How should I apply?
or Changing from a Resume to a CV
If you want to be considered for a job, you need to ask. "Choose me, choose me" nagged the donkey in Shrek and being a friendly Ogre who really wasn't looking to choose part of a triangle to later include Fiona, the Ogre sort of did. But, let's face it, when applying for a job in real life you won't be sucessful if you simply invade the personal space of the employer in this brash way. If there's a job to be had, you'll probably be competing with others for it ... and if there's a job to be had, it's a very serious decision for the employer and he won't simply pick the loudest and most persistant shouter.
Whether you approach a company "cold" not knowing whether they have a current vacancy, or apply for a job that's advertised, they'll usually expect you to apply by post; exceptions may be telesales jobs where a pushy phone call to them may help establish that you can make pushy calls to their potential clients, and high tech company / job applications that may be acceptable by email. Cold applications be email need to be exceptional to get noticed; you wouldn't believe how many "I wanna job"s I get from our mail server, but I'll tend to notice something that arrives in the post. And with a posted application YOU can control the quality of print, the colour (colour is spent with a "u" for UK applications!) and the paper.
So - what should go in your posted application. Usually:
a) Your CV - that's your "Curriculum Vitae" - the English (or Latin?) word for a Resume
b) A cover letter
Also read very carefully indeed any advert / data provided if you're applying for an advertised job, and any company application policy statements you can find if you're applying "cold" and follow them to the letter
. This may mean adding in references, applying on their form rather that via a CV, or even handwriting the application.
I guess that the best way to illustrate would be for me to present you with my CV and tell you why it's good. Ah, but a CV should be tailored to present what's needed for the particular role you're seeking and not duplicated off in 0s or even 00s, and I haven't had to apply for a regular job since 1991 when I walked onto a boot at a trade show (or in English, onto a "stand" at an "exhibition") and asked the guy there "Have you a job for a trainer?". He had, he hired me, and the rest is history. And so, with that proviso, here's a link to my most recent CV which was written to support my application to present a one week long training course rather than for full time employment. Link to Graham's CV as a .pdf fileYour CV
Design you CV as well as you possibly can, and present it on an A4 sheet of high quality white (or very near white paper). A4 is 297mm x 210mm. The nearest American size will be an immediate TURN OFF to anyone in the UK (UK branches of USA companies run by USA staff excepted) who receives it. Wrong paper size means you don't know the customs of the country you're applying to, and are liable to need a lot of (re)training.
Lay out should be clear, pertinant information typically presented in tabular form rather than as a long essay - though longer paragraphs may follow the initial information.
Graham John Ellis
Date of Birth - 16th July 1954
Full driving license holder
Married, three (grown up) children
Hobbies include skiing and cooking
I'm also treasurer of the local Village Hall
Eight O levels
Four A levels (Maths, further Maths, Chemistry, Biology)
BSc (Hons) Computer Science, City University, 1976
Details of appropriate vocational courses
What's notable about this for applicants who are not native to the area?
* Add a note of your gender if it's not blindingly obvious from your name and/or any picture printed on the CV
* Date of Birth in British format please, and NOT 12/27/1979
* If not British, state how / why you can work in the UK
* Driving license usually important. Slight expansion of your answer may be required if you're not yet here / haven't taken your test. (e.g. currently driving on license from Maine, USA; UK test to be taken on 25th February and I expect no break in being able to drive on my own on UK roads)
* Also mention other not-quite-educational qualifications that might be relevant either here or later. e.g. First Aider, Life Guard
* The "married with children" is important in setting up some background as to who you are. (and keep it in proper English - "Children" and NOT "kids"). Give their ages if they're under 18. ("Three children, aged 15, 12 and 18 months"). It's also a great point for the interviewer to start with ("goodness - that's a big gap between the second and third") when you get to that base.
* You may wonder about hobbies and other interests; this gives a good insight into the person, discussion point for interview, and should show that the
applicant is not a work bore. I want to employ someone who's dedicated, for sure, but I want someone who's interesting too. Be careful not to suggest activities which will interfere with your work. "I'm the American 20m tiddlywink champion" would have me, as application reviewer, wondering how long you would want to be away each year and how it would affect your employment.
* As I write this, I'm thinking "disabilities". I might add "fit and health" to my own CV; if you're (say) in a wheelchair this might be a good place to note it.
* I would not mention religion at this point for an application in Scotland / Wales / England. For Northern Ireland, I might get it "out the way" here.
On education ...
* It's traditional to state briefly how you got on in your school exams (O levels, or now GCSEs) at age 16, and your A levels at age 18, even if you went on to University. Not from the UK? Then mention your formal schooling qualifications at appropriate ages and draw a brief comparison to the UK standard
if at all possible. Again, you're showing your study and knowledge of the British system even if these old qualifications are so old as to be irrelevant.
* Degrees to be stated as shown; if you went on to Masters and / or PhD, show those of course, listing subject and institution.
* Vocational course to list? Could be a tricky one. Clearly if you're looking to be an airline pilot it will be clear what you should show. If I'm looking for
a customer facing role, I would tend to list my sales training ... for a programming role, programming and language courses. Where something is a trade qualification, describe how it compares to the UK equivalent.
* For a "controlled" profession where you need a certain qualification to practise, state how your overseas qualification stands in the UK. For example, "I am in the process of converting my USA electrician's license to a UK certificate as required under UK law from 1st January 2005"
After the initial tables of information, I'm going to suggest that you go on to describe the role you're looking for, and why and when you'll be available. For example:
I'm moving to Chippenham in March, with my husband. He's taking up a job with xxxxxxxx.
Although I enjoy my current job with Dairy King in Sacremento, USA, I'll have to give that
up when I move and I'll be seeking employment in an Ice Cream Parlour such as yours in
Bath. Ideally, I would like to start a few weeks after we arrive to give me a chance
to support Rupert as he settles in, and to sort out our children's schooling. I understand
that the Ice cream business is quiet in the UK until the main tourist traffic arrives in
early May, so I'm sure my timing will suit you.
The major part of the CV is going to be your employment history (unless you're just out of college); there's big arguments as to whether everything should be listed or whether you can summarise the older and perhaps less relevant stuff. Also argument as to whether it should be "latest first" or "earliest first". You'll see that in my example, I elected to go for an employemt summary, followed by "current" ... but then, for me current is the last 10 years.
Pick our major projects, areas of responsibility (including staff management, budgetary responsibility). Be positive (but not sickeningly so) at all times and be very careful how you explain departures. "As the market changed, the company centralised technical support in San Diego and my position in Basingstoke was no longer required" would explain my departure from Megatek in 1991. What I really want to say was "my boss fought a political battle with the bosses in San Diego and lost, so they clipped his wings by taking away the technical team that I headed".To be continued