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A User-Friendly CV

The most important point when creating any document is to remember the purpose for which it is intended. This is especially true when writing a CV. It is not enough that you should be happy with your CV, it is the prospective employer who counts.

You may be satisfied that your CV says what you want it to say, but you have to view it from a different angle. Remember that the information in your CV is all that the person reading your CV will know about you. Try to put yourself in their shoes and deliver the information in a format which can be easily understood by a stranger who doesn’t know you.

Remember that typically 200 responses are being received for each advertisement placed. Inevitably employers will not have time to do more than skim through the applications so they can allow no more than 30 seconds for each one. Unless your CV delivers information in a style which has immediate impact, you will almost certainly fail to get the message across.

So how can you achieve the user-friendly CV? Well for a start, consider the following:
Your sentences need to be very short with each one including no more than one point and all the words need to be very simple as well, with a maximum of no more than three syllables so that they can be easily understood. Paragraphs of prose need to be divided up into shorter paragraphs so that the information is delivered in small ‘bites’ and the prospective employer does not have to concentrate so hard to understand what you are trying to say.
Then compare it with this:
Sentences need to be short. Each should include only one point. Words need to be simple with a maximum of three syllables.

Prose should be divided into short paragraphs. Information delivered in small ‘bites’ will be more easily understood.

Bullet points deliver even more impact. Here are my rules for achieving maximum impact in a CV

• sentences should be short
• each sentence should include only one point
• words need to be short with a maximum three syllables
• prose should be divided into short paragraphs

When you have finished writing the CV go through it in detail. Strike out any unnecessary words or repetitions. Don’t include too many adjectives. Make every word count. This will help you to present your CV in a way which will make sure that the prospective employer reads and understands it.

Another point to remember is that you need to avoid including anything in your CV which the employer may not be able to understand. This includes jargon and acronyms. Remember, as soon as the reader has to pause to work out what you mean, you will have lost their attention.

Those who have hundreds of CVs to work through have a hard enough job already. Use short simple words and paragraphs. Make your CV user-friendly and you will stand a much better chance of success.

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