Chapter 7 Bonus Section. How to Create an Effective CV
During this section of the guide I will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create an effective CV. This will help you whenever you come to apply for a specific job in the future. The word Curriculum Vitae translated means the ‘course of life’. CVs are used to demonstrate to an employer that you have the potential, the skills, and the experience to carry out the role you are applying for. Your CV is a very important document and you should spend sufficient time designing it so that it matches the job that you are applying for as closely as possible.
What makes an effective CV?
In simple terms, an effective CV is one that matches the specification and the requirements of the job you are applying for. Your CV should be used as a tool to demonstrate that you have the right qualities and attributes to perform the role that you are applying for. It should primarily focus on:
• Creating the right impression of yourself;
• Indicating that you possess the right qualities and attributes to perform the role of the job you are applying for;
• Grabbing the assessor’s attention;
• Being concise and clear.
The most effective CVs are the ones that make the assessor’s job easy. They are simple to read, to the point, relevant and focus on the job/role that you are applying for. CVs should not be overly long unless an employer specifically asks for this.
Effective CV writing is an acquired skill that can be obtained relatively quickly with a little bit of time, effort and focus. Before you begin to start work on your CV it is a good idea to have a basic idea of how a job/person specification is constructed. A job description/ person specification is basically a blueprint for the role you are applying for; it sets out what the employer expects from potential applicants.
One of your main focus points during the construction of your CV will be to match the job/person specification. Most job/person specifications will include the following areas:
EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: previous jobs, unpaid work experience, life experience, skills, knowledge and abilities: for example, languages, driving, knowledge of specialist fields, ability to use equipment, plus some indication of the level of competence required, and whether the person must have the skills or knowledge beforehand or can learn them on the job.
QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: exams, certificates, degrees, diplomas (some jobs require specific qualifications, but most do not and it can be fairer to ask for the skills or knowledge represented by the qualification rather than asking for the qualification itself).
PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES REQUIRED: such as strength, ability to lift, willingness to work in a hectic busy environment or on your own.
PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES: such as being able to work weekends or evenings or even to travel. Most job/person specifications will be based around a task analysis of the vacancy, so there should be nothing within the job description/person specification that is irrelevant or that does not concern the particular role you are applying for.
Whatever requirements you are asked to meet, you should try hard to match them as closely as possible, providing evidence if possible of your previous experience.
What is the employer looking for in your CV?
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the employer. How would you want an applicant’s CV to look? You would want it to be relevant to the role they are applying for and you would want it to be neat, concise and well organised.
For the majority of jobs there will be a job specification or person specification. You need to spend some time thinking about the type of person they are looking for and how you can match the specification that is relevant to the job you want.
Most job specifications will list the essential/desirable requirements in terms of education, qualifications, training, experience, skills, personality and any other special requirements. Let’s take a look at some of the skills and qualifications required to become a Physical Training Instructor at a Sports Centre.
|About the Job|
|You will need 2 GCSEs/SCEs or equivalent, in the subjects of English language at Grade C/3 minimum and in Mathematics at Grade G/6 minimum. You will need to have a good standard of fitness in a number of sports and have the ability to swim. You will be assessed via a specialist interview and be required to undertake additional tests.||Physical Training Instructors are responsible for organising and arranging physical fitness training programmes for members.Therefore a good standard of physical fitness and organisational skills are required. In addition to being physically fit you must also possess good motivational skills. • Manage sporting facilities; • Organise and conduct instructional classes; • Perform fitness tests; • Arrange and hold sports counselling sessions.|
You will see from the above details that some of the key elements of the role include suitable levels of physical fitness, good organisational skills, motivational skills and the ability to manage people and resources.
Once you have the above information then you will be able to mould your CV around the key aspects of the job. Before I provide you with a sample CV that is based on matching the above role, let’s first of all take a look at some of the key elements of a CV.
The key elements of a CV
The following is a list of information I recommend you include within your CV. Try to put them in this order and remember to be brief and to the point. Make sure you include and highlight the positive aspects of your experience and achievements.
