Jun 252012
 
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Writing a top CV is no rocket science. It just requires some concentration on your part.

Follow these four simple steps to writing a top CV.

1. Organise your life

In functional CVs, you put your skills into categories then briefly list past job titles at the bottom. These are suitable for those who have been unemployed for long periods, held different types of jobs in the past, changed jobs too frequently, are returning to work after a long period or who wish to change career.

Recent graduates and others on a consistent career path usually opt for the chronological format. These CVs list your jobs and duties for each in reverse chronological order.

2. Categorize your achievements

When doing up a chronological CV, you should outline sections of your experience, education and skills to show what you’ve accomplished. HR personnel and employers take less than a minute to scan your CV, so it’s imperative to highlight and organize items into several concise and relevant segments.

If you’re a recent graduate and therefore have not yet been employed, put your Education section first. In addition to the basics – university name, degree and graduation date – you can include relevant coursework, honors or awards.

Other categories might include Relevant Work Experience, Volunteer Experience, Computer Skills, Publications, Activities, Language Skills and so on.

3. Appearance can make or break your CV.

– Fonts: Whether you email, fax or post your CV, keep your font plain and easy to read. And select a reasonable size – anywhere between 9 and 12 points should be acceptable. Use a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana, not Times New Roman.

– Formatting: Too many different fonts, colors and graphic styles will hold the reader up. Simple bullets are best for separating your duties and skills; use bold and italics sparingly. Formatting should highlight your accomplishments, not draw attention away from them.

4. Content is King

– Action-words: Use strong Action Verbs to highlight your job experience and duties. Instead of starting your sentence with a noun, kick off with an active verb. For example: Customer Service Representative. Assisted customers, trained and supervised 15 new employees, organized special promotional events.

– Numbers: It’s a good idea to include numbers, percentages and amounts in your job descriptions to back up your achievements. For example, Increased monthly sales by £100,000 over a 6-month period. Increased turnover by 20% in first year. Supervised a team of 10 people.

– Length: No one wants to scan through two or more pages of long-winded accomplishments and experience. If it doesn’t all fit, cut it down to the most relevant and impressive items

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