14 March 2022

Preparing your CV for interview Success

Within the job search process, a CV must be viewed as a sales document, so it is vital that it’s prepared with the end-user client in mind.

A poorly presented CV padded out with irrelevant information and missing key details is unlikely to be well received by those reading it and could count against you in the candidate selection process

Useful tips on making a great CV

  • Preparation is key. Check examination results, certificates, dates of education and employment. Ask two people to be your referees.
  • Don’t overdo it. Your CV should ideally be no longer than three pages. Try to limit or summarize any work experiences which are older than 10 years. If you include a personal profile or introduction, try to keep it to a maximum of three lines. For readability, split your CV into sections such as “personal information”, “employment history” and “educational achievements.
  • Choose a clear typeface. (minimum 11 point). Do not use italics or difficult to read typeface and keep the font consistent throughout your CV. Avoid graphics which take up space and dominate the page.
  • Start with your personal information. Include your name, full address, telephone numbers (work/home/mobile), email address, work permit/visa information (where applicable), nationality and date of birth.

(Please note that it’s not mandatory for your date of birth to be included but this might become important later for internal purposes).

  • Make sure your qualifications are complete and accurate. List all your qualifications and details of any other professional courses or certifications. Show them in chronological order and include names and dates of schools/colleges/universities attended. This section should also include computer skills and language skills with your level of competency. 
  • Showcase your extra-curricular activities.
  • Begin your employment history with your most recent job. Include your role and responsibilities, duration of employment and reasons for leaving. Highlight specific achievements which demonstrate your success. If there are any gaps in your employment history, you should explain them. If you have worked on a number of short-term temporary roles, make sure this is stated.
  • List your interests and hobbies. Any specific details you can give are helpful as it helps to show that you have a good work/life balance and provides insights into your personality and motivations. List any countries you might have visited or worked in.
  • Make sure your CV broadly reflects your Linked in page for consistency and accuracy.
  • Treat your CV as a sales document and ensure that the quality and completeness of your information fully reflects your skills, experience and career goals.

Motivation / Cover letter

You can improve your chance of being invited for an interview if your CV is accompanied by a cover or motivation letter. Your cover letter allows you to express yourself in writing, stating your career aspirations & goals, personal qualities and strengths and motivation.

If you are applying for a specific role, explain why you are attracted to it and the company.

A well-written cover letter will help make you stand out to a potential employer. Your letter should highlight how you intend to use your skills to benefit the company or role you are applying to. If you are a recent graduate, you may also like to list the subjects you have studied.

A cover or motivation letter reinforces the information in your CV and shows that you take your job search and career objectives seriously.

Final checks

Before submitting your CV and cover letter, check them both thoroughly. Make sure that all your facts and dates are correct, that there are no spelling and/or grammatical errors and that they are an honest representation of you.

Your CV is an essential tool in the job search process and could be the difference between rejection and interview success.

Related articles