Quality Control CV Basics

There's no good excuse for a CV or cover letter for a job application which is full of mistakes. Typos, misspellings, poor quality copies of documents, there's a long, pitiful, list of things which just shouldn't be there. They're all a guaranteed way of not getting any serious consideration for a job.

When writing your CV, always think about the quality of information you're providing to a possible employer.

More information isn't better information. In some cases too much is a distinct problem.

Does it help?

Is it relevant?

Does it show your skills and experience?

Is it good enough?

Is there anything missing?

Is it a good fit to the employer's advertisement?

These are the fundamentals:

Addressees:

  • Name of contact person, if available, should be the addressee (It does help, and that person will at least know what it's about.)
  • Full description of job position.
  • The job reference number, and make sure it's the right one.

Contact phone number

  • Preferably a number with an answering service.
  • Preferably not a mobile phone. It's easy to get caught in the wrong situation, like in traffic, and be unable to deal with the call. A home number or work number is much easier.

Cover letter

  • Mistake free, all required information provided.
  • Read it carefully before sending it.
  • Check your spelling, and if necessary get someone else to read it for you, to make sure it's OK. A second opinion won't hurt, anyway.

Criminal record checks

  • If a job application indicates a criminal record check is required, it should include a consent to that check.
  • If not, state that you have no objection to a criminal record check on your covering letter.

Criteria on job application

These must be addressed on your CV. Be careful to check your CV and cover letter to ensure all criteria shown on the job ad are met.

Desirable skills/qualifications

  • Include all which apply to you. These aren't essential, but they show a difference between applicants with similar skill levels.
  • List your skills exactly as they're set out in the job description, wherever possible.

Disability

Disabled people are entitled to consideration for their disability. Identify the nature of the disability, and any special requirements. Usually there's a specific request for this information. It's advisable to check with an employer whether this disability is considered to be a disadvantage for applicants, in some industries.

Education details

  • Name of school/college
  • Qualifications received
  • Date of qualifications
  • Any honors or distinctions
  • Any specified level of qualification mentioned in the job advertisement must be supplied.
  • See also Essential Qualifications/Licenses below

Education details should be kept as simple as possible. There is such a thing as too much information.

Email address

Online applications are sometimes frustrating. Not all email servers are equal, and if you're not sure about getting your mail, (It does happen) find a better service. If not, follow up your application with a phone call, soon after the closing date for applications.

Essential qualifications/licenses

Many job ads contain these. They can't be avoided. All of them must be addressed on your CV and any related documentation requested must be provided. (Make sure only to send copies, not originals.)

Personal information

Your name, an address, and reliable contact phone and email are obligatory.

Privacy

Some personal information is considered private, by law. The employer requires that information for legal purposes, but it's important that you understand that the information is only usable for the employer's business purposes.

It's not supposed to be given to third parties, except where people like police and government agencies are entitled to ask for it.

Work history

  • Name of employer
  • Position held
  • Job title
  • Job description (brief but correct)
  • Dates of employment

Accomplishments

  • Relate your work history to your accomplishments
  • Relate your accomplishments to criteria like 'problem solving skills', 'conflict resolution'
  • Relate your work history and accomplishments to other requirements of the job.

Note: As in the Goals chapter above, the intent is to make it clear that your accomplishments fit your career goals and your interest in the job. This is your proof of interest, and where you can show your skills at work in the most positive way.