The Main Purpose of a CV
The CV is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. A great CV doesn't just tell the recruiter or the hiring manager what you have done, but makes the same assertion that all good adverts do: If you buy this product, you will get these specific, direct benefits. It presents you in the best light and it convinces the employer that you have what it takes to be successful in this new position or career.
Other Reasons for Having a CV
- To pass the employer's screening process (requisite educational level, number years' experience.);
- to give basic facts which might favorably influence the employer (companies worked for);
- to represent your achievements and job history;
- to serve as a roadmap during the interview;
- to provide contact information: an up-to-date address and a telephone number (a telephone number which will always be answered during business hours);
- to establish you as a professional person with high standards and excellent writing skills based on the fact that the CV is well done (clear, well-organised, well-written, well-designed); and,
- to remain behind and serve as a reminder to the hiring manager after your interview about your qualities.
Basic Types of CV
- Chronological—your work experience is in chronological order according to dates.
- Functional—there are no dates. This emphasizes skill and accomplishments.
- Combination—this is combination of both chronological and functional.
How Many Pages?
Ideally, CVs should be no longer then two pages, unless you are preparing a document for a highly technical tax role. Should you have any more than two pages, ensure that you keep the content relevant and interesting. Avoid using graphics and colors, as they can make a CV look untidy and detract from the message you are attempting to convey.
Understanding the Screening Process
- Recruiters and hiring manager handle many CV’s per vacancy;
- they are generally under time-pressure and working to tight deadlines;
- they will generally make a first decision on your application with a brief look at your CV;
- they’ll be looking for key words; and,
- the presentation of your CV will reflect on you.
CV Writing Tips
- Consider your formatting – ensure it is clear;
- Express your qualifications for the desired role in a concise, clear and appealing manner. Avoid jargon and focus on your achievements;
- Use relevant attention grabbing headings, short paragraphs and bullet points effectively to enable an employer to easily disseminate the information on your CV. Remember most HR teams or hiring managers will be processing CVs on an ongoing basis and may well have a limited patience when confronted with a long list of achievements;
- Consider your technical knowledge, personal interests and non-technical skills. Good communication skills, demonstrable commercial experience and examples of project involvement, are as important to a modern employer as the CTA/ACA qualification;
- Think about initiatives you have personally been involved in or set up. What was your part in the process? Were the results favorable and did it show you in a good light? Your aim is to present yourself as a focused professional who knows the direction they are going in;
- Spelling – ensure this is proof-read by at least one other;
- Tense - do not use the first person; and,
- Most of all, think JEI – Judgment, Evidence and Impact!
For more detailed help with your CV, please contact our Career Clinic.