You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That's why Searchworks offer a free CV advice service. Simply click on the link below and attach your CV. An experienced consultant will be happy to contact you and discuss it in detail, and in confidence.

Your CV performs two main purposes; firstly it includes your employment history and full educational achievements and explains your ability to perform the job for which you are applying; secondly it is used to assess your potential for future success by evaluating your past successes. A CV provides an opportunity to present your work experience in a concise and marketable manner, and should be used as an important sales tool.

Here are some guidelines outlining the basic do's and don'ts.

Keep the layout of the CV simple and consistent throughout using plain fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman printed in Black ink on good quality white paper.

Overall presentation of the CV is critical. It must be easy to read quickly and to be scanned for critical elements. Use bullet points to sub divide information.

As a guideline a CV should be:
1 - 3 pages if you have more than 5 years' experience.
And 1 - 2 pages if you have less than 5 years' experience.

All information should include dates, any gaps should be explained.

Start with your personal details. These should include your name, address and all contact details.

Next list your educational history. Begin with your most recent qualifications. For professional accountancy exams, state if you passed at the first attempt or were a prize winner and include details of qualifications still being studied. Follow this with University and school qualifications.

Next should be your work experience, again listed with your most recent employment first. This is the part of the CV which should contain the most detailed information. All skills learned and experiences gained, particularly if relevant to your next role, should be included, again in bullet point style. Think about the most impressive work you have undertaken, the largest amount of responsibility accepted and examples of initiative, commitment and commerciality.

The next section should include any additional skills relevant to the role or company you are applying to. This could include foreign languages, IT skills, management and technical courses attended and membership of any networking organizations, etc.

Finally, your personal interests. This is the last impression your CV will make and is often where people get it badly wrong. Interests which further your personal development or skills, team based sports and community activities are better than potentially contentious interests such as political activity or dangerous sports (Safer that your new employer finds out after your appointment!).

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