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By Sabina Trench, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers
You’ve been away on holiday and decided that this is the year for a career move. First things first, you will need a new CV, and here are some top tips from Sabina Trench, Sli Nua Careers.
Unless you are in a very specialised sector, a two-page CV (about 800 words) is the norm for most people. You need to be ruthless. Think relevance, not chronology. Find the relevant jobs from your career to date and highlight them – and downplay the less relevant ones. Your Leaving Certificate results can come off (once you reach a certain age), and your name and address do not need four lines.
Layout and presentation
Keep it clean, simple and consistent. Use the same font, spacing and heading styles throughout. I prefer a sans serif font as I feel it is easier to read. If you are using bullet points, make sure that they are all in line and indented on the page. Avoid italics, words in CAPITAL letters and underlining, as these can diminish the reader’s experience.
Break it down
How do you eat an elephant? In small chunks. The main sections in a CV include employment, education/training, and referees. We also recommend a full section on the front page highlighting your biggest achievements and your strongest qualities. A short personal statement under your name is a useful introduction, and, while hobbies are optional, I like to include them. People employ people.
Write it down
As you go through your working week or month, write down everything that you do. Look over work diaries, think about the time you helped the new guy settle in (mentor new staff, anyone?) or made that important presentation. The regular things go into your job description on page two and the highlights appear on the front page.
When you are presenting your work history and qualifications, start with the most recent first. If you are adding a list of additional training, include the year beside it in brackets. However, if most of your training happened a while ago, I recommend that you leave the dates out, leading me to my next point…
Be smart with dates
We often see CVs with job dates such as January to November 2014, and the next job is January 2015 to the present. In this case, I recommend that you just give the years. It’s less content for the person to read, and it’s neater. Take a look at your CV and if the dates are starting to look confusing, then tidy them up with years only.
Language and edit
While we recommend that your CV is about 800 words in length, this is not a minimum target. You need to be sure that every word is in there for a reason and weed out the words that are not adding value. Check that you are not repeating yourself and make sure that nothing contradicts anything else. You should have confidence in every statement on your CV.
Once you have your CV ready, ask someone you know to read it for typing errors, grammar, correct names and addresses, for example. Word spell check will only come up with so much.
CV writing is an art and you may need some professional help. Check out www.SliNuaCareers.com for more useful tips and advice.
You can read more blogs from Sabina HERE
Sabina Trench is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers. We have offices nationwide, plus a full online service. Our services include CV preparation, interview training, mock interviews, personal statements, career planning / direction, LinkedIn profiles and application forms.