Friday, 12 November 2010

CV Structure and Format Checklist

There are thousands of decent CV structures out there that are perfectly good robust as templates for your CV. However, there are a few checkpoints which I think apply to most CVs.

Take a look through the list below to see if any apply to your CV and if it's worth reviewing the structure a little...
  • Be consistent with tenses - either present or past
  • Use no more than one level of bullets
  • Keep the amount of space you use for "Personal Details" at the top to a minimum- don't leave loads of white space on either aide by centering the text. Use text boxes if necessary to get the look you want and to maximise space.
  • Don't use generic dates for work experience: 2008-2009 could be two days, two weeks, two months or two years. As a recruiter, if you see generic dates you will assume it was a very short period of time that you are trying to make sound longer than it was. You are better off being honest upfront.
  • Don't use the Word header functionality for any important information (like your name!). Headers and footers don't appear on certain Word views and it can look like you've forgotten to include your name... Also some of the CV scan technologies that companies use dont like headers/footers, and again can cut some of your information out.
  • Try to stick to one tab level throughout the CV, or two at the most, otherwise it looks inconsistent and confusing for the reader
  • PDF vs editable. My advice is probably go editable. Whilst the PDF is a great, robust format, if you've made any mistakes, no one can correct them and your CV will get binned (as opposed to someone doing you a favour and correcting it before forwarding to the business, which does happen occasionally).
  • If you have more than one page, number the pages (pg 1 of 2, pg 2 of 2) and put your name on all pages as sheets do get separated quite easily.
  • Make sure you include your degree result, or most recent result if you are not finished. If you don't include it, the reader will usually assume its below the required level and decline your app.
  • Do include Hobbies/Interests - at a graduate level, they are good for showing you are a rounded individual with other activities to draw on experience from.
  • If you are including a personal profile, my recommendation would be to not to write in the third person "Steven is a ...... " - "I" is better given that it is you writing the CV and that is acknowledged. (If you get a job in consulting, then you will often see CVs written in the third party as they are being included in proposals, etc, but outside of that first person is better).
Can't think of anymore for now, but will edit and and when I come up with more!

Have a nice weekend all.

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