• PERSONAL DETAILS
• EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
• ACADEMIC ACIEVEMENTS
• ANY OTHER INFORMATION
Let’s now take a look at each of the above sections and what you need to include.
When completing this section you should include the following details:
• Your full name
• Date of birth
• Contact telephone numbers including home and mobile
• Email address
To begin with try to write a brief but to-the-point statement about yourself making sure you include the keywords that best describe your character. Some effective words to use when describing yourself might include: Ambitious, enthusiastic, motivated, caring, trustworthy, meticulous, sense of humour, drive, character, determination, will to succeed, passionate, loyal, teamwork, hard working.
The above words are all powerful and positive aspects of an individual’s character. Try to think of your own character and what positive words you can use that best describe you.
Within your profile description try to include a statement that is relative to you and that will make the assessor think you are the right person for the job, such as: “I am an extremely fit and active person who has a great deal of experience in this field and I have a track record of high achievement. I have very good organisational and motivational skills and I am always striving to improve myself. I believe that I would embrace the challenges that this new role has to offer.”
When completing this section try to ensure that it is completed in reverse chronological order. Provide the reader with dates, locations and employers, and remember to include your job title.
Give a brief description of your main achievements and try, again, to include words of a positive nature, such as: Achieved, developed, progressed, managed, created, succeeded, devised, drove, expanded, directed. It is also a good idea to quantify your main achievements, such as: “During my time with this employer I was responsible for motivating my team and organising different activities.” Academic Achievements
When completing this section include the dates, names and locations of the schools, colleges or universities that you attended in reverse chronological order. You should also include your qualifications and any other relevant achievements such as health and safety qualifications or first aid qualifications.
Anything that is relevant to the role you’re applying for would be an advantage. Interests Within this section try to include interests that match the requirements of the job and ones that also portray you in a positive manner. Maybe you have worked within the voluntary sector or have even carried out some charity work in the past?
If so try to include these in your CV as they show you have a caring and concerning nature. You may also play sports or keep fit, in which case you should include these too. If you have any evidence of where you have worked effectively as part of a team then include this also.
Any Other Information Within this section of your CV you can include any other information that is relevant to your skills or experiences that you may feel are of benefit. Examples of these could be certificates of achievement from work or school.
Although you will normally be required to provide two references as part of your application for a job, it is good practice to include these at the end of your CV. Try to include your current or previous employer, providing you know that they are going to write positive things about you.
Be careful whom you choose as a reference and make sure you seek their permission first prior to putting down their name and contact details. It may also be a good idea to ask them if you can have a copy of what they have written about you for reference later.
The following sample CV has been designed to give you an idea of how an effective CV might look. It has been created with the position of Physical Training Instructor in mind. All of the information provided is fictitious.
Curriculum Vitae of Richard Munn
Address: 75, Any Street, Anytown, Anyshire. ANY 123 Date of birth: 01/01/1970 Nationality: British Telephone contact: 01227 XXXXX / Mobile 07890 XXX XXX E Mail contact: email@example.com
Personal profile of Richard McMunn
I am an extremely fit and active person who has a great deal of experience in this field and I have a track record of high achievement. I have very good organisational and motivational skills and I am always striving to improve myself.
I believe that I would embrace the challenges that this new role has to offer. I am a motivated, dedicated, loyal and ambitious person who has the ability to work both within a team and also unsupervised. I already have a large amount of experience in the working environment and take on a large number of responsibilities both at work, around the home and in my leisure time activities.
I am currently the Captain of my local football team and part of my responsibilities includes organising and conducting weekly evening training sessions for the team. For every training session that I run I always try to vary the type of exercises that we perform. This allows me to maintain everyone’s motivation and interest levels.
For example, one week I will organise the Multi-Stage Fitness Test and another week we will practise tackling and dribbling skills. To conclude, I am a fit, motivated active, organised and professional individual who has a lot of skills and experience to offer.
Employment history of Richard McMunn (in chronological order)
Job position/title/company #1 goes here
Date of employment goes here
During my time with this employer I was responsible for motivating my team and organising different activities.
