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How to write a successful resume or CV and get yourself the job you want
WHY A RESUME
Government cuts mean that many of us will be searching for new jobs. Finding a new job is difficult. It is a world that we don't seem to belong to if we have been employed for some years.
I worked for the government from the age of 26 until they severed my contract this year after some 23 years. I wasn't upset I was overjoyed seeing it as a move towards a different type of life style. Although I had some cash I wanted to get a job and that is where I found my first block nearly all job ads asked for a resume (as they say in the US)or a CV (as they say in the UK) . I had neither
How difficult could it be? I thought. I mean its just a list of everything i have ever done which will give a prospective employer an idea of who I am and what I am about .
After reading around it soon became clear to me that for my CV to be successful it had to contain the details that any potential employer would want.
E mail address.
OK so now they can contact me easily lets give them something worth reading.
Had to stop and have a good think at this point. Like a lot of older people I have a good academic record which started when I took my first public exams at 16 and is still going strong- I took a qualification in teaching in September.
Would a propsective employer want to know about my lower level educational qualifications, "no" i thought not. I summarised my qualifications as, passed 6 "O" levels including maths and english in 1976 and passed 3 "a" levels in 1978.
I included degree level education to show that I had a degree from a United Kingdom University. Dont worry if yours is a lower level just highlight the highest level you have.
I quote the details as follows;
Name of Awarding Institution .............University of..................(It is only necessary to give the address of the University could be confused with another)
Date Degree Awarded .......................July 1982 ( this is important as you could have returned to education as a mature student)
Class..................................................Were you an honors student, what grade awarded
Subject...............................................Put the title that appears on your certificate.
These instructions can be followed for your main and recent qualifications whatever level they may be. List everything especially those that are recent. You may have passed a first aid certificate and think it is of little value but it might just give you the edge if the employer is short of qualified first aiders.
Some employers also want to know exactly how you did in each examination- not just the total mark- so if you are given a transcript (usually with your degree, keep it carefully.) Replacement certificates/transcripts can be obtained but a fee is often payable.
Again I had to rethink this- I had worked for two government employers for my 23 years- surely they would not want to know about other jobs? Apparently they do- some employers want to know everything that you have done- so if you have taken a break to look after an aged parent or children they want to know. One employer told me it was used as a tool to spot people who had been in prison!
So sit there with a pen and pencil and cast your mind back- all those jobs- what did you do? Make it look interesting- even if it was simply waiting on tables- at least employers know that you are capable of working with the public and doing practical things.
I chose to record details as follows:
Name of Employer (Did not include address)
Date worked to and From
With the main duties part I tried to keep it clear and simple and free from jargon- many skills are transportable so writing "using in house computer systems" is much better than " used IS and JSA daily"
This is an opportunity for you to highlight your personal qualities. We all have them but sometimes it is so hard to recognise our own. If this is the case ask colleagues or friends and family. Be prepared to received criticism but use it constructively. For example of you colleagues and friends say " finding it so difficult to read your handwriting" don't take offence but at the same time don't promote yourself as having good handwriting until you have really sat and practised.
Hobbies and Interests
Employers often wish to know that a potential employee has a life outside of work. So put your hobbies and interests here. If you put something like reading be prepared at the interview to say what you are currently reading!
I never ever print out contact details for reference until specifically requested by a potential employer. So many C.V.s get flung around the office get uploaded onto various job sites, it does not seem right to display private contact details all over. I tend to have a pool of people to give references all of whom I have encountered during parts of my life. Usually an employer will ask for a reference from a current or former employer but this is not always the case as some firms realised that few employers will write a quality reference especially if they don't want to lose you.
After you have done all this work read through the resume. Is everything grammatical and spelling correct.Is it laid out neatly.
Ask yourself these questions:
Does the content do me justice?
Is it interesting?
Does the resume make you sound interesting?
Does it highlight that you have the skills and education necessary to do the job?
Pass your resume to a few trusted people and get them to look it over and offer their opinions and act on them if you think it is necessary.
Once you have prepared your resume keep it up to date. It is tempting, once you have a job not to update it but if you keep doing this when you do need a move you will have an up to date document that you can give out fairly immediately.
Good luck is also needed, so a prayer, good thoughts or a sprinkling of fairy dust should be applied when you send it on its way