CV preparation advice and sample CVs

CV preparation advice and sample CVs

Niamh McCarthy 30.04.2012

It is ten times harder to secure an interview in the current employment market than ever before. Therefore your cv needs to create an impact!

“A good CV in itself cannot get you a job, but a bad CV can prevent you from getting an interview”
 
Employers screen CVs – very quickly as they are under tight time constraints. A well prepared CV can make a great first impression and secure you a much sought after interview. 
 
Below are some guidelines to help you prepare a cv. 
  • Ensure you keep the most important information on top.
  • Prepare your cv in reverse chronological order.
  • Name & personal details - Including mobile number and e-mail address.
  • Educations & work experience - List both academic and non-academic qualifications in reverse chronological order, including results achieved.
  • Recent jobs first & work backwards - Ensure you give a brief outline of the company you worked with which will help give more relevance to the experience you’ve gained.

I've attached a number of sample CVs: an accounts assistant sample CV, Big 4 sample CV and a medium practice sample CV that you can use as a basis for your own CV.

Career Objectives
Tailor the CV for the specific role that you are applying for.
 
Keep it Simple
Use bullet points where possible & keep paragraphs short. Preferably no longer than 4/5 lines.
 
Language
Use Plain English
 
Presentation
Use standard A4 paper and include a brief cover letter with the CV.
Keep the cover letter to the point and include your technical strengths, for example: Preparation of Management Accounts, Financial Reporting, Forecasting etc.
Use Times New Roman and font size 11 for both CV and cover letter and no italics.
Use spell check to ensure your document is error free.
Keep the look simple and make your points clear.
 
Length of CV
Some suggest no more than 2 pages for a graduate and 4 for an experienced professional. It is dependant on the position you are applying for and also the level of your experience but keep all detail relevant to the position you are applying for. e.g. highlight your account preparation experience over audit experience if the positions specifies account preparation is needed.
Don’t use fancy fonts, coloured paper or graphics.
 
References
Include a line stating that references are available upon request.
 
What not to do:
  • Avoid including the date the CV was prepared - this shortens the life of a CV and it will appear out of date.
  • Don’t - include anything you are not able to talk about at interview. Don't exaggerate exam results – be honest.
  • Don’t leave any gaps on CV - account for any breaks in your work history.
  • Don’t Lie – you will be found out.
  • No professional jargon or acronyms that other people might not understand.
Before sending out your CV
Check and double check your CV.
Check content is relevant to the reader or business and the role you are applying for.
Check for grammar and spelling errors.
Check to ensure it is a clear representation of you.
Ask someone to proof read your CV and check for any errors.
 
If you have any questions of queries feel free to contact me.
Niamh McCarthy's picture
Associate Director - Accounting & Finance division
nmccarthy@morganmckinley.ie