- Make sure that the CV is letter-perfect. Errors, typing mistakes, stains, unexplained abbreviations, technical jargon or buzz-words are not acceptable.
- Have your final draft critiqued or proof-read by someone in a position of responsibility.
- If submitting your CV electronically, always send it as a PDF.
Remember, your CV is your marketing tool. Your aim is to entice the employer to interview you. Think carefully about the format you choose and make it appropriate to the different positions you apply for. CVs can appear in any one or a combination of the following formats.
Writing your Cover Letter
A cover letter is a concise single-page letter addressed to a potential employer that accompanies your CV and should be part of any job application. The only time a cover letter should not be included is when the job ad clearly states so. A cover letter should complement, not duplicate your CV. A cover letter is a chance for you to express your personality to a potential employer and sell yourself as a perfect fit for their team. It is often your earliest written contact with the company, so you need to make the right impression.
It is crucial that your cover letter is completely clear of grammatical errors and well written. Your letter reflects your ability to write and communicate. Cover letters can be targeted to a specific job advertised by a company or can be a general letter expressing interest in pursuing future employment with them. It is essential to customise your cover letter for each position you're applying to.