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March 31, 2009

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Your CV is the main tool an interviewer has to determine your suitability for the role you have applied to. Your cover letter, while equally important, is there to support and complement your CV. So, needless to say, your CV needs to have the “itfactor”.

Of course your prized CV will feature your educational history, your work experience and your interests, but it also needs to present your personal attributes. This will be made evident through things such as your attention to detail, your written communication skills and your overall professionalism, and, in addition, your personality will be made evident through yourword usage, your interests and skills and your creativity.

Remember that CV formats and styles vary from industry to industry, so make sure your CV reflects your familiarity with the industry, especially if it is for an entry-level job. It is important to ask yourself, “What type of person is this company looking for?” and “What type of experience and background is most relevant to the job I am applying for?”. It could also be useful tofind a professional in the sector who can advise you on how to specifically format your CV for the jobs you are pursuing.

Remember that for entry level technical jobs, such as in the engineering or technology and telecommunications sectors, it will be more relevant to list your skills and academic background than your service industry experience, whereas work experience and/or internships in media or design combined with a strong portfolio will get you an interview. For careers in the charity andnon-profit sectors, listing your volunteer or service-industry experience can be hugely beneficial.

More information about creating strong CVs and online applications can be found in Chapter 1: Entering the Workforce, of theGraduate Career Atlas.

What follows is a cross-section of strong sample CVs from across various sectors that offer ideas for CV style and format, aswell as a fantastic starting point to building your own CV from scratch.Don’t forget to read the Golden Rules below — they’ve saved many jobseekers from major embarrassment.

The Golden Rules...

• There is no such thing as a model CV.
• Make it personal (Note: personal does not mean funny or unprofessional).
• Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for.
• You are a graduate with little to no experience. Your degree is your best asset.
• You have learned from every experience you have had. Translate experience from the service industry into tangible skills that you can apply to your new career.
• Languages are the diamonds of any CV these days.
• Awards and honours exist to be included on CVs.
• Your CV should not be longer than one page. You are a graduate with little to no experience. You don’t need two pages.
• Listing your interests and hobbies proves that you have a personality. That said, watching television is not a hobby and neither is “hanging out with my mates”.
• Spelling, grammar and factual errors are a sign of carelessness and will send your CV straight to the bin.
• Unless a photo is requested, please do not send one. It’s tacky.

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