CV Preparation

It takes time to make a good Curriculum Vitae or CV so it is best to start working on this when-ever you have some free time. A CV is not a static document but one you need to change as you achieve or do more things and to fit the purpose you are using it for. It does need some thought and planning as a well presented and written CV is invaluable and you cannot produce that at the last minute.  

If you keep your Dreamcatcher profile up to date you can easily use the CV Builder on Dreamcatcher to create a CV.



Useful hints and ideas 

When you start looking for a job, applying for entry to training courses or for scholarships most people expect you to have a Curriculum Vitae (CV) available for them to look at.  This is a very important document as it is often the basis on which initial decisions are made that affect your future.

You need to remember an employer or training agency may receive many CV’s to look at.  Yours needs to “catch the eye” of the reader in approximately 30 seconds!

Firstly why call it a CV and not a resume?  

Though some people use the terms as though they mean the same thing they are different ways of presenting a person’s academic/work/personal history.  The CV covers a person’s history in chronological order of activities and jobs under-taken where as a resume describes what a person has done over the years by skills gained.  In New Zealand and Australia a CV is mainly used where as a resume is more common in America. Though you could use either format it is recommended that you have a CV as this is what people are familiar with in New Zealand.   

Points regarding CV presentation: 
It needs to be brief as by page 3 most people stop reading. Hint:  You write out your document in full first then rewrite more briefly in bullet points. One page to two pages is acceptable for a beginning CV.   

It needs to be easily readable so layout, font size, line spacing, use of bold and underlying for example are all important. Hint:  Do your first draft and give it to an older person, preferably one who has seen other CV’s to comment on.    

Personal data should occupy no more than I/2 of first page. Hint: If unable to fit details in add at the end of the CV.   

Your CV needs to catch a persons’ eye. Most advice recommends you do not include a photo. Print on good quality of paper and do not fold if posting. If sending by email, you should convert to a PDF to ensure format is consistent
Your CV is a living document and needs to change to target the purpose it is being used for i.e. course application, job, scholarship.   

Personal details. This includes full name as it would appear on your passport or birth certificate with surname in capitals or underlined. If you are called by a different name/abbreviated version etc this should be included.  Address at which you can be contacted both physical and email.  Phone numbers where you can be contacted, daytime, evening and mobile. 

Optional personal information: If your name could be for either gender you may need to state this or add a Miss, Ms or Mr to your name details. Health details are optional and only need to be included if relevant to the use of your CV. For example when applying for a disability scholarship. Marital status and Date of Birth are not included unless specifically requested. If not born in New Zealand, residency status should be included.

Personal Statement: 2-3 sentences which give the employer an insight into who you are. It may include your current role and any career aspirations. 

Skills: All employers are usually looking for some sort of skills from their workers.  You may think that you don’t have any yet but think again.  Talk with parents, friends, teachers about what you have learnt and can do. There are exercises on the Career Service website that can help with identifying your skills. You need to state briefly how you have demonstrated each skill (bullet points).

Educational History: Presented in chronological order with what you are studying currently followed by your most recent results, the subjects you have studied and grades gained.   

Work History: Once again present in chronological order with what doing now then past jobs. Remember to include part-time and voluntary work you have done and work for parents whether paid or not. Include the duties and responsibilities involved.   

Other Qualifications and Achievements: These help build a picture of you as a person and your abilities.  Include: School Leadership Roles Drivers licence & First Aid Certificate if you have these Music/dance/drama activities you may participate in or have done in past Community involvement for example church, guides or other activities Anything of importance not already mentioned previously   

Interests: Listing these depends on what you are using the CV for. It may or may not be helpful and remember an employer will not be impressed if Facebooking/shopping/partying is listed as your main interest.   

Referees: You need to have available at least 2 people who are not relatives whom can be contacted to give you a verbal reference. For example teachers, employer/s or someone you know through an activity you do. You need to ask the people you want to name if they are prepared to do this for you each time you use your CV.

References: Written references are now largely obsolete.  If required the organisation will approach your referee directly to do this.  Your school report may be requested.   

COVERING LETTER: (required for job applications) 

Generally it is better that these are typed unless a hand written one is specifically asked for.  This is usually a way of checking out a person’s English skills, spelling and actual hand writing neatness.   

Letter should have the following lay out: 

Paragraph 1 - How you come to know about the position or if sending general letter why approaching that firm.   
Paragraph 2 – What skills and experience etc you have to offer the firm or why you are the person for the position.   
Paragraph 3 – When you are available for interview, work, looking forward to hearing from them.

It is important that you follow all the instructions that are given by the organisation for applying for the position. You should ensure you address any of the aspects outlined in the advertisement or job description.


Career Services –  section on CV. Cover letter & template  
Ayo, Lin (2002) Write your own Curriculum Vitae, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Longman New Zealand
Harris, Rob (1999) How to Get The Job You Want: The New Zealand Guide, Reed Books, New Zealand.       


CV Template

Personal Statement or Qualities:  
Educational History
Work Experience:
Other qualifications and Achievements:


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