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Getting your foot in the door

Sue Smith advises on your Curriculum Vitae…

Your CV is the first opportunity to create an impact on a potential employer. There is neither a single perfect CV nor an exact format. It is a fluid document that can be changed, shaped and amended so that the information can be refined or abbreviated depending on the job specification.

Nevertheless, it should include several important principles; it must be clear, concise, factual and objective. A well written statement should say what you actually accomplished with tangible measurements, added value or resulting benefits to the organisation. State your personal details, qualifications and employment history. Avoid jargon, abbreviations, unusual job titles, contentious issues and especially…, do not claim hobbies, interests or language fluency which are untrue. You will be found out!

As well as preparing your list of skills, regard your career history in terms of contributions, impact and skills rather that of job descriptions. Avoid being too general and making vague claims such as reducing costs or improving efficiency without supplying a quantified measurement. Your CV should refer to your major accomplishments and explain your abilities and skills:

* Verbal (speeches, presentations, teaching, mentoring)
* New ideas, seeing the big picture
* Statistics (figures, records, systems)
* Leadership: directing, managing, supervising, motivating, inspiring
* Listening, co-ordinating feeding back
* Negotiating
* Planning
* Problem solving
* Creativity – ideas, concepts, vision.

You should use positive action words, of which I have an extensive list. These words are used to emphasise and quantify your achievements: accomplished, collaborated, supervised, documented, engineered, launched, streamlined, regulated. Language, vocabulary and grammar represent you – so get it right! When you are happy with your CV, check it for clarity, accuracy, brevity and relevance.

Sue Smith MBA LLB B Ed provides expert individual tuition for UCAS Personal Statements and CVs for all levels of employment. Please contact Sue at: