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CV Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips

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Published by Sherwan R Shal
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Categories:Types, Resumes & CVs
Published by: Sherwan R Shal on Dec 08, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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THIS SHEET CAN BE MADE AVAILABLE IN ALTERNATIVE (EG. LARGE PRINT) FORMATS
 –
 PLEASE ASK AT THE DESK.
CVS & APPLICATIONS
You‟ve found the job or course that you want toapply for. Now it‟s time to market yourself 
successfully and maximise your chance ofobtaining that all-important interview. ThisInformation Leaflet gives a brief guide on how toput together great applications. For more detailedhelp, have a look at the Getting a Job section ofour website, www.careers.ox.ac.uk. 
Research and target!
Carefully tailoring your application to theorganisations that you are applying to is far morelikely to be successful than firing off many near-identical applications. Research the organisationthoroughly, and use the information you gain.Demonstrate your understanding of the job, theemployer and the sector in which it operates inyour application, and allow your motivation andinterest to come through.
Research the organisation and sectorat the Careers Service
Employer (red) Files and Career Briefings.
 
Oxford Careers Network
 –
there may alreadybe an Oxford graduate working for theemployer, whose brains you can pick. Use theonline database to get contact details and readwhat they have to say about their job, andperhaps contact them personally,www.careers.ox.ac.uk/students/ocn.
 Elsewhere
 
Employers‟ websites
 
 –
read them!
Annual Reports
 –
some are published onemployer websites, some are held on file at theCareers Service, others you will need torequest from the organisation itself.
 
The online LexisNexis news service is a usefulway of researching companies and accessingrecent press reports. Access viahttp://solo.ouls.ox.ac.uk/  with Oxford SingleSign-on.
 www.rocketnews.com is a five-day international news archive, available free of charge. Useful ifyou are away from Oxford and cannot useLexisNexis. Searches 6,000 news services. 
Attend presentations. Many recruiters visitOxford in Michaelmas Term
 –
 
don‟t just go andlisten; talk to them afterwards. See the What‟s
On section of our website for details; log in tothe password-protected area of the website.
Read the AGCAS Industry Insights,www.prospects.ac.uk/links/SectorBs .
Work out what they are looking for …
takestock of your skills and experience
Analyse the vacancy information and otheremployer literature to discover the skills,competencies and experience required for the job.Make sure that your application contains evidencethat you have these qualities (or at least thepotential to acquire them!). A useful tactic is to listtheir requirements, and jot down which areas ofyour life provide evidence that you meet eachrequirement. Keep this to hand when you arecompleting your application, and make sure thatyou have everything covered.
The OXFORD Effect 
There is no doubt that an Oxford education is appealingto many employers. They will assume that you areacademically gifted, with excellent A-
level scores. Don‟t
forget also to highlight the other benefits your time atOxford has given you:The tutorial system:
Ability to see both sides of an argument
Thinking on your feet
Explaining your views to others
Presenting information
Coping with pressurePersonal study:
Time management
Research skills
Analytical and critical thinking
Identifying key points
Summarising/synthesising information
Structuring argumentsOxford also presents a wealth of opportunity to getinvolved in college societies and to take on positions ofresponsibility
 –
all potentially application-enhancing.
 
 
 
Addresses 
 
 –
 this needs to be clear, but can be compact. Give your term and vacation addresses.
Font 
 
 –
stick to one clear font throughout (eg Arial, Times New Roman); 11pt minimum for main text.Any academic 
awards 
could go here. Put in 
grades 
or expected grades,if available. Add course detail, if relevant.
There’s no need to
list all those 
GCSE 
 subjects and grades, unless specifically requested or really relevant.A good place to 
give evidence of the required competences 
.Others may come with your degree details or interests. Use 
 bullet points,
 and emphasise your 
 achievements/ responsibilities,
not just the activity. Avoid  just listing skills 
 –
 let your description speak for itself.Start with the most 
recent 
.Emphasise the most 
relevant 
 aspects of your experience.Other possible 
headings 
are 
RelevantExperience,EmploymentHistory,Positions ofResponsibility.
Use what suits you best.
 
Referees 
 
 –
not 
“references”! 
Ask them first,and send them a copy of your application.Give an indication of your level of skill,
eg “working 
knowledge, basic,
fluent”, etc.
 Make 
your name 
stand out 
 –
 
you don’t need towrite “curriculum vitae”.
 
One or two full sides 
, printed on to good quality paper.
 
CVs
Your
 
unique document
 
 –
there are no rules about the headings you must use. Choose headingsthat best display your relevant experience and skills to the potential employer. Here are some
ideas …
 
Describing your experience:
 
(can include paid, unpaid, work with student societies … ):
 Work experienceEmployment historyRelevant experiencePositions of responsibilityTeaching/research/publishing/media/legal, etc, experienceOther experienceVoluntary work
Other possible headings:
EducationQualificationsScholarships, AwardsPublications, PresentationsConferences/courses attendedInterests & activitiesAdditional skillsLanguages, IT
Charlotte Brown
57 Worthington Road, Northampton, NN3 1KLcharlotte.brown@merton.ox.ac.uk 0794728562Nationality: UK DOB: 24.01.84
Education
2003-2007
University of Oxford
 
MEarthSci Earth Sciences
 Independent Fieldwork Project. Six weeks mapping an area of15 sq kms in the Cantabrian Mountains, Northern Spain.Masters Project. Laboratory based.1995-2002
Northampton High School
 A levels: Geography A, Maths A, Physics A.GCSEs: 8 at A*, 2 at A, including Maths and English.
Work Experience
Summer 2006
Finance Department, Quest International, Ashford, Kent.
 
