Writing a CV

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Writing a CV

Postby TheWizardofOdds » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:53 pm

A job vacancy has come up that I'm very excited about applying for. On the application on-line there is a section to attach a CV. Word, PDF, text or whatever. I've never actually had to write a CV before. Does anyone know any good sites for writing a CV? I've searched a few myself, I was just wondering if I could do anything with Linux with this? I checked the Software Centre but didn't find anything? I've got a week to get this together, I'd appreciate any help I can get on this.
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Postby Bruno » Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:18 pm

The Guardian has a space on its website for careers, including a CV Clinic and an article about what employers expect from a covering letter. Considering the mantra regarding CVs these days is "two pages at the most" and that the covering letter is often very underutilised by applicants, it is a good place to convey more information whilst saying something more useful than, "I'm applying for this vacancy." Also, I'm sure you are aware of this, but you must ruthlessly taylor your CV for the role. By all means, write a "full CV" first and delete sections that don't apply to the role. Put the most relevant qualifications and experience first, too.
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Postby johnhudson » Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:49 pm

If you Google simplecv, moderncv and europecv, you should locate the LaTeX stylesheets for these styles; AFAIK each has some documentation, normally in PDF, illustrating how the CV would look.

Simple is the most traditional; modern and europe both assume you have degrees and will be including photos as well. But, even if you decide to do your own thing, they will give you some idea of current expectations around which to base your own.

If you like any of them and have LyX or LaTeX installed, you can of course create your CV with it.
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Postby TheWizardofOdds » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:27 am

Thanks for the input.

I'm 37 now, should I put everything in (work history) dating back to when I was 17 etc, which is very far removed from the job I'm applying for now?
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Postby MartyBartfast » Mon Nov 21, 2011 11:41 am

I can't give you any advice as I'm not brilliant at writing CVs, and I've seen various contradictory advice about what you should and shouldn't include; but here's a recent article from El Reg, which I thought was interesting (also read the comments for some alternative viewpoints) :-

I have been touched by his noodly appendage.
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Postby johnhudson » Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:02 pm

I have maintained a CV of everything for many years; what I normally do is abbreviate it to the main points relevant to the post without leaving any gaps in my employment history.

The key things most employers are looking for are qualifications and experience - if the qualification or experience is not relevant, don't put in all the detail.

It is certainly worth doing it in full now - I was in my thirties when I first sat down and did one properly; it's only recently that younger people have been encouraged to create CVs in the UK - it has been standard practice on the continent for years.
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Postby guy » Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:03 pm

A CV has only one purpose - to get you to interview.

Use any wordprocessor that can save to .doc format - LibreOffice, OpenOffice, and I think Abiword, are fine. (TeX apps mostly only do PDF so if you have to circulate your CV widely, you would lose the large ".doc only" brigade).

Yes it needs a potted history - A levels, further education, jobs. I start mine with a "Profile" and end it with random Good Things. Typically, in order:

Profile - this is where you describe how you see yourself - "a talented and imaginative designer" etc. - and highlight the reason why you are perfect for the particular job - "with a track record of developing effective user interfaces" or some such.

Career - latest job first.

Education and training - simple list or Table, most relevant first.

Additional information - add a few achievements/hobbies here, enough to show you are not a dullard but not so many you look flighty.

Best approach is - write a fairly full CV, then cut out stuff they won't be interested in but without upsetting the "story" you are telling - for example only mention specific Linux distros if they are relevant.

People often put the earliest stuff first. Yawn. The employer will only look at your latest job anyway, so make it easy for them. Only do it in forward time order if you are specifically told to.

Oh, yeah, the covering letter. On the surface this is just a bit of admin introducing them to you and your CV. In practice it is your chance to get that interview before they've even looked at your CV - to artlessly come across as an enthusiastic and experienced live wire who is really keen on this position as your next career step - preferably without actually saying so, and definitely without being cheesy about it. "I am keen to engage more directly with the client, and am confident that my successful experience of helpdesk operation and user interface design provide excellent grounding for such a role at both the personal and technical levels" or whatever.

Anyway, HTH and Good Luck.

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Postby TheWizardofOdds » Tue Nov 22, 2011 1:26 pm

Excellent advice and references from everyone here, thanks again.

I've a lot to get on with... :)
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Postby emilystanfford » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:11 am

List all of your qualifications in this section. Include all of your education including certifications from non-academic institutions, especially those that are related to the job vacancy. If you have more work experience than qualifications, put your work experience before your qualifications.
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Postby CJLL » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:16 am

TheWizardofOdds wrote:Thanks for the input.

I'm 37 now, should I put everything in (work history) dating back to when I was 17 etc, which is very far removed from the job I'm applying for now?

You should detail your most recent employment experience, and any jobs that are highly relevant to the vacancy you are applying for.

The employment details should include duties, responsibilities and major achievements. I also include a summary about the employer i.e. what they do, and what makes them an outstanding company.

If you wish to list every job you have ever done, then simply summarize them in a table i.e.

Employer, Job Title, Start Date, End Date

However, if this is a long list you should skip it as one thing employers are looking for is stability.

You should also include a section on hard and soft skills:

For the hard skills, list the technical skills required by the job first, such as being able to format a PC and install windows 95 from floppy disks.

For the soft skills look at http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2009/01/26/top-10-soft-skills-for-job-hunters/ for a good list of what you would need to include. You should also explain where and how you use these skills.
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