Monday 9 March 2009

I think my cv may be too long, but I don't know what to cut out

Faithfully listing each job in chronological order can result in a lengthy, dull document. Instead, aim to showcase a carefully chosen selection of experience and attributes with a view to filling in the detail at interview. One to one and a half pages is a better length.

Selections should vary according to the job you're applying for. Treat your current, detailed, CV as source material for a range of different applications, each tailored to a specific post.

Experiment with alternative formats such as using skills rather than dates and job titles as headings. Pick out four or five attributes that are key to the post, then provide examples of jobs or situations where you demonstrated them effectively.

Be specific about what you achieved rather than making sweeping statements. Many employers like to get a feel for who you worked for and how long you stay in a job, so supplement this with a concise summary of three or four recent employers, then group older, shortterm work. Give a date range and bunch jobs together by type of employer or skills gained. For example, "2004-2006 – Range of short-term administrative contracts which included basic web authoring, database creation and maintenance."

A summary statement at the start works well. Aim for four short sentences encapsulating what you offer and what you're looking for. Complement all this with a covering letter. This is the personal part, where you can expand on why you're applying for the job and reinforce your suitability in a more informal way. Keep that to one page.

To see the full piece in the UKs Guardian, please click HERE

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