CVs and Resumes
The purpose of your CV or Resume is to gain an interview. Once you have an interview you can dazzle your prospective employers in person. Your CV has to convince them you are worth talking to.
A CV or Curriculum Vitae is a detailed collection of your qualifications, skills, achievements, awards, and work history.
A Resume is shorter, and summarises your skills, experience and relevant qualifications.
In New Zealand, you will almost always use a CV.
Good CVs and Resumes are:
Selling yourself through your CV or Resume is about giving an amazing first impression, and telling your prospective employers the best bits about you in a way that gets their attention.
How do I sell myself?
Promote your relevant skills - Try making a skills map
Promote your relevant qualities - Try making a qualities map
Promote your experience - Think about what you did in your study/jobs/placement/volunteering that match the job you are applying for
Employers may take only 15-20 seconds to initially scan a CV.
Identifying your skills and qualities
Making a self-assessment of your skills and qualities and understanding yourself will make it easier to write about yourself in your CV or Resume. Try the Define section of the Career planning and decisions page for some ideas.
You could also visit the Figure out your skills page on the CareersNZ website.
Tailor your CV or Resume
Find out what skills, knowledge, experience and qualities are needed for the specific job you are interested in and include the ones which apply to you in your CV. Some advertised jobs will provide a job description with the advert or you can contact the company or organisation to request one.
Talking about your skills and qualities
Once you have figured out what your skills and qualities are, you need to be able to talk about them in a way that promotes them. Making a list of your skills doesn’t give enough information. Give an example of how you have used your skills or how you gained them.
Skill: Public speaking
Example: I was a member of the Debating team for three years and competed in several regional tournaments
When talking about your qualities make sure you also give an example.
Quality: Willingness to learn
Example: I have completed an online course in Excel and Word to update my computer skills.
What goes into a CV or Resume?
- What knowledge you have and how you have applied it
- The skills you have and how you have used them
- What experience you have and how it demonstrates your skills and knowledge
- Your personal qualities with an explanation of how these make you an ideal match for the job
- Your age or date of birth
- Marital status
- The complete story of your amazing and fascinating life so far
- A photo of you at the beach
Do your research
Find out as much as you can about the organisation or company. Visit their website and get familiar with who they are, what they do, and how they do it. If you can, use your networks to contact people who work there for ‘inside information’.
CV layout and format
Your CV is evaluated on content and visual display, so ask yourself; how am I going to present my CV? Your CV needs to stand out and appear professional and well presented.
Use plain white A4 paper
Use plenty of white space
Use a consistent structure and layout, such as the same font
Ensure perfect spelling
Maintain consistent tenses
Avoid too much detail and overcrowding
Use eye-catching headings
Create emphasis with:
Make your CV stand out from the pile.
Try the Careers NZ CV Builder to begin your CV.Build your CV
What goes into a CV or Resume
Some sections of a CV are considered essential and always need to be included.
Essential CV sections
Name, address, email and telephone number.
This is a short statement about yourself summarising relevant skills and personal attributes.
List your most recent achievement first. Include papers or outline of course content and attach an academic transcript if it is requested.
This section is a list of your main selling points:
• Use action verbs
• Use bullet points
• Keep it short
• Include proof
Include the relevant tasks and achievements from each past job. Try and match the skills the employer wants with the skills you have gained. Indicate whether you worked full or part-time, in a permanent or temporary position.
Show details of your employer:
• Dates you were employed
• Your position title
• Name of employer
Referees are people who can be contacted by your potential employer to give you a reference on request.
Include the details of two or three people, preferably past employers or teachers.
Make sure you check with them first and give them a copy of your CV, cover letter and the job description.
Extra CV sections
Add any of these extra sections to your CV if they are relevant to the job you are applying for.
A short statement about your career aims and goals.
Include the awards or acheivements that relate to the job you are applying to, or show you in a good light.
Do you have any? Is this an area you could develop?
Don’t forget school based activities, such as class rep or assisting with marketing.
What are you interested in? Limit your interests and activities to recent or current ones. Make them relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Do you have a first aid certificate? Or any other training.
This could include local clubs or organisations.
Have you completed any free courses, or online study? This could also include workshops, conferences or expos you have attended.
Have you had anything published?
Beware of applicant tracking systems!
Are you aware that you could be rejected for a job before a prospective employer has even laid eyes on your CV?
The advent of online applications and digital CV submissions have made it easier for applicants to apply for jobs, expanding the number of CV’s that employers receive.
What is an Appplicant Tracking System (ATS)?
Many large employers use software to help them conduct an initial screening of CV’s. Companies with fewer than 50 workers are much less likely to use this kind of system.
These applicant tracking systems (ATS) screen out or reject an estimated 70 percent or more of the CV’s submitted either because the documents don't reflect the desired qualifications, or because they’re formatted in a way that the system can't understand.
Use this checklist to make sure your CV is ready to go! Does you CV have...?
Skill focused CVs
Below is an example CV which focuses on the skill section. This type of CV emphasis your transferable skills rather than your work history, (or lack of it).
Work focused CVs
Below is a an example CV which focuses on the work section. This type of CV emphasis your work histroy rather than your skills. You may chose to use this type of CV if you want to put more focus on your career progression.
12 Murphy Street, Ponsonby
(04) 909 000
029 567 2341
I currently work as an assistant manager at an electronics store but am looking to further develop my sales and management skills. I am passionate about keeping up to date with the latest technologies coming on the market and dedicated to working in the electronics retail industry.
◊ Assistant manager, Electric Al’s, Auckland
June 2011 – Present
My role involves leading a team of five staff at a busy Auckland-based electronics store, Electric Al’s. As well as managing my team, I am involved in wider company decision making, including policy and purchasing decisions.
Strengths and achievements:
◊ Sales Representative, FonesRus, Auckland
February 2009 – April 2011
I worked as part of a dedicated sales team for the independent mobile phone outlet, FonesRus. My job was primarily customer-focused, but also involved stock purchasing.
◊ Delicatessen Assistant, Supermarket City, Wellington
June 2007 – December 2008
This was a part-time job I did while completing my Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University of Wellington. The role helped develop my sales and customer service skills.
Strengths and achievements:
Bachelor of Commerce, (marketing major)
Victoria University of Wellington, 2008 (academic transcript available on request).
Relevant papers include:
Interests and hobbies
I am a very active person and like to get outside and run, swim or play football in my free time. I have recently taken up running and am currently in training for my first half-marathon. I am also a member of Wellington Forest and Bird and spend a Saturday each month setting and checking traps at a reserve near my house.
Jan Claremont, Manager, Electric Al’s, Auckland
Phone: (09) 382 78544
Rick Wylde, Owner, FonesRus, Wellington
Phone: (04) 055 3586
Mobile: 020 852 369