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Top interviewing tips: Part 4 - Produce a winning CV

Top interviewing tips from Lisa Jobson (pictured), director of talent at Harvey Nash:

  • Your CV is a marketing tool with the sole purpose of getting you a job interview. Think of it as a piece of highly-targeted direct mail that outlines the services that you have to offer a client.
  • You should produce a unique CV for every job application and consider it from the point of the employer when writing - do you stand out from the competition?
  • The formatting of the CV should be easy on the eye in alignment and font (preferably Arial or Times New Roman 11 - 12 pt).
  • Your CV should be no longer than three pages. All recruitment consultants have horror stories of the ten-page CVs, so less is definitely more. It must have maximum impact and present information in the most succinct, direct and easily digestible manner.
  • There are a variety of CV styles to choose from but the most frequently used is the reverse chronological CV. Arrange your career history with your current/most recent job first and work back. Make the job title and your employer clear. Jobs held more than 10 years ago should be very briefly dealt with.
  • Make sure the most important information is in the top third of the CV; your personal profile and skills summary will achieve this objective.
  • Use exactly the same descriptions for skills, experience, and qualifications as on the job ad or application guidelines.
  • Use bullet points and short sentences where you need to elaborate.
  • The language that you use is crucial, so use words such as collaborated, campaigned, marketed, controlled, managed, supervised, initiated, sold etc., instead of 'worked'.
  • Avoid using jargon and acronyms, they may look impressive but the reader may not be familiar with the terms.
  • Be clear about the value you can bring to an organisation and demonstrate how they can benefit from your achievements to date, e.g. examples of saving money, increasing turn over or profits, improving productivity, better customer quality etc., (include actual figures where possible).
  • Ensure any employment gaps are accounted for with dates and a one line explanation.
  • Always detail professional qualifications and relevant training courses with dates and awarding bodies. Limit education details to further education achievements or 'A' level grades if you are a very recent graduate.
  • Include hobbies and interests that really stand out, for example if you have represented your country in the Olympics. Otherwise leave them off if they are gardening, DIY, golf or similar!
  • Finally, don't be tempted to lie. If you are found out it is unlikely that the recruitment consultant or the client will deal with you again.

> Read Part 1 - effective networking

> Read Part 2 - How to network effectively online

> Read Part 3 - Get the best out of your recruitment consultant

>> Looking for a job in IT? Visit Computer Weekly Jobs today


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