A few practical pointers
I. Key words
Software scanning is commonly used to pick up key words and identify applicants most likely to meet the desirable and essential criteria listed for the position.
Ensure you include words that reflect these descriptors to increase the likelihood that your CV gets through this initial process and will actually be read by interview panel members.
2. Take care with document format and readability
Present your name and contact details clearly at the top centre of the first page – and on every page footer
Convey a compelling story that focuses on your reader and their needs
Consider who is likely to be reading your CV e.g. time availability, preferences, knowledge levels
Ensure the content and style is appropriate/relevant, brief and clear.
3. Document format
Length – usually 3 to 5 pages
Consistent legible font and line spacing – e.g. Palatino 11 (avoid shrinking font to reduce page length!). If single spaced, adjust spacing a little in formatting.
Sparing use of – colour ,underline, italics, bolding, bullet lists (2 points smaller than text)
Personal photo – not usually recommended unless relevant to the job
Keep the layout clear, consistent and uncluttered for eye appeal and to facilitate scanning/readability
Number the pages (1 of #) to avoid pages being missed.
Add your name and contact details into the footer.
4. Career profile/ highlights
Consider Tag line (1 line) and/or summary statement (a brief paragraph or introductory sentence followed by bullet point list of key strengths. Generally use first person pronoun – “I” rather than your name.
5. Essential and desirable criteria
Address these specifically with examples from your experience
6. Career history
List most recent first, usually for 10 years with consistent format:
Employer (describe industry position)
7. Education and training
Significant outputs/out comes (most recent first). Include in-service/house training. Your aim is to show ongoing updating/learning and commitment to professional development.
Highlights for last 2-3 jobs:
Company (describe industry position)
Achievements (including things like change management, team building, awards.
9. Hobbies and interests
Optional and usually where a company culture is familiar
10. Professional memberships
List with any held positions e.g. committee member, newsletter editor
Take care and consider appropriateness for the application/position. Contact and request permission. List with contact details or statement regarding availability on request. Line up referees in advance and email a copy of your CV and, if you are offered an interview, send your application to them as well.