A CV is quite simply an advert to sell yourself and make you stand out from the rest as, until the interview stage, your potential employers only know what is on the paper in front of them. This makes your CV and covering letter vitally important. First impressions count for everything when competing against others especially.
What should my CV include?
Remember the initial aim is that your CV is read and responded to in a positive manner. Include information to gain interest, but be mindful of the fact that you don’t want to bore the reader. Try to keep your CV short and attractive between 1 and 4 pages long.
Essential Information includes:
- Telephone Number
- Mobile Number
- Email Address
This may seem pretty self-explanatory, but you don’t want to be selected for the interview process only for your potential employer to be unable to contact you. Always double check that the contact numbers are correct.
You can choose to use this to outline what type of person you are and allow your potential employer a first chance to get to know your personality, but that should be included in your cover letter. Instead keep this professional and highlight your skills, industry knowledge, experience and abilities as they relate to employer needs. You might want to amend your professional profile so that it is targeted to each position you apply for.
If you have an area of expertise, core skills, professional strengths, extra qualifications (eg ; Certificate Holder) then include these in your CV as these keywords will help make your CV stand out above other applications. So it pays to bear this in mind when writing your CV.
The minimum that should be included is, Employer Name, Position Held, Dates of Employment, Summary of Duties and Responsibilities, Achievements and Accomplishments. It is important to show the employer that what you have achieved in each job, as this shows something that you could bring to their company.
Voluntary Employment / EMS Placements
It may be relevant to include voluntary contributions, these would strengthen your application if you lack relevant paid experience are seeking to explain gaps in employment. Listing your EMS placements is useful as this details different environments and practices you have been subject to already.
Include dates that you studied and which school, university you gained your qualification(s).
Training / CPD
It may not be necessary to list all training courses attended, try to summarise your professional development. Only include training that is relevant to the position in which you’re applying. If you have a specialist area of expertise or are keen to pursue a specific interest try to include these CPD events, as this will show employers which route you want your career to go.
Memberships / Affiliations
If you are a member of professional organisations or are affiliated to them in any way, then include them with dates of registration eg RCVS – 01/01/2000
I would always recommend including the names, contact details and position they hold within the company. The majority of employers are going to request references, so if you choose not to include this it often slows the process down and could leave you at a disadvantage. If for any reason you do not wish your referees to be contacted without your consent, you can always say “Referee details available upon request”.
A covering letter should always be sent whenever you submit your CV for any vacancy. The letter introduces your CV and is a great opportunity for your personality to be shown.
Much like your CV the covering letter is an advertisement of you, so should be seen as a marketing opportunity. The purpose of this letter is to highlight your key strengths in relevance to the position you are applying for, so remember to adapt your covering letter to match your potential employer’s needs – this can save a lot of time having to edit your CV for each application you send.
But still keep your CV up to date as using an out of date version lacks professionalism and gives the wrong impression to the employer.
Try to make the letter no longer than one page. Make sure that the information is presented in clear and concise paragraphs; you don’t want the person reading your cover letter to be put off by pages and pages of text and then not even get round to viewing your CV.
Essential Information includes:
- Contact Details (as on the CV)
- Introduction; declaring your interest in relation to the position
- Detail your suitability for the position
- Highlight you key skills and professional achievements
- State your professional experience, highlight your success and sell yourself
- Again express your interest in the role and thank them for taking the time to read your details
Hopefully after this great first impression the employer will already be interested in you and look forward to reading your CV further, in view to arranging an interview.