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Guide to Profile

The first step in Job Search Connect is preparing a CV that can be used to promote yourself to employers. In addition to preparing a strong template for you to use when you apply for positions yourself, your CV will be used to promote you to employers we are in contact with through our network.


Everyone has a different opinion on how your CV should look, what should and shouldn’t be included, and how long or short it should be. There is not one best way to write or format your CV, however there are several things that you should think about when putting one together.

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Plan & Prepare

Where to Start

To begin, we recommend that your CV contains six main sections:

  1. Personal Statement

  2. Key Skills & Attributes

  3. Employment Summary

  4. Education & Training

  5. Personal Interests & Hobbies

  6. Referees

 

To make sure you have the best chance of securing an interview, you want to capture the reader’s attention as quickly as possible. Remember that it only takes a few seconds for an employer to put your CV down and move on to the next one.

Brainstorm

To ensure you are able to capture the reader’s attention, it’s a good idea to start off by thinking about your skills, experience, goals, past achievements, etc. and write it down so that when you start putting your CV together you don’t struggle to think of good information or miss anything important.


Make Your Key Information Stand Out

Time is very valuable for businesses and with a large proportion of New Zealand’s businesses employing fewer than 50 staff, it is likely that the person reading your CV will be doing it on top of their regular daily work, meaning they won’t have time to read every CV in depth. Ensuring all the relevant information is easy to find and easy to read by using strong formatting is very important, don’t make the employer have to read your entire CV to find the information they are looking for—because there is a strong chance they will just move on to the next one.


Look & Format Matters

Remember that your CV is a reflection of you and forms an initial impression on the person reading it. If you prepare a CV that is well-formatted, looks professional, and easy to read, then this is the impression you will give the employer around the type of work you will produce if you were working for them.

Writing Your CV

Heading

Make sure to include:

  • Name

  • Email address

  • Phone number

  • Clickable link to your LinkedIn account, only if it is well-developed and professional

 

Optional:

  • Your address, however, we recommend leaving it off, especially if you are applying for positions that are far from where you live

 

Do not include:

  • Date of birth or age

  • Ethnicity

  • Marital status, health status or number of children

  • Photographs

  • The words “Curriculum Vitae”

 

Adding in personal details such as age, ethnicity, or marital status is not required and in most circumstances cannot be considered by an employer when selecting candidates for a role.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be no more than eight lines long and should quickly (and creatively) communicate three key points:

  1. What industry or area of work you are interested in

  2. A very brief summary or overview of your experience or interest in that industry

  3. Why you are interested in this industry and what your goal is in seeking work

 

Your personal statement could form the reader’s first impression of you so take the time to prepare one that makes them want to read more about you.

Get to the point quickly 

What industry are you interested in and why?
 

Make it personal 

You could be up against 100 other applicants, be sure to grab their attention.


Be convincing and genuine 

You should always be tailoring your CV to ensure it is relevant to the specific job you are applying for, but without actually mentioning the role or the organisation.

CV Header.png

Example of an appropriate heading and personal statement.

Quick Tip

Having trouble with the look of your CV? 
Many writing applications like Microsoft Word and Google Docs have free CV templates you can use to start. 

Key Skills & Attributes

This section is your opportunity to really communicate that you can do a particular job by listing your skills and attributes. It is recommended that these be bullet-pointed and generally are only one or two lines long each. We recommend including six to eight bullet-points that have been carefully selected relative to the type of role you are applying for.

CV Skills.png
Quick Tip

Are you having trouble figuring out your skills 
and translating them to your CV?  Check out the CareersNZ ‘How to describe 
skills in your CV’ tool.

Things to consider:

 

What are the required skills outlined in the job ad? 
If you have these skills then communicate them here in a similar order however make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve just copied them!


Are you repeating yourself? 
Remember that time (and space on your CV) is limited, so choose your words carefully.


Have you included a good mix of technical skills, transferrable skills, and personal attributes? 
Think about what might be expected of you in this role and what skills you might need.


Are you telling the truth and can you back yourself up?
Can you describe a time that your “strong communication skills” added value to a previous employer? You might be asked in an interview!

Employment Summary

This is where you include details of your professional experience in reverse-chronological order (most recent at the top). It is recommended that you aim to include at least the most recent job on the first page of your CV. As with the rest of your CV, it is crucial that you tailor this section to the particular job you are applying for. We recommend including a brief summary of the role and then a few bullet-pointed achievements.


When thinking about what achievements to include, think about what the person reading your CV might be particularly interested in. If the company is focused on providing excellent customer service, an achievement might be that you received strong positive feedback from customers and an X% satisfaction rating.


Formatting is very important in this section because you want to make sure that any information the reader is looking for can be easily found, such as the job title, organisation, time period, etc. You can use different font sizes and font colours (preferably only one other or use different shades of grey).

CV Employment.png

Things to consider:

 

Make it relevant

When describing each role, think about (and include) what you did in that role that would be valuable in the role you are applying for—both duties and achievements.


Include voluntary experience (where appropriate)

If you have voluntary work experience, include it in this section, especially if it is related to the role you are applying for.


No work experience is irrelevant

All your previous roles are relevant to the role you are applying for, even if you feel including a role may make you look overqualified. The important thing to think about is how that experience relates to the role you are applying for—this is why tailoring your CV is so important. For example, if you were managing a team of 20 people and you are now applying for a customer services role, focus on your ability to work as part of a team and manage conflicting priorities as opposed to managing people.

Education & Training

This is where you list your qualifications gained at the tertiary level or from industry training providers. Similar to your employment summary, we do recommend listing your qualifications in reverse-chronological order however it is common for people to pick up many minor qualifications following graduation, so you may like to list your major qualifications above any training certificates. It is important in this section that you think about the job you are applying for and what qualifications are most appropriate for the position. 


