Preparing your CV

In any job search a properly constructed CV is the first thing you need to have before you start to apply for jobs. Until you have a well structured, well presented CV you are not seriously in the job market.

A poorly laid out CV is almost certainly going to be passed over and will not be given due consideration in a recruitment process. Therefore to begin any job search your CV is the foundation and building block to start with.

  1. Think about your skills, competencies, qualifications, and experiences. They are what you need to include in your CV and these are the key pieces of information you need to get across at interviews.
  2. What are your unique selling points and strengths? Take the time to find out yours. (Ask family and friends if you are unsure about yours) Until you understand your own strengths and skills you cannot expect to be able to sell those skills to potential employers.
  3. All companies are results-orientated - so you must emphasise what value you will bring to their organisation, and show them examples of how you added value to a previous company / organisation. Detail achievements in your previous jobs.
  4. Remember to include sporting/community involvement and achievements. This will give employers an idea of who you are and again may help your CV stand out in the crowd.
  5. Always be honest about your achievements and skills. Make sure the information is up to date, just one extra qualification or skill could make all the difference between being selected for an interview.
  6. Keep your sentences Short, Sharp and to the point. Your CV is likely to be skimmed as opposed to read in detail, so make sure the document is easy to work with by using short sentences and bullet points. (Using the same font throughout document)
  7. Avoid the use of negative words (dismissed, tried, withdrew, argued); focus on using positive words (developed, demonstrated, persuaded)

  8. Adjust your CV to specific job requirements. If you are applying to a specific advertisement, review the key words and tasks that were used in the advertisement. Which of these words applies to you? Use these words in your CV. Pay close attention to deadlines and instructions on how to apply for the job.
  9. Check, check, check!! This is a very important step. You must proof read your CV very closely and then have someone else proof read it for you also. Make sure grammar and spelling are correct. Never send out a CV or cover letter that is not thoroughly checked and double checked.
  10. Remember you want your CV to be read and responded to. Tempt the reader; include just enough information to stimulate interest but not so much that you bore the reader. Two or three pages maximum is preferred. Every word must contribute to the overall message, so keep it brief and make sure that the contents are relevant to the job you are applying for.
  11. Know your CV. Review your past work experience, become very familiar with it, know dates of employment and be able to discuss past projects, etc.
  12. Presentation – If mailing your application use good quality paper to print your CV and select a suitable folder to place it in. If applying through e-mail, ensure that the file is formatted properly and is saved in a Text, PDF or MS Word format if possible as these formats can be opened by most.

In summary: your CV should be:

  • Clear – organised and clearly presented into different sections
  • Concise - not too long and not too short - just get the message across
  • Consistent - all formatted in same manner using the same fonts 
  • Complete - tailored to the industry in question - all information must be relevant and complete 
  • Current - CV must be fully up to date


Personal Details
Name                 Joe Bloggs
Address             111 Main Street, Roscommon, Co Roscommon.
Email Address
Telephone          001 515 1111 (Work) or 087 – 111 1111
1994 – 1996              Fitting & Engineering Maintenance 
                               FAS, Training Centre, 
                               Athlone, Co. Westmeath

1992                       Vocational School,
                              Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim 
                              Honours Leaving Certificate
Further Training
Safe Pass (valid until August 2011)              2009
Introduction to Lean Sigma Training            2008
Hydraulics & Pneumatics                             2001
Forklift Drivers Course                                1999
Employment History
Date                                    Sept ‘10 – Present
Employer:                            ABC Products, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
Position:                             Senior Maintenance Technician
Duties & Achievements:
  • Repairing electrical/pneumatic faults on the Pick and Place equipment
  • Planning Preventative Maintenance on daily & monthly basis
  • Working on designing /implementation of specific projects and providing technical breakdown support to all production lines.
  • Working proactively to ensure performance targets are met; Yield/quality (using SPC/SQC)/production outs/up-time /process stability.
  • Hired & trained new technicians
Date                                  June 1996 – August 2010
Employer:                          National Cables, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
Position:                            Maintenance Technician
Duties & Achievements:
  • Sourcing and setting up spare parts for new equipment. Reducing stock on hand by reducing doubling of parts stocked i.e. cross-referencing parts.
  • Clarifying part descriptions. Developed hard copy of parts listing for each machine on the line which included part number, description and stores location, a laminated copy was hung beside each machine.
  • Identifying unlabeled/unidentified parts.
  • Identifying obsolete stock.
Other Achievements
Volunteer with Athlone Make a Wish Foundation and raised €10,000 for organizing a sponsored 10Km run. Volunteered to work with the Junior Achievement, Concern Christmas Appeal and Niall Mellon Trust.Assistant secretary of Eastern Gaels GAA club Completed Dublin City Marathon in 2008 & 2009
Hobbies & Interests
I enjoy GAA and currently play for my local team Eastern Gaels I also most outdoor pursuits and travelling.
Martin Jones
Production Manager
PAK Manufacturing
Co. Sligo
071 91 7777777
Ann Martin HR Manager 
National Cables
Co. Roscommon 
071 9677766
Some Common CV Mistakes to Avoid
  • A lie, even a small one can cost you a job.
  • Misspelling and grammatical errors. There is no excuse for even one mistake.
  • Referencing the wrong vacancy and /or company in your cover letter or CV.
  • Not having your CV fully up to date, e.g. training courses, employment dates, address, old email or telephone number.
  • Fancy fonts or colour paper can make your CV difficult to read · Gaps on your CV. Information that is vague or evasive. (Hiding the name of your previous employer.)
  • Exaggerating your qualifications and your experience. · Stating your salary expectations on your CV.
  • Jargon – don’t use too many in-house terms that others may not understand.

Cover Letters

Many cover letters tell the employer little more than that a CV is attached and that the writer considers himself or herself an ideal candidate for the job. This is a missed opportunity to interest them in your potential.
Cover Letter Tips
  • Make sure your cover letter is legible. Unless otherwise requested, you should type your letter.
  • Avoid rewriting your CV in your cover letter. Highlight specific things about your experience and how it relates to the position you are applying for.
  • Keep it simple. Avoid long, drawn out sentences with complicated vocabulary.
  • Be accurate. Address the right people. When applying to a company always get a name – never send it to the Hiring Manager or to whom it may concern.
  • Limit your cover letter to one page with three targeted paragraphs.
  • Use some of the words included in the job description when writing the cover letter to draw attention to how your skills match the requirements.
  • Again – check for spelling or mistakes.

Compiled by Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group