BOOT CAMP 098
CV WRITING MADE SIMPLE
With all of the resources and assistance now available to
job hunters and those planning a change of career it is astonishing how many
applications fail at the first hurdle because of poorly written or badly
presented CVs. First impressions really are important and in a competitive job
market employers and personnel managers do not hesitate to weed out untidy and
clumsily written CVs, especially if they contain basic spelling and grammar
There is simply no excuse for that kind of carelessness. Any
word processor can produce a neat-looking document, virtually all WPs have
spell checkers and some, including Microsoft Word, have built-in templates that
can help you to organise and create an eye-catching CV.
We will look at how to set up and use the 'Resume' facility
in Word in a moment but first a few general pointers on creating a more
successful CV. Rule number one is keep
it brief and relevant, if possible try and get the whole thing on a single
sheet of paper. A CV is like an advertisement, you are selling yourself; it has
to convey a message simply and efficiently. Employers do not have the time or
inclination to wade through a lot of inconsequential information they want to
know if you have the particular skills and qualifications they are seeking. Use
words that convey a sense of decisiveness and action, avoid fluffy phrases like
'participated in' and 'involved in', which imply a lack of experience.
The two key areas are qualifications and employment history.
Include all dates and details of your education. Emphasise your accomplishments
from GCSE onwards but you might want to leave out anything that is more than
five years old and it is highly unlikely that any employer will be interested
in knowing about your primary school, no matter how formative an experience it
was. Arrange the information in chronological order, starting with your most
An employer wants to see a concise record of your work
history, again listed in reverse chronological order, if there are gaps explain
them. Describe each task and be direct, stress problem solving skills,
leadership abilities and notable successes, especially any that relate to the
post you are seeking.
Include a list of general skills even if they sound mundane,
a driving licence, fluency in a foreign language and the ability to use a
computer are definitely worth mentioning. List relevant extracurricular
activities, especially if they involve some kind of responsibility,
organisational qualities or the ability to operate as part of a team. Employers
know all of the tricks so don't try to disguise the fact that a skill or
achievement is out of date or no longer relevant by leaving out important details.
When you have finished your CV double then triple check
spelling and grammar. A surprisingly large number of job applications omit
basic contact details, if you are submitting a CV by email do not forget to
include your postal address and telephone number as well. Invite constructive
criticism by asking someone you trust to read it through. It's important to
include a covering letter that relates specifically to the post you are
applying for. You should address the letter to the person conducting the interviews
or posting the advertisement. Keep the letter short and to the point,
reiterating the skills and qualifications that the employer is looking for.
Your finished CV and letter should be printed on good paper using a high
quality inkjet or laser printer.
If you are sending your CV to a prospective employer by
email find out beforehand which type of format they prefer, there's no point
sending it as a file attachment that they cannot read. Send a copy to yourself
first, so you can see how it will look, and read it through carefully, just in
case you missed anything.
There is plenty of useful information and helpful hints
about how to create the perfect CV on the Internet.
For some helpful tips and an international perspective on CV
writing try the
Monterey Institute of International Studies:
The Kenda Recruitment Solutions web site has some good
practical advice, it can be found at:
Back now to the CV template in Word 97. It can be found on
the File menu under New, select the Other Documents tab and click on Resume
Wizard. The opening page shows you how the process works, click the Next button
and choose the most appropriate style, then the type of CV you want to create.
The next step is to enter your name, address, telephone number, email etc., and
that's followed by a list of personal details that you may or may not want to
include. Steps five, six and seven ask you to nominate the headings you want to
use (employment, education, objectives etc), and that takes you to the finished
blank template with your personal details already included.
To fill in the form just click the mouse cursor into the
relevant field and key in the information. As with any Word document you can
change any or all of the text attributes by highlighting the relevant section
and using the typeface and font size menus. Once you've saved your CV you might
like to experiment with some finishing touches, like a graduated tint or light
texture. These options can be found on the Format menu, under Background. Try
to use subtle effects, you could end up making the document difficult to read
or give the impression that you're trying to be clever, either way might harm
your chances of the CV being read.
Next week – Removing and reinstalling Windows
An area on a document that acts as a container for text or
data that needs to be entered or might change, without affecting the rest of
A page that contains embedded instructions concerning
typeface and size, page layout and style features. Word processor like Word
contains a wide selection of ready-made templates or you can create your own
A self-activating program that guides you through a simple
set-up routine for a particular feature or application
As you know the Defrag utility in Windows 95 and 98 is a
good way of optimising the performance of your PCs hard disc drive. Over time
and as you add and remove programs the filing system on the disc becomes
disorganised. Defrag returns order to the file structure, helping to speed up
access times and reduce wear and tear on the drive mechanics. Additionally
Windows 98 can improve efficiency by grouping the programs that you use most
often at the beginning of the drive. Instead of the usual method where you run
Defrag from Properties > Tools in My Computer go to the Start menu, then
Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disc Defragmenter and click
the Settings button. On the dialogue box that appears put a check in the box
next to 'Rearrange program files so my programs start faster', click OK and
start the defrag program.