Preparing a CV may be a common occurrence for you, or something you have never done before. In either case it’s easy to forget to include something so read through our checklist to ensure you have covered every angle.
Your CV is the only insight that an employer has about who you are and what you’re capable of, and first impressions count. Just as you shouldn’t turn up to an interview looking like a slob, you should ensure that your CV is well presented and looks professional. It’s the little things that make the difference between getting an interview and not.
#1 Your Personal details
Make sure you include updated personal details. Consider whether it is worth putting down your landline telephone number, or if a mobile number is more appropriate. Include an email address, ensuring that this is a professional address, and doesn’t sound inappropriate.
There was a time when date of birth, gender, marital status were all expected to be listed on a CV. This is now considered inappropriate and should not be listed unless specifically asked for, as employers can be accused of discriminating against particular age ranges, gender etc. even at this early selection point.
Employers often request documented evidence of your right to work in the UK at the point of interview. If there might be any doubt that this will be provided, you should explicitly state in your CV that you have the right to work in the UK.
You may also wish to include a statement about your intentions for travelling to work, i.e. whether you have a driving licence / access to a vehicle.
#2 Skills to add on your CV
Check through the job description and ensure that your CV indicates that you are capable of undertaking those tasks. Reuse the wording listed in the employers job description since these are the words they are seeking when reading the applications.
If possible review the employer’s website or speak to current employees about the ethos of the company and the type of candidate they are hoping to employ. This might be the advantage you need to get that interview!
Include the specific skills for the job, and also make a note of your transferable skills. This is particularly important if you’re applying for a role that you haven’t been employed in before. Note your computer skills.
#3 References on Your CV
It may be useful to list your referees at the end of your CV, however in most cases employers are happy to request references after interviews have taken place. Ensure that your CV states that references are available upon request so that they can be confident you have considered this.
#4 Presentation and Display
Your CV should be limited to no more than 2 pages, however if you have been in a senior role then it may need to be longer. Only relevant information should be included though.
Use the same font throughout and ensure the margins and headers are consistent. If you’re submitting your CV by email or online then ensure you have saved it in an accessible format (ideally pdf which will be viewed as you can see on screen). If you’re sending a Word .doc attachment make sure you chose a standard font that will appear the same on all computers (such as verdanna or arial).
#5 Spell check your CV
It sounds obvious, but it is amazing how many people forget. Check your spellings and grammar. Then ask a friend to check. Then check it again yourself before submitting.
Don’t simply rely on a word processor to pick up on any discretions as typos are common, yet so easily avoidable.