CV's are called a variety of things (eg, curriculum vitae, resume). There is no universally accepted format.

The most important attribute of a successful CV is that it clearly explains to the reader what it is that you can do for them. Your CV should be: - A well-presented, selling document - A source of interesting, relevant information - A script for talking about yourself The purpose of your CV is not to get you the job. Its purpose is to get you an interview, and after your meeting to remind the person you met with about you. Remember: you are not writing a CV for yourself, you are writing it for the reader. So, as you write your CV, put yourself in the shoes of the intended reader. This section takes you through the content and detail of effective CVs: - A standard two-page printed CV - A one-page summary CV - An online CV The decision to recruit is like a buying decision on the part of an employer. This creates a very clear picture of what a CV must include:

1. It must meet the needs of the target organisation where possible. This means a single generalist CV is unlikely to be sufficient. 2. It must highlight your achievements and how they relate to the job you are applying for. It must give the reader a clear indication of why you should be considered for this role. To decide what to include in your CV and where, follow these principles and guidelines: 1. Generally, the document should contain no more than 2 pages. Sometimes, a one page summary is all that is required. 2. Your CV should be honest and factual. 3. The first page should contain enough personal details for a recruitment consultant or potential employer to contact you easily. 4. Choose a presentation format that allows you to headline key skills, key achievements or key attributes. 5. Your employment history should commence with your current or most recent job

and work backwards. 6. Achievements should be short, bullet-pointed statements and include your role, the action you took and a comment on the result of your action. 7. Where information clearly demonstrates your suitability for the vacancy you're applying for, and enhances your chances of being short-listed, include this information near the beginning of the CV. 8. Leave out information that is irrelevant or negative. 9. Include details of recent training or skills development events you have attended which could be relevant. 10. List all your professional memberships and relevant qualifications. As we work through examples in this section, we will continually refer back to these principles and guidelines. The most common contents of a CV include: Personal Details Skills and Career Summary Key Achievements Qualifications Career History

Don't forget: The ultimate test of YOUR CV is whether it meets the needs of the person making the buying decision, and whether YOU feel comfortable with its content and style. The next few pages will provide a detailed description of how to achieve this. When you submit a printed CV to a recruiter or a potential employer, it is likely to be the first thing they get to see or read of yours. Therefore, you need to present your CV well and make it user friendly. For example: * Use a good quality paper, typically 100gsm in weight and watermarked. In most cases, be conservative and print your CV in black ink on white paper. Covering letters should use identical stationery. * Lay your CV out neatly * Don't make the margins too deep or too narrow * Resist writing lengthy paragraphs - be concise * Careful use of bold type can be effective * Typefaces such as Times New Roman or Arial are fairly standard * Do not use a type size less than 11pt. * Check for spelling or typographical errors - whoever actually types your CV, errors are YOUR responsibility. Don't rely on a spell checker. If you're not sure about a word, resort to a dictionary. Sloppiness and lack of care could be heavily penalised.

Key Skills/Competencies/Attributes: Summarise the things about you that are relevant to this role. You can present the information as a list of achievements, a summary of skills, or a list of key competencies (this choice should be made in consultation with your career consultant). Give as much evidence as you can to suggest that you are suited to the career that you are pursuing. A reminder: You will find a list of your skills in the summary pages. The one-page summary CV may also include one or two of the following sections if you consider they enhance your application.

Your cover letter presents your intentions, qualifications, and availability to a prospective employer in a succinct, appealing format. It's your first chance to make a great impression, a personalized letter indicates you are serious about your job search. Your resume can give the nittygritty of dates, places of employment, and education but your cover letter must entice the reader to take the extra few minutes to consider you when faced with hundreds and thousands of candidates for any one job opening. 1. Do you really need a cover letter? You bet! Just as you would never just show up unannounced at a prospective employer's door, your resume should Never just appear solo on a decision- maker's desk. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to introduce yourself, present your qualifications, and show the search committee you are a potential candidate for the advertised position. 2. Personalize it to the company. Anyone can reproduce a "canned" cover letter and hope for the best. Instead, take a few minutes to personalize your letter by showing that you are really serious about working for the companies you are contacting. State the reason that you are interested in working for that particular company. Mention a department, a new project the company is involved in, an acquisition the company has made. Show that you have done your homework. Address the cover letter to a specific individual whenever possible. 3. Why are you sending your resume and cover letter? Cover letters should be clear and to the point. Include the specific job title, two to three reasons why your experience makes a good fit, and a brief outline of career highlights. 4. Highlight your strengths! You may be a great person and never call in sick, but prospective employers really want to know why they should consider you for this position. Brag a little! Give a few facts, list relevant skills, and state accomplishments on your present or most recent jobs that will be impressive. Increased overseas sales by 93%? Negotiated new financial leases/loans? Implemented new training programs which reduced staff turnover by 15%? 5. State your intentions and qualifications right up front. If you expect a senior personnel manager or recruiter to wade through a mish-mash of information on your cover letter before understanding why you are sending your resume, chances are, it will never happen. 6. What makes you different? Emphasize your skills, talents, and experiences to show how you would be a valuable addition to the team. If you have relevant volunteer or professional experience include it briefly in your cover letter. Example: An accountant who serves as volunteer treasurer for a nonprofit community health organization; an international sales rep who has lived in Europe and Asia and speaks several languages.

