How to apply yourself: Tips on writing CVs and application forms – and preparing
The perfect CV
Many employers still use the CV as a form of initial screening for advertised
jobs. They are also a useful tool when making a speculative application.
What is the purpose of a CV? Some people seem to view it as an exercise in
self-aggrandisement; others produce a turgid list of activities reaching back to
their cycling proficiency triumph in the 1980s. However, to create an effective
CV which will work for you, you must consider what you are aiming to produce and
what it will be used for. A curriculum vitae is not just a record of your life
to date; you might as well write your autobiography or publish your diaries.
Instead, a CV is a structured presentation of aspects of your experience,
organised in a way that will make sense to the person reading it.
Take your starting point from the job to which you are applying. Good writing
starts with the reader in mind; so does a good CV. Think carefully about who
will be reading your CV and what they will be interested in. For the most part,
employers will have a vacancy to fill. They will have a vision of the sort of
person they would like to fill that vacancy. Your job is to write a CV which
will convince the reader that you have the knowledge, skills or experience to
meet their requirements. You can "sell" yourself as much as you want, using
interesting action verbs or a beautifully phrased personal profile, but these
techniques are likely to fall short if you are not telling the employer about
something that they are interested in.
So take time to look carefully at the person specification and job
description and identify the key skills required. Then think about what you have
done that might demonstrate that you have these skills. Remember that you don't
necessarily have to have done a similar role to be able to demonstrate that you
have the right skills. Working in one environment can enable you to develop
skills that will be just as useful in a different environment.
In Britain, most CVs are one or two pages long. You have this much space to
make a good impression so use it wisely. Everything that you include on your CV
should say something about your skills or experiences relevant to the job for
which you are applying. Don't waste space on the first page giving details about
your various contact addresses if this means that interesting work experience is
forced onto page two. Think strategically about where you place the information.
Again, think about what will be a priority to the employer: will it be your
education so far, or the experience you have gained through other work or
Finally, the art of writing a good covering letter should be revised and put
into practice for each application that you make. A covering letter should be
brief but pertinent, highlighting enough information about you to make the
reader want to refer to find out more. A good structure to follow is to address
three main themes: why you are interested in the job; why you are interested in
working for the company or organisation; and what you think you have to offer.
This last section should précis your particular skills relevant to the job in
The application form
Of course, you may be asked to complete an application form instead of
submitting a CV and covering letter. Most application forms will include a
series of questions for you to answer, or a section asking you to provide
information in support of your application. Essentially, the same principles
apply as for constructing a good CV: think carefully about what the employer
will be interested in and try to provide answers relevant to them. Be clear
about your motivations for wanting the job, and give evidence of your relevant
skills. When giving an example from your experience to demonstrate a skill or
achievement, remember to be specific. Focus on what you actually did within the
situation and the outcome of your actions.
If you have been selected for an interview then you have already had a
measure of success. Remember this when you are preparing; the employer has been
sufficiently impressed by your application so far to want to meet you in person
so be confident about what you have to offer.
The type of interview that you might encounter will vary, from the informal,
unstructured "chat" to the highly structured scenario in which each candidate is
asked the same set of pre-determined questions. Although these different types
of interview will necessarily feel very different, there are still some basic
rules to help you to navigate even the rockiest interview experiences.
Firstly, preparation: they say time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted
and this is certainly true of interview preparation. Take time to research the
organisation thoroughly: find out as much as you can about the way in which the
organisation is structured, key priorities and challenges that it might face in
the future, and how your role will fit into this wider whole. Focus your
preparation on three central issues: why you want to do the job, what you have
to offer, and how you will contribute to the organisation. Any employer will
want to find out whether you are enthusiastic about the job and the
organisation, and whether you have the right skills to be able to do the job
Secondly, performance: most people get nervous before interviews, so remind
yourself that this is normal and that most other candidates will feel the same.
If you know in advance what is likely to shake your composure – such as being
asked an unexpected question or having to defend a viewpoint – then try running
through how you might deal with this situation if it arises. Practise answering
interview style questions so you're familiar with the process of thinking about
and structuring a quick response.
Above all, an interview should be seen as a dialogue rather than a test: a
dialogue between you and the interviewers. Most interviewers are not
deliberately trying to catch you out or humiliate you – they are genuinely
interested in recruiting the right person. Questions might be challenging, and
reactions not always congenial, but most of the time interviewers are simply
trying to ascertain if you would be suitable for the role. So take your cue from
them; be confident and genuine, prepared to enter into discussion or give your
opinion, and above all enthusiastic about the job that you have applied for.
By careers specialist Anne-Marie Martin - independent.co.uk
"Can u send me some sample of C.Vs I wanna see them Please"
Name: Atiq Ur Rehman
City, Country: Faisalabad, Pakistan
"i have seen amny of the CVs formates but i stil confuse how to formate an execelent CV.because different organizations have different criteria of analysing cv. i will great favour to me if you kindly send me a sample cv. thanks "
Name: beenish Aftab
City, Country: haripur, Pakistan