Having evaluated our skills and experiences in our Day 1 blog post and then looked at identifying your ideal career direction and companies in Day 2 and Day 3, it's now time to take a long hard look at your CV. The CV is, without doubt, the most important document in your armoury when searching for a new position. Many people spend hours putting together detailed and lengthy covering letters that will frequently not be read as potential employers look for real evidence of experience and the context of that experience from the CV. We've got some really basic rules that should help you get the CV right. It all starts with layout.
1. Make sure the layout of your CV is uncomplicated yet visually appealing. Too much formatting and random boxes will not be conducive to easy reading - and you have to make it easy. Keep to a simple font but create texture with bold, bullet points, italics and changes in size.
2. Always work in reverse chronological order. Remember the phrase 'What's most recent is usually most relevant' and so have your most recent experience starting on the front page.
3. The top of Page 1 should be personal details and qualifications. We don't need to list every GCSE here, just the headline numbers, however, again, make sure the most relevant ones are most prominent.
4. If you'd like to add a Personal Statement then keep it brief. This will need to be tailored to each application as generic statements will not be focussed enough.
5. Use the work you did on Day 1 to layout your experience. Start with a company summary, a one liner (or two if you must). This gives context to your experience. Then summarise your experience in terms of activities then achievements.
6. Make sure you detail dates on your CV. Don't just put years as this raises concerns with potential employers and may leave you open to awkward questions that you may struggle to answer in interview.
7. Our advice is not to put 'Reasons for Leaving' on CV's. However, you must prepare for these types of questions in interview, particularly if you have changed jobs frequently.
8. We would recommend putting an element of 'You' into the CV. Use the last few lines to talk about your interests outside of work but we don't need 'War and Peace' here so stick to two or three lines maximum.
9. This should have brought you to 2 or possibly 3 pages of CV - perfect. If you're much over that then start to look for duplicates in your content and filter them out. Also reduce the length of your bullet points - try and keep them to one liners.
10. Check, check and check it again for typos and spelling mistakes. Then get a friend to check it! Hopefully this has been useful but you can find more detail below on our CV Writing Video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9y2CjBd5QA Check back in tomorrow where we'll be talking about the importance of updating your LinkedIn and on-line profiles.