Does your CV sell you and your skills?
How can you increase your chances of an employer selecting you for interview?
Make your CV stand out from the crowd by following these simple steps:
- CV should be no more than 2 pages in length.
- Consider adding a Profile statement to sell yourself to employers.
- Include Technical Skills and Other Skills sections.
- Experiment to achieve the best layout using bold and italics.
- Use separate paragraphs for various sections which may include some of the following:-
- Education and Qualifications
- IT Skills
- Transferable Skills
Spelling, Grammar and Formatting
- You must use a spellchecker
- Proof-read your CV thoroughly for grammar & punctuation
- Use a common format – PDF is a good idea
- Your CV is a selling document designed to help you reach the interview stage so you must sell yourself
- You must be positive and avoid any negative statements; try to use action words
- Education & Qualifications – use reverse chronological order throughout
- IT Skills: be specific with computing knowledge – this should cover any relevant skills that you want the employer to know about. Skills can be technical or otherwise but do emphasise those that are relevant.
- Work experience: highlight skills learned & experience gained
- Transferable Skills: e.g. good presentation skills; driving licence. Try to tailor skills to specific positions
- Achievements: outstanding achievements from school; university; or hobbies
- Responsibilities: gained from work experience or leadership roles
- Interests: include any interests outside of university, especially computing areas
- Do not add date of birth or attach a photograph to your CV as not required
What employers look for in a recent graduate CV
- Demonstrable personal interest in computing that goes beyond taught materials (e.g. active involvement in open source projects, building and maintaining small networks for voluntary organisations)
- Demonstrable personal commitment to gaining knowledge and skills beyond the scope of your education (e.g. learning and using new programming languages, experimenting with home networking and services)
- Experience of supporting services (not necessarily IT services)
- Discipline and maturity
- Initiative and curiosity
- There should be credible evidence for at least 1 of the first 3 attributes; and at least 1 of the last 2.
- You also need to give evidence of why the company should hire you.
- Refers to wrong company (often a cut and paste error)
- Omission of contact details
- Missing exam results (always include expected degree result)
- Badly chosen email address (make it polite and professional)
- Poor grammar, poor spelling
- Lies or negativity
- Document format (send to friend to make sure others can read it)
Your contact details
There are several ways in which you can title this section, personal statement, career summary or Profile are just some of them. This section should simply be used as an elevator pitch. It should describe your best attributes and accomplishments in a few lines, and make the hiring manager want to continue to read the CV. This section should be tailored to every role you apply to.
Start with your most recent qualification and work backwards
Always include the name of the establishment you studied at, the years you studied for, the course name and your results.
Here you should list all your skills, you should start with your IT Skills (those most relevant to the role first)
You should then move onto list those organisational skills you have that would be useful for the role.
It is a good idea to use bullet points in this section to make it easy to read and identify.
This can be split into two sections if you have both relevant and non-relevant work experience.
You should always list relevant work experience first and as with the Education section work experience should be listed with your most recent position first.
You should always include, the company name, your position title and the duration of your employment.
Try to add in any accomplishments here and not simply list your duties.
This is where you can add in any non-essential skills that may be helpful in selling you, do you have a driver licence for example.
Do you do any voluntary work?
Do you have any non IT related qualifications?
As a minimum it should be stated that they are available on request.