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Preparing a CV

Abstract

A CV is a self-marketing tool, designed with the goal of obtaining a job interview. The information in your CV should be targeted at a specific veterinary career field and address the needs of a specific employer. Your CV should market your relevant skills, knowledge and accomplishments.

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BEGIN the process of writing your CV by identifying the career field and types of employers that will be the focus of your job search. When you know how you will use the CV, you will be able to write an effective, targeted CV that gets results. Spend some time choosing the right words and phrases to describe your marketable skills and experiences. You may need to make several revisions before arriving at the final version.

A one-page CV is preferable for most new graduate positions. A two-page CV is acceptable if the information on both pages demonstrates the skills and/or experience rele-vant to the veterinary profession (including client service).

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Present the most important information first. Your CV should highlight the skills and accomplishments that meet the requirements of the employer. Exclude irrelevant information and experience. A well-designed CV should be written concisely, presented in an organised format, be visually appealing and free from spelling, typographical, punctuation and grammatical errors.

CV checklist

Use the following checklist to ensure your CV meets these requirements:

■It should be inviting, easy to read and not include too much information;

■It should be free from typos and spelling mistakes;

■It should be in an easy-to-read font style and size;

■It should incorporate enough white space between sections to facilitate skimming;

■The margins should be adequate;

■The paragraphs should be aligned;

■It should have visual impact — use bullets, bold, italics and different font sizes to emphasise headings and key words;

■It should be printed on good-quality paper;

■The print quality should be good.

Content

■It should support the objective and demonstrate your ability or potential to do the job;

■It should speak to the employer's needs and requirements and, where possible, refer to phrases in the job advertisement;

■It should indicate knowledge of the field, typical issues or problems and solutions;

■It should omit reference to racial, religious or political affiliations unless a bona fide occupational qualification.

Format

■It should present the strongest qualifications first;

■It should be an appropriate length (about one page for every six to 10 years of work experience).

Writing style

■Paragraphs and sentences should be short and succinct;

■Language should be brief and clear without unnecessary words.

Contact details

■Include your address, telephone number(s) and e-mail address.

Objective

■It should briefly indicate the sort of position, title and possible area of interest sought;

■The language should be specific, employer-focused and avoid broad or vague statements;

■It should contain a summary of skills, accomplishments and expertise;

■It should summarise relevant work experience and accomplishments that support the objective.

Education and training

■The highest level of attainment should be listed first, working from the most current degree, degree in progress or most recently completed degree;

■For those about to graduate, it should contain information about the type of degree, name and location of the university and date or anticipated date of graduation;

■Other degrees, relevant higher education coursework, CPD or training courses, study abroad and secondary school education should also be listed;

■Relevant courses, papers and projects, including paper and project titles, should be included;

■Finally, remember to include any awards and scholarships.

Employment experience

For new graduates who have not worked as a qualified veterinary surgeon before, it is still important to provide details of relevant work experience. Even part-time jobs outside the profession show the employer that you have the ability to commit to a position. You should include the following:

■All paid, volunteer, EMS and work experience programmes relevant to your objective, with the most recent experience listed first;

■Position title;

■Employer's name and geographical location;

■Dates of position held (if several positions have been held with one employer, list the employer once); responsibilities, listed in order of the value of each to the future employer; transferable skills and adaptive abilities used on the job;

■Accomplishments, problems faced and solutions found;

■Contributions to the employer, such as ways in which your work helped to increase profit, motivation, efficiency, productivity or quality, or improve programmes, communication or information flow;

■Quantitative or qualitative indicators of the results of your contributions or accomplishments;

■Learning that took place on the job that is relevant to the current advertised post.

Skills

Include the following:

■Technical skills relevant to being a vet;

■Computer skills, including software applications, languages, hardware and operating systems;

■Language skills — describe level of fluency and ability to read and write as basic, intermediate or advanced;

■Other relevant skills.

Extracurricular activities, community service and professional associations

Include the following:

■Significant positions of responsibility, including title, name of practice or team and dates;

■Leadership roles, achievements and rele­vant transferable skills;

■Relevant hobbies and personal interests.

Generally, employers spend only a few minutes reading each CV, so it's a good idea to be concise and to the point.

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