An essential part of any job search is your CV and everyone should know how to construct one.

Knowing the difference between a good CV and a great CV could be the deciding factor in securing an interview for your dream job.

After reading this section, you will know:

The best format to follow
What to and what not to include
Importance of tailoring your CV to your audience
The format of a winning CV/Resume

Don’t overwrite, the length of your CV should aim to cover no more than 2 pages, a maximum 3-4.

The CV will provide a database of skills, experience and achievements from which you should select material to reflect the requirements of the specific post.

So, highlight the most important matching points first, even if they are less important in terms of your present job, or were skills or achievements that go back some time.

A great CV begins with a short summary of who you are. Make sure the CV is objective and avoid all the subjective clichés such as ‘excellent self-starter’, ‘good team player’, ‘natural leader’ and ‘good communicator’. You should demonstrate the qualities through your tangible achievements which follow in the CV.

Remember that your CV will form part of the script for the interviewer’s questions. Do not allow gaps or unclear explanations to take up the precious time allotted to you so, try to neatly match their requirements.

A great CV gives some idea of your future potential. If you are presently studying for an additional qualification, say so and illustrate your achievements.

Do not feel it is sufficient to simply state the posts and responsibilities that you have held. It is vital to illustrate how well you have carried out this work through your list of achievements.

How does an achievement differ from responsibility? An achievement is a statement of how you have added value to an organisation. Make sure to sell yourself and express your skills and qualities in the present tense – you may not be using them right now but you still have these facilities and these positive features need to jump out from your CV.

Design and print your CV. Make sure the material is clear and visually attractive. So many CVs do not reach this standard. Make sure that yours does; otherwise it is a complete waste of effort.

The most widely accepted style is the chronological CV – one that chronicles your career history as a series of appointments with the achievements listed against each one. Present it in reverse date order, with the most recent appointment first. Allow more real estate for your more recent positions, since these are where your most important achievements are usually found.

In some situations, however, a functional CV is acceptable and may be more appropriate. A functional CV is where you group together your skills and experience under ‘functional’ headings. It can be helpful to produce a functional CV, even if it is just for your own reference.


List your professional, higher education qualifications and school results
Show recent vocational training
Include genuine foreign language skills
Include your unusual interests
Add a note of any publications and/or external positions you hold
Get someone independent to look at your CV/resume when you have completed it – not a friend or family member
Be prepared to refine it a number of times until it is right.


List every training course you have ever attended
Indicate race/nationality/politics, etc
Indicate your basic computer skills
Highlight any mundane interests
Include present salary details
Give references
Do not add superfluous details about your marital status, children, religion or political affiliations, etc
Do not include a list of all of your interests and hobbies.

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