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"CVs are as individual as people themselves and I wouldn't change that for the world," says Anne-Marie McSweeney, Recruitment Specialist with PM Group. "But a well-presented CV can really make a difference to getting your dream job, so here are some tips on presentation."

Keep it clean

There is no need for fancy formatting, intricate graphs and tables or a sexy photograph. In fact, these things can confuse many ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software applications and make the CV unreadable. By all means make sure the presentation is clear and clean and looks professional, but leave out all the extras.

Not too personal

There is also no need to include your date of birth, marital status, religious persuasion, full address, social insurance number etc. Instead, keep it to just the necessary information - general area in terms of address (so that you are not contacted about roles that would not suit geographically); nationality only if it is relevant to the employer (such as if you would require a work permit etc).

Profile paragraph

This is where you highlight your 'best bits' in terms of how attractive you can be to an employer. Keep it professional, but do emphasise the traits that make you the right person for the organisation and highlight how many years' experience you have in relevant areas. Don't make it too long - a medium-sized paragraph is perfect. This is where you market 'You'.

Professional experience

This comes next with education afterwards. It should always be listed in reverse order from your current role. So, current role first with bullet points highlighting all of your biggest successes achieved and any benefits that they brought to the organisation. Then the role prior to that and so on to your first role after graduation. Always bullet point the top achievements from your time in the role, experience gained there, and how your work benefited the employer. Look at the job spec and be sure that your relevant experience is visible.

Education

Include the specific degree qualification obtained, the awarding body or University attended and the year of graduation. If you are not long out of college, then use this to highlight modules completed, systems used and experience gained on projects and what that entailed. If longer out of college, then this can shrink as your work experience becomes far more important.

Other qualifications

Any other professional qualifications should be included as they may be required in some roles or desirable for them, and may not always be listed on the Job Spec. Ideally, include the awarding body and year of award also.

Other interests

It is always a good idea to include your personal interests on your CV. At interview, or when reviewing the CV, the employer may spot something that they also enjoy doing, or are interested in learning about, and use it as a settler question at the interview. Oh yes, so don't lie here. Make sure that when you include something on the CV that you actually have some experience of it. Otherwise, it might be a really awkward interview!

Avoid red flags 

If you take time out to travel, study or do something that is not directly related to your career, make sure to include it. Doing so can turn a potential red flag into a positive on your CV and an interesting talking point for interview.

Check for typos

Check it two or three times, run a spell-check and ask someone else to have a look over it as well. There is nothing worse than typos on a professional CV, and nothing more annoying than spotting one after you have submitted it to a job.

 

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