Guided draft: Prepare your CV material
The modern CV must be targeted, relevant and concise.
Your CV needs to tell your prospective employer about how you can answer to their needs, so you need to start by analysing yourself and the prospective position. The purpose of a CV is to persuade the employer that you should be interviewed for the position. To do this, your CV must show that you have the qualities the employer is looking for.
Start your CV draft by doing some research about CVs in general
- Attend CV seminar at Careers
- View video in Careers office
- View Power Point on Careerhub articles
- Read our CV guide
- List achievements (academic and other), work experience and skills gained, personal qualities, qualifications, interests
Brainstorm what you’ve got to offer
- List your achievements
- List your work experience and the skills gained and used in each position
- List your personal qualities
- Write down all your formal qualifications
- Make a list of your interests and what they say about you
Figure out what they’re looking for
You're researching two identities here - yourself, and the company, business or organisation you're applying to. Don't take shortcuts - when it comes to CVs and applications, you can never do too much research!
To convince the employer that you’re just what they’re looking for, you need to figure out what they’re looking for. It’s worth it – the results of your research will not only help you put together the most effective CV and cover letter possible, but will also come in handy when you reach interview stage.
Research the job
- Read the job description if this is available. Otherwise find a job description for a similar position in the files held at the Career Development Centre to give you some insight into what the job will involve
- Read any general information about the type of work you will have to do
- Talk to people who are doing similar work
- Read any brochures or reports which the employer has produced/provided. These can give you some valuable insight into how the company sees itself or wishes to be seen
Research the company
You need to find out what the job involves, but you also need to find out what the company is like, what sort of culture it has, and what qualities it values.
- The job advertisement should provide some brief info on the company
- The job description should outline the company and its values
- Their website could provide information on past successes, current projects and future directions; offer staff profiles in a tone which can reveal how they see their employees; or suggest the company’s strengths and values
- Company brochures/promotional material can reveal what opportunities the company can offer, what they’re proud of, and how they wish to be seen by their clients and staff
- People you know who have had experience with the company can tell you a lot about their direction, strengths, and values
- Current employees: Phoning the company and asking questions is a great way to do accurate research on the company, and doubles as a way to get yourself on the radar. Plan before you pick up the phone – make a list of questions you’d like to ask, and check the contact/s given on the job description or website to figure out who you should call
- Online networks – does the company have a Facebook site or similar? Bingo! Tons of info at your fingertips
Bring together your research and brainstorming
- Match your brainstorm with the employer requirements
- Give evidence to back your skills profile – check employer expectations in your CV guide
- Approach your referees
Think about the job
- Make lists answering the following questions:
- What tasks would the daily routine involve?
- What skills would the job call for?
- What type of personality would suit the job?
Think about yourself
- Do you have the skills the job calls for?
- Do you have the right sort of temperament or personality?
Be clear about the match
- Get out your highlighter and highlight the the skills, qualities and abilities you have that are necessary for the position
Hot tip: Use different colours to indicate which skills match up with which requirement of the job - this will help you organise your thoughts about your suitability for the position and prepare to present the information in your draft.