Basic Résumé Rules

No matter what the job, there are a number of basic rules which should always be followed when preparing your résumé

  • It must be simple to read. Do mention your strengths and achievements together with basic factual information but do not go into too much detail.
  • Save that for the interview.
  • It should be presented in a logical fashion and presented in reverse chronological order. i.e.: your most recent work experience should be the first to appear.
  • It should be immaculately presented. A potential employer will see your CV as a direct reflection of you. If it is messy or contains spelling or grammatical mistakes you will minimize your chances of getting to interview stage. When you have finished compiling your CV, check it through carefully (don't rely on spell-check) and then ask a friend or colleague to read it through for you. A fresh pair of eyes is often useful at picking up errors.
  • Emphasize your achievements and use positive language such as 'achieved', 'responsible for', and 'attained'.
  • Remember to include every relevant skill such as languages, IT and training or skills courses attended.
  • Include your interests and activities but make sure that you are truthful and able to expand on the subject during an interview. There is no point listing theatre as a passion and then admitting that you have seen no plays during the past 12 months! Try to ensure that you get across to the interviewer what your objectives are in life, what motivates you and what your values are.
  • Do not use coloured paper or a poor quality photocopier.
  • Be honest at all times. Lying about previous experience or qualifications might seem like a good idea but if you are caught out it could end your career for good.
  • Keep it to an absolute maximum of three pages and ideally to two pages.
  • Double check that you have the full names, addresses and contact details of two referees who will provide good references. These should be arranged prior to the interview.
  • Finally, submit your CV with a covering letter and good luck!
Basic Cover Letter Rules:
When sending your CV to a prospective employer, submit it with a short covering letter.

This letter should:

  • Outline the position which you are applying for and where you saw the advert
  • Tell them that you are attaching a CV
  • State your current salary
  • Give details about where and when you can be contacted.
  • Mention if you are about to go away and will not be available for interview
  • Be brief - one page maximum
  • Tell the employer briefly why you would be good for the job
Finally, make sure that you send the letter to the correct person, at the correct address and with his or her name spelt correctly.
We hope that these few tips will assist you in producing an effective CV and that it will in turn open many doors for you. Good luck on your job search!