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Succeed in the workplace
Succeed in the workplace

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6.5 Preparing a CV

Illustration of a cartoon writing on a piece of paper.
Figure 10 CV preparation

It is very useful to always have a good basic CV to hand. Even if you are not immediately seeking work, you never know when one of your contacts might spot an opportunity and open a door for you. So, you need to have one you can update or tailor quickly.

Your CV both gives facts and creates an impression of the kind of employee you would be. Just like an application form, it needs to be accurate, clearly presented, easy to read, and not too long. Remember though to include brief specific examples that demonstrate your skills and achievements to make your CV persuasive.

Whereas an application form tells you what the employer wants to know, for a CV you have to decide that for yourself. So use your earlier research about the job.

Be concise. Aim for a CV no longer than two sides of A4 paper. This means including only key relevant information. The examples show you how this can be done by the use of headings and bullet points.

Make your CV distinctive by including activities or achievements that may be unconnected to your work but that still demonstrate specific abilities that may interest an employer. You might be relieved at this point to learn that you do not necessarily have to do all the work on CVs yourself. There are online tools which can help. If you would like more information visit the Open University Careers Advisory Service website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

In the next section you’ll get the chance to put into practice everything you’ve learned about CVs this week.