Processed invoices, analysed data and dealt with bothcustomers and suppliers.
Researched and prepared response for the United NationsClaims Commission. Quest is currently pursuing a claim withregard to lost revenue due to the Iraqi conflict.
Updated Expenses Database, redesigned and tested newExpense Claim form.2002-2003
Gap Year placement with Shires Aggregates
Testing and sampling aggregates used in highways.
Liaised with site engineers to solve technical problems.
Positions of responsibility
2005-2006
President of the Oxford Geology Society, Geolsoc.
 
Led a committee responsible for organising seminars, speakersand social events.
Responsible for budget allocation.
Additional skills
Languages: French, good written and spoken; Spanish, basic knowledge.IT Skills: Proficient at MS Office applications and internet use.
Interests & activities
Travelling: During my gap year I travelled extensively in the Far East.My degree has given me opportunities for travel in Europe.Music: Lead alto sax player and founding member of Mertz Swing Band
play at local venues, weddings and other social events.
European Tour 2004.
Referees
Dr Jo Bloggs, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Parks Rd, Oxford, OX1 3PR. Tel. 01865 2771234Dr Ellie Phant, Quest International, Ashford, Kent AF4 2RH Tel. 01234 546831
Date of birth 
is now optional due to recent anti-age legislation.
 
 
CVs
 –
International
International students applying in the UK
Non-UK qualifications 
If your educational system is different from thatof the UK (1
st
,2
nd
,3
rd
-class degrees, A-levels andGCSEs), you will need to help an employerunderstand what your qualifications mean. TheBritish Council Office in your home country(access via www.britishcouncil.org.uk) may beable to help, and the NARIC (www.naric.org.uk)can provide formal equivalence documentation.
Boston University, USA BA in Political Science
Grade Point Average (GPA) 3.75 out of max 4.0680 on GMAT (top 5%)
International Baccalaureate Diploma
 Total Points: 41 (out of 42)
Higher: 
Maths (6), Ancient Greek (7), German (7)
Standard: 
English Lit (7), Physics (7), Economics (7)
Technische Universität Berlin
 Mathematics (equivalent to BA level)
“Diplomvorpr 
ü
fung” Final results: Very good (1.3)
 
Work Permit status 
Employers find it useful to know about youreligibility to work in the UK. Give them yournationality, and if you already have the right towork in the UK, then say so.Nationality: French & US dual nationality (withright to work throughout the EEA)Nationality: Canadian (eligible to work in UKunder TWES scheme)Nationality: Indian & British (by marriage)Nationality:
 
Chinese (work permit required)
 Applications outside the UK
Styles of CV vary greatly from country tocountry. Consult
The Global Resume Guide 
(Mary Anne Thompson, Wiley & Sons, 2000),available for reference at the Careers Service, orthe country-specific information atwww.prospects.ac.uk (Jobs and work > Exploreworking and studying abroad). For moreinformation about styles across Europe, see thecareer planning area of www.eurograduate.com.There are often changes to the rules affectinginternational students and recent graduateswishing to work in the UK. It is recommendedthat you check with UKCISA:
 
The UK Council forInternational Student Affairs,www.ukcisa.org.uk/.
 
CVs
 –
Postgraduates
 The advice given in this Information Leaflet isrelevant to postgraduates as well asundergraduates. However, presenting two (ormore) degrees in a way that maximises theimpact of your experience while addressing anyconcerns that a potential employer may havecan be challenging. For some roles (egacademia) a higher degree is virtually essential.You may need to include further sections (egpublications, conferences attended, researchproposals). For other sectors you must adaptyour CV to meet with the interests of theemployer, drawing on the extensive transferableskills you will have gained from your extra study.Have a look at the excellent Vitae website formore advice for doctoral researchers andresearch staff on presenting your skills andachievements on a CV, www.vitae.ac.uk.
Employer-friendly transferable skills typicallydeveloped by DPhil students:
project managementgoal-settingprioritisationtime managementdata managementrecording and presenting informationself-reliancecreativity and innovationself-disciplineself-motivationteamworkinstructing, trainingreport writingpresentingnetworking
Demonstrating ‘commercial awareness
 
Include any experience of budget management,fundraising, work outside of academia (fromorganising department/college events or societytreasurer positions to bar work).Emphasise any involvement in grant proposals,budgeting for equipment/fieldwork/resources, etc.Talk the talk
 –
research the market that theemployer operates in, who their customers/ clients/competitors are and any recent initiativesthey have been involved in, so that you can talktheir language.Think about joining societies with a businessfocus (eg OU Entrepreneurs).
 
Look out for business courses, eg at the SaidBusiness School or through communityeducation.

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