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Careers: CV's and Covering Letters

CV and Covering Letters

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It's important to do some research before you get started building your CV. You want to tailor your CV to the job role that you are applying for, so make sure that you read and understand the job advert and description.

  • ​​Personal Details: These should be at the top, centre of the page. Starting with your full name, then address and postcode, telephone or mobile (which ever one you use the most) and email address - you do not need to include your age, marital status or nationality
  • Personal Profile: Write just a few sentences to sum up who you are and what your goals are. Think about the job that you are applying for and what the employer is looking for
  • Previous Education: These should be listed chronologically, each should be listed as the qualification followed by the school/college/university that you attended and finally that date that you started the course and the date that you received your qualification
  • Previous/current employment: Again, these should be listed chronologically, starting with your most recent/current. Start with the name of the employer, your job title and your start date - end date. You should then write a couple of lines about your job role. Instead of listing duties give examples of your achievements. Highlight your strengths by using words such as 'Organised, Managed, Planned'
  • Additional Experience: You should also include any work experience or volunteer work in the previous employment section
  • Additional sections: Here you can add sections such as Hobbies and Interests or Key Skills. Make sure that you check the job description to match your skills to what is required. You should also research the company to show that your hobbies and interests fit with the environment
  • Keep it simple: A CV should be no more than 2 A4 pages. Stick to the relevant information and do not go into too much explanation as this can be provided in the interview
  • ​Tailor your CV: Try not to send out the same CV to each employer. Take time to research the employer and the skills that they are looking for so that you can highlight these skills on your CV. This shows the effort that you have made for the job role
  • Try not to leave gaps: If there are gaps in your employment, see if you can fill this with any volunteer work that you may have done and any courses that you took or skills that you developed - try and put a positive spin on it
  • Keep it current: Every time something new happens, add it to your CV. Whether this is a promotion, a new job or a new qualification. If you maintain your CV and keep it up to date, you won't have to try and remember these details later on
  • Always tell the truth: Employers will run background checks and obtain references. Make sure the information that you provide is accurate and will be reflected in the references that they receive
  • Appearance: Your personal details should be at the top, centre of the page. Do not have the heading CV or Curriculum Vitae. Keep a standard font such as Calibri or Arial. Ensure that the content is laid out well, in line and constant throughout the document. Each section should have a clear and precise heading
  • References: You no longer have to include references on your CV, you can simply put 'references available upon request'
  • Previous employment: When listing your previous employment details include the job role, the key responsibilities and the key achievements that you gained
  • Additional Sections: If you feel like your CV is lacking in information you can add some additional sections such as Key Skills or Hobbies and Interests as this can show how well you will fit into the company/industry
  • Fix any errors: Once you have completed your CV, proof read it. Make sure that any spelling mistakes or typos are amended
  • Always send one: A covering letter performs a simple courtesy function. It's a way of introducing who you are, explaining which job vacancy you’re applying for, or which area of employment you are enquiring about
  • Mention your current employment: Talk about your current role in a positive way, detailing what you have gained from the role
  • Do not re-write your CV: A cover letter is the opportunity to sell yourself. Do not re-write the information that they can already see on your CV
  • First and last lines: Always start by explaining what makes you better than others. End the letter with a call to action; politely requesting that they contact you for a meeting and advise how you look forward to meeting them
  • Reflect your personality: You want to show the employer that you are enthusiastic and motivated. Try and use acting verbs for each skill you're explaining i.e. Research – analysed, clarified, critical thinker. People skills – collaborative, excellent communication skills, team player. Teaching – instilled, motivated, logical. Try to avoid any negative comments
  • Talk about the company: Show that you have researched the company, identify what you like about them and what attracts you to them
  • Provide evidence of your qualities: Pick 3-5 qualities that the employer has listed in their advert. Briefly explain how these qualities refer to you, using examples from your CV - i.e. you will see from my CV that I have worked in the advertising industry for 10 years, managing teams of 5 - 20 people
  • Relevant and Brief: It is important that the letter is well written and draws the employers attention the to relevant experience on your CV. Keep it brief and create a positive representation of yourself. A covering letter should be no more than a page long
  • Always sign the letter: It shows authenticity to sign your cover letter
  • Presentation: Once you have written your letter always proof read it. Ensure that it is laid out clearly and has no typos or spelling mistakes

You can view CV and Covering Letter resources and templates on the below websites: