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Tips for CV writing 

The Cover Letter

The cover letter gives you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the other applicants. It allows you to highlight how your skills, experience and qualifications meet the requirements of the job and gives you the opportunity to stress your unique selling points.

Say why you want to join the organisation and do the particular job and summarise your suitability for the job.

Say when you will be available for an interview and end your letter on a polite note. Remember to say 'Thank you'.

The cover letter should also identify who you are; specify what the job is and state where and when the advertisement appeared.

Before you send your cover letter, read it through and pay careful attention to punctuation, grammar and spelling. These factors are extremely important in creating a ‘good’ first impression. 

Writing your CV

The purpose of the CV is to get you an interview. To do this, it must be designed to grab the employer's attention. A 'one-size-fits-all' CV is less likely to make an impact than one which has been adjusted to focus on the requirements of a specific job.

Firstly, you need to evaluate the job description and match your own skills and accomplishments to those that the employer is looking for. You should begin by studying the job advertisement to determine exactly what your prospective employer requires. The job description will give a summary of the job and the duties involved. An employee specification will identify the knowledge, skills and competencies required. Your task is to convince the employer that you meet the requirements.

Researching the company or organisation to which you are applying is very important. Relevant information is usually obtainable from their promotional literature, annual reports, and website.

Now you know what the employer wants, it's time to compile your CV. Use the words and phrases that appear in the advertisement and highlight the skills and experience specifically requested. Remember to include transferable skills. Think of other unspecified skills that might be required and make sure to record all your relevant qualifications and experience.

Tailor your CV so that it addresses the employer's needs. Prioritise and highlight the skills and accomplishments which you think would fit the employer's expectations. Highlight your skills and achievements and back them up with hard evidence and examples.

When describing your work experience, use job titles or skill headings that match the job you are applying for. Be positive and forward looking.

Discuss how your prospective employer will benefit from your skills, qualifications and experience. Use past accomplishments as an indicator of future results.

Since your CV will be competing with hundreds of others, visual layout is very important. It must be carefully structured and uncluttered.

Check for spelling, grammar and typographical errors.

Design CVs

When applying for design roles (be it Product Design, Architecture, Interiors or Landscape), remember your audience. The employer is a designer so wants to see a CV that reflects your design skills. Create a CV that is visually appealing. It should contain all relevant information as well as examples of your work. Make sure the CV is one file and that it is not too big a document.

Internet Friendly CVs

Computers and database search engines use different criteria than people when initially identifying potential jobseekers. Key words are the prime issue in any CV to be put on the Internet. These are words that pop up when employers search a database. Key words also tend to be nouns i.e. skills, software packages, types of projects. Adjectives and verbs generally will not be used as the search criteria and CV's that rely on these will therefore have a reduced chance of being selected.


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