Your CV should be tailored to the particular job for which you are applying. Read job specs carefully and highlight relevant experience on your CV. The one CV will not be suitable to apply for every job.
The perfect CV should feature the following content, in this order:
- Personal information: name, address and contact details
- Why you are right for this job or have the relevant skills and experience: this is your chance to really convince an employer that you are the perfect candidate for the role. But keep it short; two to three lines should suffice
- Career history: starting with your most recent job and working backwards
- List any other skills you have: only if you feel they add to your CV. Perhaps you are a great writer, fantastic with figures or a whizz at IT; if they complement the application make sure they are included
- Education: unless this is your first job, an employer does not need to know your Junior Cert results. Instead from an educational perspective, it will really depend on your life circumstances and how advanced you on your career. Realistically speaking if you are very advanced in your career or have had a job outside of college Junior Cert and Leaving Cert results really aren’t required. Instead a brief description of your college course should be the focus.
- Hobbies and interests: don’t underestimate the importance of including your interests. If you don’t have a specific hobby list the things you like to do such as reading, cinema and travel
- References: Matrix suggests that there is no need to list your referees, as this only makes a CV longer. A prospective employer will assume that you will provide references if required
- Proofread: it is difficult to proofread your own work so ask a couple of friends to read over your CV to pick up any typos or errors. One mistake is often all it takes for your CV to be disregarded and for you to lose that dream job.
A strong cover letter can make a very good first impression. Your CV has limitations, so this is the perfect opportunity to inject some personality into your application and tell an employer a little more about yourself. Don’t go overboard and keep the cover note concise and short, anything too long is unlikely to be read.
In terms of the content, the cover note should show enthusiasm and passion and conclude on an action such as ‘thank you for taking the time to review my CV and I do hope we get to discuss the job in the near future’. You need to give an employer a reason to open your CV and a cover note allows you to personalise your application.