CV / Resume Preparation

Writing an Effective CV
Your CV will be used to sell your skills and background to prospective employers. It therefore needs to be clear and unambiguous, outlining your work history and IT experience, along with other relevant information.

Constructing a great CV requires careful planning and preparation. It is not something that can be created in a short time – remember that this is an investment for your future so dedicating time and energy upfront will pay dividends later. There is much advice available on submitting an effective CV, some of which is outlined below, but although these are basic guidelines to adhere to, you should also allow your individuality to shine through!

Do not write a novel. We suggest you keep it to three to five pages (7 max). It should concisely paint a picture of you and your job history.

Key points should be highlighted to develop interest and excitement about you as a potential candidate. Include the kind of information you would like to know if you were hiring someone. The reviewer must be drawn to wanting to meet you in person.

• Page 1 – personal details (name, address, mobile, email, followed by education and career highlights).
• Pages 2 – 7 reverse chronological work history (starting with the most recent and working backwards) – make sure that you address the brief for the position you are seeking.
• Ensure date / company / role / length of employment are on each position listed.
• No photos or long paragraphs – keep it concise!
• Anything over 10 years ago needs very little detail.
• Don’t use a narrative style. Highlight your accomplishments in a bullet point format, then you don’t need as many complete sentences – that’s how you get it into three to five pages. But be warned: brief points must be carefully thought out. At the interview stage, your statements must be backed up by evidence, based on your track record or education.
• Write in clear, concise terms, using active words (e.g. accomplished, created, enhanced, launched, negotiated, etc) and keeping pronouns (I, we, they) to a minimum or avoid them altogether. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, write a bold statement such as: ‘Achieved sales objectives of 250 units per month’.
• Layout and design should be legible, consistent and easy to follow, with good clear headings, large easy-to-read type face such as Arial or Times Roman or Courier, and no typographical or grammatical errors. Use good quality, plain paper. (Coloured paper or a fancy border doesn’t add anything unless the position in question requires a demonstration of that sort of creativity).
• Avoid initials and jargon (where possible). Write in plain English so you’re understood. There’s a general consensus by good interviewers that people who really know their subject, write and speak clearly and don’t try to complicate issues.
• Keep it succinct. Highlight particular personal achievements. For example: ‘During my period as Manager, turnover increased 120 per cent’.
•  If your professional experience is limited, it might be wise to include memberships of clubs or organisations that show commitment to being involved.
• Keep it honest. Don’t exaggerate your experience to make it sound more impressive. If it can’t stand up to scrutiny in the interview, you will blow your chances of getting the job.
• Be specific in your CV. Use numbers or percentages to illustrate your successes or the impact you can have. Avoid claiming complete responsibility for achievements, implying no-one else deserves any credit, which is usually not the case.
• Orientate your CV towards specific (and quantifiable) achievements rather than duties and responsibilities. It should tell prospective employers everything that might interest them and nothing that will waste their time.
• Leave out all details of past salaries, bonus payments, superannuation contributions. This will be covered in the interview stages. Without knowing all the details of the company and the job, you might inadvertently send a message that you are too cheap or too expensive.
• People who receive CVs often use them for screening you ‘out’ rather than ‘in’. Be aware that the first person to look at your CV for a specific job is not likely to be the person who will do the interviewing; the person screening out inappropriate CVs may only have a list of criteria to match. Your CV will have to get beyond this point to ensure you are considered for an interview.
• When you get to the interview, your CV can act as the agenda for your discussion, giving the interviewer a springboard from which to launch the inquiry. Yes, it is acceptable to keep it in front of you but only refer to it as, and when, you need to.

10 things to leave off your CV
Everybody knows that in most situations, less is more.

Job seekers do themselves a disservice when they send out CVs with too much information. Employers don’t have the time or the patience to sift through irrelevant, extensive and false information. Just stick to the basics and you’re good to go.
Here are 10 things to leave off your CV and why:

1. Your picture
Unless a job posting specifically asks for your picture (and very few jobs will), don’t include it just for fun because your looks are irrelevant to your potential as an employee.
2. Interest and hobbies
Unless your interests and hobbies have something to do with the job you’re applying for, there’s no reason to include them. In general, make any applicable connections between your hobbies and the job in your cover letter. Better yet, save them for the interview when you’re asked what you like to do outside of work.
3. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Most employers assume that if you’re OK with sending out a CV littered with typos and mistakes, you’ll have the same lack of concern for the work you do as an employee at their company. While spell check picks up most errors, it can miss something major — did you work the late night shift? Or did you forget to include the “f” between “i” and “t”? — so have several eyes look over your CV before sending it out to employers.
4. Personal attributes
Similar to sending a picture with your CV, your height, weight, age, race or religion are all unimportant to an employer. Though it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against applicants because of any of these factors, some will do so, regardless. Keep everything on your CV pertinent to the job, and you’ll be fine.
5. Minute details
Hiring managers don’t need to know the details of every task you’ve ever done in every job you’ve ever had. It’s just too much information, and usually half of that information isn’t relevant. Employers want to be able to see at first glance that you’re a great candidate, so pick out those details that are most relevant to the job for which you’re applying and omit the rest.
6. False information
Plain and simple, no one wants to hire a liar. Don’t say that you have a master’s degree if you’ve only earned your bachelor’s; don’t say you’re presently employed at a company if you’ve recently been fired; don’t list your salary history as 20 per cent higher than it was. Everything you tell an employer can be verified, so play it safe and be honest.
7. Crazy colours and fonts
No one wants to look at a CV on fluorescent paper, covered in crazy fonts and symbols. Use a font that is clear to read in black colour. Anything else will make your CV hard to read and chances will be high that it won’t be read at all.
8. Information that is too personal
Links to personal web sites, your photo-sharing site, or strange e-mail addresses can also be left off. Employers are less likely to respond to than just
9. Negativity
Never put anything negative on your CV. Don’t include your reasons for leaving. If you left the position due to a layoff or you were fired, for example, bring it up only if asked. Never write anything bad about a previous employer. Don’t explain gaps on your CV by stating that you were in prison for 10 years. Keep your CV all positive, all the time.
10. An objective that is too simple
Employers are trying to determine whether you’re a good fit for their organizations, so everything on your CV should point to your experience. Employers would rather see a summary of qualifications that displays your accomplishments and background than a generic objective statement like “To get a full time position at a financial…”