7. No negative information! Never include personality conflicts with previous employers, pending litigation suits, or sarcastic remarks in your cover letter. If you are badmouthing your present place of employment, interviewers may fear a repeat performance if they hire you. 8. When should you include salary/relocation information? The rule of thumb is to always include salary requirements and/or salary history in the cover letter if a prospective employer requests it. For example: My salary requirements are $60,000-$75000 (negotiable). Or: My current salary is $53,000 at XYZ corporation. To eliminate this information from your cover letter may justify your resume getting tossed out. Never include salary and relocation information on your resume, only address this information in your cover letter. 9. Action Steps to Take Take a proactive approach in your cover letter. State the fact that you are available for a personal interview; give your home, work, e-mail, and/or cell phone numbers where you can be reached; note that you will follow up by phone (where possible) to provide any additional information required. 10. Be direct! A professionally written cover letter and resume can open the doors to your next position on the corporate ladder, as well as a new career in a different field. A clean, error-free presentation combined with strong phrasing and solid facts will encourage the reader to review the attached resume and call you in for an interview.

3Q: How do I respond to the salary history question when I am currently grossly underpaid for the work that I do, and I am trying to correct
that as I interview for new jobs? A: Your best strategy is to keep them focused on what is an appropriate amount for you given your experience, skills and credentials today. This requires some homework, since you have to translate those intangibles into a dollar figure or a range of figures. In addition, be prepared to explain why you are seeking a significant jump in your salary and be ready to help the employer justify paying you this increased amount those people do not want to feel as if they are overpaying you. You could try saying, "I chose to work at my last job for less than my market value for very specific reasons (e.g., gain experience, restart career, they had money problems). Now that I have benefited from experience, as I look for a new employer, I want to make sure that I am being paid fairly for my talents." As you follow this advice, do not forget that you have to be prepared to discuss your current salary, even though it ought to be irrelevant. If that information matters to the employer, they will either insist on talking about it, or they will learn it another way. Try to cover the issue quickly and steer the conversation back to its rightful place - what you ought to make, given the value of your talents in the market.

Changing careers is never easy. Half the world thinks you've lost your mind, headhunters say you'll never work again and your mother-in-law steps up the old, "I told you so" routine. But for many burned-out, bored or multitalented folks who are sitting on skills they're not getting a chance to use, changing fields is the only way to keep from losing their marbles. Regardless of your career change strategy, never make these 10 mistakes 1. Don't look for a job in another field without some intense introspection. Nothing is worse than leaping before you look. Make sure you're not escaping to a field that fits you just as poorly as your last. Check out these self-assessment articles. Get thorough information about the fields you're considering by networking, reading and doing online research. Having informational interviews with alumni from your college, colleagues, friends or family is a fun way to get the scoop on different fields. 2. Don't look for "hot" fields unless they're a good fit for you. You wouldn't try to squeeze into your skinny cousin's suit, so why try a field because it works for him? People who are trying to help you will come along and do the equivalent of whispering "plastics" in your ear. Instead of jumping at their suggestions, take time to consider your options. Decide what you really want to do. When you enter a field just because it's hot, burnout isn't far behind. 3. Don't go into a field because your friend is doing well in it. Get thorough information about the fields you're considering by networking, reading and doing online research. Having informational interviews with alumni from your college, colleagues, friends or family is a fun way to get the scoop on different fields. 4. Don't stick to possibilities you already know about. Stretch your perception of what might work for you. Read some job profiles and explore career fields you learn about from self-assessment exercises.

5. Don't let money be the deciding factor. There's not enough money in the world to make you happy if your job doesn't suit you. Workplace dissatisfaction and stress is the number-

one health problem for working adults. This is particularly true for career changers, who often earn less until they get their sea legs in a different field. 6. Don't keep your dissatisfaction to yourself or try to make the switch alone. This is the time to talk to people (probably not your boss just yet). Friends, family and colleagues need to know what's going on so they can help you tap into those 90-plus percent of jobs that aren't advertised until somebody has them all sewn up. 7. Don't go back to school to get retreaded unless you've done some test drives in the new field. You're never too old for an internship, a volunteer experience or trying your hand at a contract assignment in a new field. There are lots of ways to get experience that won't cost you anything except your time. A new degree may or may not make the world sit up and take notice. Be very sure where you want to go before you put yourself through the pain and debt of another degree program. 8. Be careful when using placement agencies or search firms. Do some research to be sure to find a good match. Ask those who work in the field you're trying to get into or other successful career changers for suggestions. Try to find a firm that knows how to be creative when placing career changers -- not one that solely focuses on moving people up the ladder in the same field. 9. Don't go to a career counsellor or a career transitions agency expecting they can tell you which field to enter. Career advisors are facilitators, and they'll follow your lead. They can help ferret out your long-buried dreams and talents, but you'll have to do the research and the decision making by yourself. Anyone who promises to tell you what to do is dangerous. 10. Don't expect to switch overnight. A thorough career change usually will take a minimum of six months to pull off, and the time frequently stretches to a year or more. Changing fields is one of the most invigorating things you can do. It's like experiencing youth all over again, except with the wisdom of whatever age you are now.

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