Make sure it's straightforward and easy to read
A CV is a report detailing your academic and professional history. You must use it to emphasise your strengths and abilities without drawing attention to irrelevant information. Remember, you can always explain to an employer further details when they invite you for an interview.
Highlight your achievements
You should always make use of active verbs, i.e.: set up, achieved, attained, managed, led and responsible for. Use bullet points to highlight the key successes in your life emphasizing them and making it short and punchy. Don't write lengths of prose for job descriptions.
Always put your work experience chronologically
It is always best to start with your current employment and work backwards, remembering to include the name and location of your employer, your start and end dates and your job title. Provide a brief description of your responsibilities in bullet points and highlight your accomplishments. If you are looking for your first job, list any relevant work experience, voluntary or paid.
Tailor your CV to the company and role you are applying for
Employers can spot a mass mailing so if you are applying for a job within a particular industry, ensure you highlight and draw attention to your experience within that area.
Remember to be honest
You must always be honest and truthful when writing your CV. It may seem quite a good idea to amend your details but it will firstly undermine your confidence at interview and if you are successful, do you really want to start your new position feeling you haven't been entirely honest.
Highlight your Education
If you are in your first two years in the job market, it is always a good idea to give your education equal attention and also highlight your achievements either at College or University. This will show your attributes i.e. whether you are enthusiastic, a self-starter or full of initiative.
Make sure you don't overcrowd your CV
Make sure your CV is easy to read, clear and well presented. Your future employer must be able to find your key information quickly and bullet points really help in highlighting your key achievements. If your prospective employer has to work hard to read your CV, they will quickly lose interest.
Get it checked
Ensure you get a trusted friend or family to read your CV as they will always see mistakes that you may have missed or alternatively offer suggestions. Always prepare your CV over a period of time, as this will allow you to look at it objectively and provide improvements.
Check with referees before you use their names. Employers will like to see your current employer and a professor or teacher at your college/university as the referees. This demonstrates how you react in a working and learning environment.
Check your spelling
Spelling mistakes are unforgivable and will undermine your professionalism and attention to detail. You must ensure perfection in this area and ensure you use the spell check facility on your PC, but also read the words out loud to be sure they are correct and in context (e.g. from not form).
How does your CV look?
How your CV is presented will determine whether your prospective employer reads it in full. Always consider how it looks? Does it look professional? Is it consistent and easy to follow? Are the headings in order? Are the relevant factors highlighted? If you can, avoid slang, ensure it looks professional, maintain a consistent font and font size and do not cram information into the format. Just remember this report is a representation of you - how do you want to be perceived?
Is your CV relevant to the position you are applying for?
It is always best to look at the job advertisement or job description on its own and then with a highlighter, highlight the most important factors of the role. This will enable you to determine exactly what the company is looking for and how your skills best suit this position.
Accomplishment and Skills
It is always good to emphasize your skills, abilities and achievements and highlight them with active words and phrases. You should always quantify your achievements and show an employer that you have demonstrated an ability to do the job that you are applying for? Put yourself in the position of an Employer, they will be asking 'what can this person do for me? If successful you will be attending an interview where you will need to prove to the Employer what you can do.
There are certain things that you should avoid - these are: