Your CV is your passport to employment; from it and your covering letter, potential employers will form their first impression of you so if is vital to get it right. It provides a summary of your skills, experience and qualifications which should tempt employers to find out more by inviting you for interview.
There is no set way to write a CV but there are certain guidelines to follow. You are aiming to produce a document which is well presented, easy to read and which draws attention to your strengths and unique abilities. The CV should be no more than two pages long, three if you have worked on numerous contracts. The reader wants to be interested by your abilities not bored by too much detail.
Think in terms of your achievements at work, school and, if appropriate, socially. What skills, qualifications and experience can you bring to the job or contract that you are applying for? It is easiest to jot everything down as a list and then group it under headings afterwards - often things will fall into place if you start at the end and work backwards:
Include your date of birth., marital status/children, driving licence, hobbies, languages spoken.
These are the last things the employer should see. Only include hobbies that are relevant to the position e.g. voluntary and charity work; any external posts you hold or professional memberships should he included.
List your most recent examinations e.g. Degree, HND, HNC, OND, ONC etc, then A'levels; Olevels or GCSEs showing subjects and grades.
Any professional examinations or courses should be listed with the most recent first.
Your current job should be written in the present tense; previous employment in the past tense. Write about yourself in the third person (e.g. 'a team-player who worked for seven months on mechanical projects' etc, not: 'I am a team player and worked' etc)
Contractors should provide an outline of all previous contracts starting with the most recent and working backwards. Include dates worked, site and/or company, job title plus a brief description of the project. Highlight specific achievements in factual terms (e.g. cost reductions, bringing project in on budget or ahead of schedule). The further back in your career history you go, the less information is required, just ensure that your skills can be easily traced back.
You are aiming to produce a document which is well presented, easy to read and
which draws attention to your strengths and unique abilities.
Permanent personnel should provide details of all previous jobs or relevant work experience from the most recent working backwards. Include dates worked, company, job title plus details of your responsibilities, remit and specific achievements. Where possible, support the achievements factually (cost reductions; improvement to systems; increased productivity) to demonstrate the actual benefit made
One or two brief sentences that state who you are and what you do, followed by a list of your five key skills drawn from your employment experience e.g.
A Production Supervisor with many years experience in the electrical industry.
Highly motivated and a good team player who is keen to progress into a managerial role.
Excellent communication skills
Three years supervisory experience
Able to work as part of a team and on own initiative
Proven track record in production of electrical installations
Works well under pressure and used to meeting tight deadlines
Structure and layout
The structure of your CV will grow out of your preparation. Start with your full name (it will he obvious that the document is a CV) and underneath have your address and contact number(s). Continue with your Key Skills and end with your Personal Details.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Use a clear font, avoid fussy symbols and ensure all main headings are formatted identically. If you are going to be faxing or e-mailing your CV a simple, straightforward layout will be reproduced much more effectively.
CHECKYOUR SPELLING. Spelling and grammar are very important as they will show you think clearly and demonstrate your attention to detail.
Companies may request your CV via different media. Wherever possible keep copies in the separate formats to enable you to respond quickly to advertisements.
By post/fax: use a good quality, plain paper (not coloured). For postal copies, staple the CV together and enclose any covering letter separately or attached with a paperclip.
Online: send as an attachment in Word format.
The covering letter enables you to target your application to specific jobs. Read the vacancy carefully to see what the company or recruitment agency are asking for check the skills and experience which are required and word your letter to highlight that you have them. Use the letter to expand on achievements which are mentioned in the CV where these are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Always reply as the company direct, e.g. if they ask for a handwritten covering letter stating your salary expectations then do just that. This is what they expect and you will only annoy them by not complying. Where no instructions are given, reply in the way you prefer.
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Redwood Contracts Ltd, tel: 01923 839944;fax: 01923 839955; e-mail:
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY October 2002