Creating a CV

Standard CV’s versus Customised CV’s

Standard CV’s

  1. You may wish to create a ‘standard CV’, one which will not change much over time. The aim of a standard CV is to be a true and accurate record of your employment and work experience. You need only update it when you change jobs and/or you get promotions and then use a cover letter to draw the readers’ attention to the skills you have that match those wanted by your prospective employer.
  2. If you have a really attractive looking CV and the jobs you apply for are generally of the same type then this approach makes sense.
  3. However, this approach is now somewhat out of date. In an industry where everyone can get access to word processing your rivals for a vacancy may be helping their prospective employers by closely matching their CV’s to every vacancy. Employers do not like to search through long documents when they have 80 or more of them to read.
  4. A ‘customised CV’ with all the information about your suitability in the first two paragraphs will increase your chances of being interviewed dramatically.
  5. That said you still have to write a covering letter so you may consider reproducing parts of the suitability or ‘Profile’ paragraph in the letter itself (see the customised CV layout below).
  6. However, you cannot write a meaningful CV if you do not know what employers are really looking for in their ideal candidate. If the job advertisement doesn’t tell you much then call the employer and ask politely for a copy of the job description and the employee specification. The job description will tell you what the job is about and the employee specification will tell you what the employer thinks the ideal candidate is like. Armed with that information you can write a cover letter and CV that should fit the vacancy perfectly.

Customised CV’s

You may wish to create a ‘customised CV’ i.e. one which changes with every job application you make. The sole aim of a customised CV is to get you an interview. It achieves this by helping your prospective employer to see, within seconds of picking up your CV, that you have the personality and achievements that make you worthy of an interview for the vacant position.

The first third of the first page of your customised CV
  1. There is research that says that busy employers make quick decisions about who they will interview. This decision is usually based on getting a good early impression from a CV. This, by definition, makes the first third of the first page of your CV a key area as far as appeal is concerned. I recommend you put your energy into getting a really positive career profile (suitability statement) at the top of your CV so that employers do not have to search for very long for the information they need.
  2. Just one short paragraph that summarises your key skills, experience and disposition in positive (not modest) language will draw the eye of the employer and s/he can always look further down the CV for more detail.
The Customised CV Layout
  1. Just beneath the heading ‘Curriculum Vitae’ write your name, address, contact numbers and perhaps a flattering photo of you, then the following sequence:
  2. Career Profile (a suitability statement/pen picture of you)
  3. Achievements (specific work achievements linked to the requirements of the job vacancy)
  4. Career History with duties, responsibilities and dates - going back a maximum of 10 years. If you have something great to say about yourself from over 10 years ago - put it under ‘Achievements’ (see 3 above)
  5. Educational Qualifications including N.V.Q.’s
  6. Relevant vocational and technical training
  7. Licences, certificates and accreditations etc.
  8. Hobbies, pastimes and family details.

The author is Frank Newberry, who offers further information on the following link: http://www.franknewberry.com/request.shtml .This link enables members to request CV Samples, Interview Advice and Negotiating Tips.