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Choosing a format

In a CV/resume, there are several acceptable ways of organis­ing the information you want to include. It is common to place the most important information first. One format is to list the applicant’s past jobs in reverse chronological order, describ­ing the most recent employment first and working backward. But some applicants use a functional format, organising their work experience under headings that describe their major skills. They then include a brief work history section that lists only job titles, employers, and dates of employment. Still other ap­plicants choose a format that combines these two approaches in some way. Choose the style that best showcases your skills and experience. Examples of CV/resume formats can be found on the websites CV Examples section of the CV Workstation tab.

A useful way of keeping a record of all your work history and experiences is to have an employment record of all the jobs and work experiences you have done so that you can draw upon the relevant experiences according to the job description. Remember your CV is not an employment record of all the jobs you have done. It is an overview of who you are, what you have done previously and what can you do for the hiring company/organisation. It is a document that is tailored towards the job role you are applying for and so only the most relevant skills and work experiences are to be included on the actual CV. Instead, create an employment record that will keep a record of your work history. See a typical example below.

Whatever format you choose, keep your CV/resume short. Many experts recommend that new workers use a one-page resume. Avoid long blocks of text and italicised material. Consider us­ing bullets to highlight duties or key accomplishments. Before submitting your CV/resume, make sure that it is easy to read. Are the headings clear and consistently formatted with bold or some other style of type? Is the type face large enough? Much like application forms, it is useful to ask someone to proofread your CV/resume for spelling and other errors. In addi­tion, use your computer’s spell checker.

Keep in mind that some employers scan resumes into data­bases, which they then search for specific keywords or phrases. The keywords are usually nouns referring to experience, educa­tion, personal characteristics, or industry buzz words. Identify keywords by reading the job description and qualifications in the job ad; use these same words in your resume. For example, if the job description includes customer service tasks, use the words “customer service” on your resume. Scanners sometimes misread paper CVs/resumes, which could mean some of your key­words don’t get into the database. So, if you know that your resume will be scanned, and you have the option, e-mail an electronic version. If you must submit a paper resume, make it scannable by using a simple font and avoiding underlines, italics, and graphics. It is also a good idea to send a tradition­ally formatted CV/resume along with your scannable CV/resume, with a note on each marking its purpose.

So to recap:

CV Writing

My Employment Record

Work Experience

Shiny Shoes Limited

Job Role

Sales Assistant


April 2009 to Present

Key Responsibilities

  • Maintained shop floor and stock control levels
  • Handled customer complaints and enquiries
  • Delivered excellent customer service and guaranteed customer satisfaction
  • Operated the till and achieved sales targets