Writing a winning CV can be one of the toughest challenges of job-hunting. Your CV is the only thing representing you, so make sure you give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome when applying for any position. To build a successful CV there are sections and details that employers expect to see, regardless of the position you’re applying for.
Here is some guidance around sections and content for you to remember when creating a CV:
1. Name, professional title and contact details
The first part of your CV should contain your name, professional title and contact details. Treat your name as the title instead of titling your CV with ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘CV’.
When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are crucial, so make sure they’re in a prominent position.
2. Personal Statement
A personal profile, career objective and professional profile, are some of the most essential aspects of your CV. They should be in a short paragraph giving prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you’re all about.
Take the time to tailor your CV for each role that you apply for. Research the company and use the job description to work out exactly what skills you should point out to them.
Aim to keep your personal profile short and sweet, and in no longer than a few sentences, try to address the following:
• Who are you?
• What can you offer the company?
• What are your career goals?
3. Education & Qualifications
In the education section it's important to give a summary in reverse chronological order, i.e. starting from the most recent and working backwards. You should include any relevant pharmaceutical modules, projects or dissertation work you have completed when applying for pharmaceutical jobs. When it comes to an accountant’s CV, professional certifications are of paramount importance. For example, include details of your Chartered Accountant status after your bachelor’s Degree.
4. Employment history and experience
Your Employment History and Experience section needs to be chronological with no obvious gaps, beginning with the most recent position first.
For each job/position, list:
• Job Title
• Dates position was/is held, e.g. Jan 2014 – ongoing
• Company Name (no need to put full postal address of company where you work(ed))
Finally, include a summary paragraph (three to four lines only), presenting the key parts or noteworthy points of the role and/or the company.
Include two parts to each role that you have worked in, they should be:
Responsibilities: for example, ‘to promote company’s oncology portfolio’
Achievements: for example, ‘increased market share by X%’
5. Key Skills
It is important to show your skills and outline how you would have a positive influence on the organisation. Include every IT package or programme you have used as well as any foreign language skills you have gained, and state whether you're at a basic, intermediate or advanced level.
Whatever you list should be applicable to the job and not over-exaggerated, as you'll need to back up your examples if offered an interview. Don’t forget to add all your achievements including ‘Employee of the Month’ or ‘Rep of the Year’.
6. Hobbies & Interests
You can boost your CV by inserting a Hobbies and Interests section at the end. Draw on any interests that make you stand out or are relevant to the job.
It's not necessary to list referees on your CV, but you should state that details are available on request. Employers will ask you for these details if they offer you a position.
Below are some more handy hints to help improve your chances of getting a great job;
• Less is more: Ensure your CV is easy on the eye and that it is a maximum of two A4 sides long. Use bullet points and acceptable formatting to ensure that your CV is not too wordy. However, you decide to organize the sections of your CV, be sure to keep each section consistent. For example, if you put the name of one company in italics, every company name must be in italics. It is essential to keep your CV organized, easy to read and accurate. Be sure to edit your CV before sending it. Check spelling, grammar, tenses, names of companies and people, etc.
• Any gaps? Whether the gap is due to travelling, sickness or family circumstances it is important to write a little explanation, because if you don’t recruiters or employers may want to know more information about the employment gap.
• Don’t include personal information: for example, the only dates on your CV should be for employment and qualifications. Your age doesn’t affect your ability to do the job.
Your CV is your opportunity to make a great first impression and give yourself the best chance of securing an interview, so follow the structure and tips outlined above to be sure that you present the information in a clear, concise and persuasive manner.