CV advice - to get you noticed

Your CV is potentially the first (and only) introduction an employer has to you as a prospective employee, so it’s absolutely essential you add as much value as possible.

Tailor your CV to each specific job rather than sending out a generic CV. Keep your CV simple, concise and easy to read.




Basic CV structure

You must give careful attention to all elements of the CV: its overall presentation and layout, grammar, spelling, and most importantly, content.

We hear of many examples where employers discard CV's as soon as they come across a spelling or grammar mistake.There are too many other good candidates out there to be careless.

Keep your CV simple with adequate white space to enhance readability. It should ideally be two pages long unless your industry has its own standards; for instance, if you are expected to include publications or details of many projects.

  • Use simple font like Arial, 10-12pt, and keep formatting like italics and underlining to a minimum.
  • Bullets are extremely useful in CV's as they allow you to highlight key points succinctly and keep the document looking tidy.
  • For past roles, start each bullet with an action verb: "Created", "Managed", "Increased", "Improved" etc., rather than "I created" or "I managed" etc.
  • Spelling and punctuation must be perfect, so after you proof-read it, ask a friend to check it over for readability and any errors you may have missed.
  • Most companies prefer CV's submitted online or via email, so create your CV in Word so it can be opened and read by recipients easily. If you are sending a CV to Hays, avoid using a pdf.

Name, address and contact details

Make sure to use the phone number and email address that you use most often. You don't want to disappoint an employer by failing to respond to their invitation for an interview in a timely fashion. However, make sure the e-mail address you use appears professional. is not appropriate.

Nationality and working visa details

  • This is only relevant if you are on a working visa, so employers know in advance how long you will be living in Ireland. 

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Personal summary

  • This is optional, but it’s a good opportunity to highlight in a sentence or two what you hope to achieve in your next position and what you feel you can offer to an employer. Think about what will make you stand out from other applicants. 

Skills summary

  • The reader of your CV may not have more than a few seconds to spend scanning applications, so including a skills section can capture their attention by making it immediately clear what you can offer.

  • Since today's workplace is driven by technology, more jobs require technical skills. Highlight a brief bulleted list of relevant software packages you have worked on. For example, in the accountancy industry, list software packages like Sage or Quick Books to make you stand out from other applicants. Wherever possible, use the same adjectives as those used in the job ad.

  • For instance, if the ad specifies someone who has effective administrative abilities and excellent interpersonal skills, these should be addressed under your skills section in similar order. 

Relevant experience

  • List your work experience in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. Include employer names, positions held and primary responsibilities and achievements.

  • Do not leave gaps in your CV. If you took a year out, carried out an interim assignment, or travelled for six months, say so. If you do include gaps, potential employers can suspect the worst. Stating the years, rather than the months you started or finished a role can also send off alarm bells. Writing "2014 -2015" could be interpreted as employment from December 2014 to January 2015 unless you say otherwise.

  • If you are a graduate, you may not have a great deal of work experience although many graduates undertake a year out in the industry. In this case highlight the relevant skills that you gained in your course or on work experience, again, list each position in reverse order, so that the most recent appears first.

Education and training

  • Use your common sense here. If you have a post graduate degree, most employers are not going to be concerned about your Junior Cert. Make sure to include any training courses that you have done that are relevant to the job that you are applying for.

  • Unless otherwise stated, you do not need to attach copies of certificates relating to educational and/or professional qualifications (including recent academic transcripts) or references from previous employers. You should instead bring these to the job interview.


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