There is a tendency for a lot of people to leave off high-level qualifications that they have achieved out of fear of being rejected due to being “overqualified”. We recommend you leave all your qualifications on your CV and be proud of these great achievements.


To overcome the challenge of appearing overqualified, you really need to think about how you are communicating your intentions in your CV and cover letter. If you can give the reader a strong understanding of what you want to achieve and why you are genuinely passionate about the role you are applying for, this will hopefully be enough to overcome this perceived barrier.

CV Education.png

The formatting of your education and training section should be professional like the rest of your CV. Ensure important information is easy and quick to find. You may also like to elaborate on some of your qualifications and give some background on them (see the example to the left). If you are giving additional information, ensure it is relevant to the position and organisation to which you are applying. 

Personal Interests & Hobbies

Many New Zealand organisations place a high emphasis on workplace culture and team fit. Employers like to know a bit more about the person they are bringing into the team, things like:

  • Do you have any common interests with the rest of the team?

  • Do you take part in social activities or special interest groups?

  • What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

 

We recommend writing a brief paragraph on what activities you enjoy doing outside of work. This gives the employer a bit more information about you as a person.

Referees

We recommend simply putting “Available on request” under your referees' section. Our reasoning behind this is that it will give you an opportunity to brief your referees on the position. If you have overseas referees, it could be a barrier to you gaining an interview as employers may think of it as ‘too difficult’ if they see international phone numbers.

CV References.png

Final Tips

Ensure You Have Natural Flow in Your CV

Let’s say the job description lists good people skills, detail oriented and takes initiative. First, make sure to express those traits in your cover letter. Include the traits in your CV as well, list them in your skills and reiterate them in your work experiences, saying where, how well and when you have done those traits.


Identify Your Skills & Attributes

Think about the skills that the employer is looking for first and from there think about what skills you have that complement those and would add value to the role.


Do Your Homework
  • What role do you want to get?

  • Research the industry you are interested in, and what training and skills are required. Is it a growth area, what are the best companies in this field? 

  • Research companies that match your field—whom do you want to work for?

  • Research the company you are applying to and contact the HR person (if there is one) if you have questions about the job. Read the company’s website.

  • It’s all about marketing yourself:

    • Do you know what the job market wants? Do you have what the job market wants?

    • What are employers looking for in my industry? Employers are looking to purchase a set of skills and experience. You are looking to sell a set of skills and experience.

    • Are you marketing yourself successfully to match the employer’s requirements?

 

Information on Your CV & Cover Letter
  • Watch for areas that produce unanswered questions for example, if you have gaps in employment; explain any large gaps (due to travel, family reasons, etc.)

  • Your CV needs to be supported with examples you can give at the interview stage

  • Honestly is vital—if in doubt leave it out!

  • Remember sometimes a job ad lists an employer’s “wish list.” Do not be put off if you have most of the skills/experience requested but not all.

 

Formatting & Saving Your Documents
  • Ensure all the fonts, bullet points, indentations and line spacing is consistent throughout your CV. Employers will be put off if you don’t pay attention to detail and many will discard a CV if it looks sloppy. 

  • Show it to as many people as possible and get feedback.

  • Triple-check for spelling and grammar errors—then check again! Don’t just trust spell/grammar check on your computer.

  • Save your CV as an appropriate name (e.g. John Smith—CV).

  • If possible, convert your document into a PDF; otherwise, they may see spelling errors (highlighted by that red squiggly line in Word documents), and it may be altered after you send it.

  • Your CV can be up to four pages in length, as long as all the information is relevant.

  • Be prepared for the employer to follow up.

  • Warn your referees that they may be contacted, and send them your CV and the job ad/job description so they know which areas to focus on (where possible).

  • Be polite and professional even if your application is “rejected” they may have other roles come up that they will consider you for.

  • Ask for feedback from unsuccessful applications.

Sample CV

We have prepared a sample CV for John Smith. John is an HR professional from South Africa. You can view the CV by clicking the link below. You can also download a copy of the word document with formatting if you would like a template to use for your own CV.

CV Checklist

Before sending your CV to any employer (or us), it is always a good idea to ensure you have done the following:

  • Have you clearly included your name, phone number, and email address at the top of your CV (and made sure they are correct)?

  • Do you have a professional voicemail set up on your phone in case you miss an employer’s call?

  • Have you checked your LinkedIn profile to ensure it is professional and supports your application (if applicable)?

  • Does your CV have four pages or fewer, well-divided sections with clear headings, and have you used a font that is easy to read?

  • Have you checked spelling and grammar throughout your CV and also had someone else check it for you? (Note that you are welcome to send your CV to us to be checked for spelling and grammar).

  • Have you been through your CV and tailored your skills and experience to match the requirements of the job ad (when applying for a specific position)?

Get Feedback on Your CV

Once you have reviewed the information in this guide and prepared your CV, please send it to us so that we can provide any feedback to make it as strong as possible.


Following the production of a strong CV, we will invite you to register for one of our CV-tailoring workshops where you will learn how to tailor your CV for a specific job you want to apply for.


Please send your CV to info@jobsearchconnect.nz


Before Submitting Your CV

Before you send your CV in for review, please ensure you have completed the CV checklist above. In most cases, the advice and feedback provided are based on the information contained within the CV guide. Due to the high demand for our CV review service, any CVs received that do not appear to be modified and revised based on the information in the CV guide will be returned and you will be referred back to the CV guide. Please note that the primary function of Job Search Connect is to promote and connect you, as a candidate, with employers through the Business Central network. Our success depends on the integrity of Job Search Connect and our reputation for providing candidates that demonstrate a strong work ethic.

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