Montare Recruitment - your recruitment partner of choice

Prepare Your CV

Should a cover letter be provided?

Yes! This information can also be included in a “cover email” as well.

Purpose of a cover letter

A cover letter is a supporting document for your CV. It can help you to explain your current situation. It is a good place to answer questions which you anticipate that a potential employer might ask.

Remember, the goal of your cover letter and CV is to convince an employer to spend the time and money required to interview you. It should aim at getting you an interview - no more and no less.

Think about your CV. What are the questions they are likely to ask? Here are some examples:

  • Why did they change jobs so many times?
  • They have a long list of technical skills but how relevant are they to the advertised position?
  • What is the time gap in between jobs about?

Things that you might want to address in your cover letter include

  • What type of position(s) would you be interested in considering?
  • Why are you seeking a job change?
  • Are you willing to relocate and if so where?
  • Your current salary and salary expectations for a new position.
  • Mention how flexible you are (if at all) regarding the above.

Preparing your Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum vitae literally means ‘the course of one's life or career’ and the description for resume is ‘a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job’.

Hence, your CV is the key to getting an interview and will determine whether or not you get the interview for the job you want. As mentioned above your CV should be brief while still outlining your career and skills. Your resume must quickly offer something of interest and value to a potential employer.

Your CV performs several functions.
  • The first is to help you get an interview for a position. Your CV must do its work quickly. Hundreds of applications may be received, allowing only a short period to review each CV. To obtain somebody’s interest, it must quickly convey your capabilities, competence and 'passion'. Managers will read only as far as their interest is maintained, which is why it is important to have good organisation, physical appearance, and presentation.
  • The CV can also be an asset during the interview, by carefully focusing the interviewer's mind on your individual skills and successes
  • And when it comes to salary negotiations a well-written CV can help. If your CV conveys your full worth you are likely to get a higher salary offer than you might have done with a poorer reflection of your skills.

Length

You must describe your skills in sufficient detail so the reader will be able to determine your level of experience. In most cases four to five pages are sufficient. Six or more pages is too long for anyone.

Length of resume depends not only on what you have to say, but also on page layout factors such as type size, font selection and margin width. (Think about these carefully when presenting).

Personal Details and Profile

You should always start with personal details; Names, Address, Telephone Number and Email address. It is a personal preference whether to include your address in this section and not an absolute must. Some candidates will elect to just include name, telephone number and email address.

You must always state whether a work permit is held and current.

Next a short summary of your main attributes or achievements should be added. Make this no more than four or five sentences long, highlighting your strengths and your key skills related to the position or area that you are applying for. Remember to hold the reader’s attention in this area

Previous employment and work experience

Make sure to list these in reverse chronological order with your current position first. Include dates and duration of employment. Give examples of all hardware and software experience and demonstrate all your skills by highlighting the achievements and contributions you have made by using them. Detail what you have accomplished, what languages and technology you have used.

Try and add what you have learned from your previous positions of employment and who you have benefited. Interpersonal skills should also be detailed, together with examples of teamwork and initiative. These areas are becoming increasingly important when it comes to potential employers differentiating between you and other candidates.

Skills summary format

When including a skills section, there is a recommended format we've found to be effective. Firstly, break up your skills into categories such as Applications, Support Tools, Operating Systems etc. Then list the technologies after the title of the category (the most recently used first).

It is also helpful to add the competency level of that technology after each skill. Another option is to list the skills used for each job after each position description. This would help the employer to see when and where you gained those skills.

Listing education on your CV

Education is an integral part of a CV, but there is no exact rule stating where it should be listed. Its importance will depend on many factors including your position or what industry you are in.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your CV should be designed to get you an interview and therefore highlight your accomplishments. There are several things to think about when deciding where to place this section in your resume.

Reasons why you should list your education at the top of your resume:

  • If you are a new graduate with little or no professional work experience
    in the field you are entering
  • If you have graduated within the past 10 years from a prestigious university, or from a college that is well known for their information technology department/courses
  • If your degree is in line with the field in which you are applying
  • If you feel that your education is impressive, or more impressive than your professional experience, then list it near the top

Reasons why you should list your education towards the end of your resume:

  • If you are a professional with several years of commercial experience, the "Work Experience" section should be above 'Education'
  • If your degree is in a major that is not associated with the field in which you are applying
  • If you have attended college, but never received a degree

References

There is great debate as to whether references should be included in CVs prior to interviewing, therefore it is entirely up to you whether you include them or not. (Obviously if the employer states references must be included with your CV, then it would be advisable to add them).

If you do wish to include references, you should have three, two of which should be an employer and the other, someone who can give you a more personal reference (this can also be a previous employer if suitable). Always check with your referees before giving their names. If you prefer, you could simply state that references can be supplied on request.

In summary

Below are the main points you should take from this guide.
Create your CV to be:

  • Accurate.
  • Relevant - relate your achievements and personal profile to the position to which you are applying.
  • Positive - emphasise the areas and skills you at proficient in
  • Interesting - Grab the reader's attention with your CV's content and Layout