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How to present your career and aspirations on paper!

When it comes to looking for a job, for many people the first step, writing a good CV, is often quite a challenge. 

Do not worry, JMA help is at hand!

Here are the main guidelines, or CV tips, to help you produce an informative document that will help get you noticed.

Always make sure you include all the keywords of your experience.

Now that jobsites and recruitment searches are automated, you cannot assume that anyone will know you have ABC experience just because you worked at XYZ Company. If your CV doesn’t include the target word, the search engine won’t find it!

Don’t worry about the length of the document.

Précis CV’s are the bain of our life! If the information is not there, we won’t know about it! We like to see the fullest possible document, so that we can read all about you. Yes, we may then recommend some summarisation as appropriate, for a particular role, but show us everything to start with.

Step by step…

1. Name, address and contact details.

2. Career, successes, skills and ambitions.

3. Employment history in great detail.

4. Take a break and review your document.

Make sure you start the CV with your name, contact details, and full postal address.

Experienced readers can scan over your CV in 30 seconds, so we need to see your key fact straight away. Please don’t password your document, as this will prevent our systems and those of jobsites from processing your CV! Always send your document to us, to everybody, in Word or Open Document Text. Whilst PDF’s are visually attractive, they are not keyword searchable and you be invisible to matching software.

Then present a summary of your career, successes, skills and ambitions in no more than 200 words.

It needs to be bite-size and easy to understand. For example; just two lines of prose and ten bullet points, or a short paragraph of narrative.

Now detail your employment history.

Your last role often represents 40% of the reasons why you will be hired. So please devote up to 400 words to what you’ve been doing most recently. The only exception is if you have just been doing a short term role, overshadowed by your preceding fuller job.

The rest of your work history can represent 20% of the reason you will be hired. So give all of your preceding jobs up to 200 word descriptions each. However, if you’ve been in full employment for a long time, jobs more than ten years ago can be reduced to two line descriptions.

After this you should conclude with details about your education, professional training, voluntary work and pastimes.

Take a break and review your document.

Make sure all the information on your CV is correct and up-to-date. Your CV is a means of making an impact on the people who decide on whether to interview you  or not. Watch out especially for any gaps on your CV as employers will spot them and question you about them. Make sure you can account for them.

Ask a friend to look over the CV once you have completed it, sometimes it is easier for someone from the outside to spot mistakes.

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