Job position/title/company #2 goes here
Date of employment goes here
During my time with this employer I was responsible stock taking and dealing with customer’s queries and complaints. I also took on the responsibility of arranging the company’s annual staff leisure activity event which often included some form of motivational talk.
Job position/title/company #3 goes here
Date of employment goes here
During my time with this employer I undertook a training course in health and safety and first aid. Part of my role included managing resources and training rooms/equipment.
Academic achievements of Richard McMunn
Health and Safety qualification First Aid qualification Level 1 Physical Training Instructor qualification GSCE Maths Grade C GCSE English Grade C GCSE Physical Education Grade B
Date of achievement goes here Date of achievement goes here Date of achievement goes here Date of achievement goes here Date of achievement goes here.
Interests and Hobbies of Richard McMunn
I am an extremely fit and active person who carries out a structured training programme at my local gym five times a week. During my training sessions I will carry out a variety of different exercises such as indoor rowing, cycling, treadmill work and light weights. I measure my fitness levels by performing the multi-stage fitness test once a week and I can currently achieve level 14.5.
In addition to my gym work I am a keen swimmer and break up my gym sessions with long swim sessions twice a week. I can swim 60 lengths of my local swimming pool in a time of 35 minutes. I am also the Captain of my local football team and play in the position of midfield.
I am also responsible for organising and arranging the weekly training sessions. In addition to my sporting activities I like to relax with a weekly yoga group at my local community centre. I also have a keen interest in art and attend evening classes during the months of October through to December.
Six months ago I decided to carry out a sponsored fitness event in order to raise money for a local charity. I swam 60 lengths of my local swimming pool, and then ran 26 miles before cycling 110 miles all in one day. In total I managed to raise over £10,000 for charity.
Name, address and contact details of reference #1 Name, address and contact details of reference #2
TOP TIPS FOR CREATING AN EFFECTIVE CV
New application = new CV
It is important that every time you apply for a job you re-evaluate the content of your CV so that you can match the skills and qualifications required. As a rule, you should complete a new CV for every job application unless your applications are close together and the job/person specification is relatively similar for each.
Don’t become complacent or allow your CV to get out of date.
Don’t pad out your CV There is a common misconception amongst many job applicants that you need to make your CV scores of pages long for it to be recognised. This simply isn’t true. When creating your CV aim for quality rather than quantity. If I was looking through an applicant’s CV then I would much prefer to see 2 pages of high quality focused information rather than 5 pages padded out with irrelevance.
Create a positive image
Writing an effective CV involves a number of important aspects. One of those is the manner in which you present your CV. When developing your CV ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your spelling, grammar and punctuation correct?
- Is it legible and easy to read?
- Is the style in which you are writing your CV standardised?
- Is it neat?
- Is it constructed in a logical manner?
By following the above tips in respect of your CV image you will be on the right track to improving your chances of getting the job you are after. You should spend just as much time on the presentation of your CV as you do on the content.
Do you have the right qualities and attributes for the job you are applying for? When you are developing your CV have a look at the required personal qualities that are listed within the job/person spec. Try to match these as closely as possible but, again, ensure that you provide examples where appropriate.
For example, in the sample job description for a Physical Training Instructor, one of the required personal qualities was to: ‘Organise and conduct instructional classes’ Try to provide an example of where you have achieved this in any previous roles. The following is a fictitious example of how this might be achieved: “I am currently the Captain of my local football team and part of my responsibilities include organising and conducting weekly evening training sessions for the team.
For every training session that I run I always try to vary the type of exercises that we perform. This allows me to maintain everyone’s motivation and interest levels. For example, one week I will organise the Multi-Stage Fitness Test for them and another week I will arrange practice tackling and dribbling skills.” Matching your qualities and attributes to the role you are applying for is very important .
Be honest when creating your CV If you lie on your CV, especially when it comes to academic qualifications or experience, you will almost certainly get caught out at some point in the future. Maybe not straight away but even a few months or years down the line an employer can still dismiss you for incorrect information that you provide during the selection process. It simply isn’t worth it.
Be honest when creating your CV and if you don’t have the right skills for the job you are applying for, then go out there and get them!