CV Preparation Advice

Your CV is a very important piece of paper that you hope will get your application moved from a large heap of initial job applications on an employer’s desk, into a smaller heap of the applications to be selected for an interview. The person first sighting your CV will probably not read more than the first page, so it is important that you have listed the information that will cause your CV to be selected for the short list.   It must be well set out and easy to read. Only then is it likely that your subsequent pages will be read. Tailor your first page “Skills Summary” to describe briefly the special skills you have that qualify you for the job being applied for.

The first page is an important summary of your qualifications and skills. It should include:

Contact & General Information

This should be the first section of your CV and should include the following:

  • Your full name and address
  • Home telephone number
  • Mobile telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • Eligibility to Work (Work permits or Visas should be outlined here if you are a not a New Zealand or Australian citizen)

Qualifications and Professional memberships

List your qualifications, university name and country, your degree and date of completion, your professional memberships, with the grade and date of admission. Include any awards received. Papers published should be listed at the end of the CV. If your qualification is from an overseas university and needs NZ Qualifications Authority certification, add this (for example the equivalent NZ qualification).

Skills Summary

In this section you should summarise your skills, particularly those that suit you for the job being applied for, but be brief and use bullet points. Your work history on subsequent pages should give more information on how you achieved these skills.

Do not use self laudatory statements such as “excellent”, “highly motivated”, etc. Such statements are for your referee to make. In New Zealand you must be modest about yourself and self laudatory statements will not impress a prospective employer.

 On the second and subsequent pages list:

Work History

Your employment history should be listed in reverse chronological order, i.e. the most recent first. Each job should be explained including the dates you were employed, briefly describing what the job was about, an indication of its size, its value, where it was located, and the name of the employer. Describe your particular responsibilities and achievements in a concise manner.

A CV should not be more than four or five pages. Use bullet points to get your points across clearly. Explain any gaps in your employment history, such as time spent travelling or gaining qualifications.

Papers Published

If you have published technical papers, list the titles and dates of the publication, publication name and the names of any co-authors.

Career Objectives

These can be listed towards the end of your CV. Usually it is not the immediate information that an employer is seeking, but it will be important later if you get to the interview stage.

Leisure Time Interests

List your hobbies, sports and personal leisure time interests.

References

You do not have to include references with your CV, although you should be prepared to provide references if requested. Provide the names and contacts of at least two referees. You should contact the referees to let them know you are applying for jobs. A prospective employer will probably wish to speak to these people by phone rather than asking for a written reference.

Points to remember

Your CV must be well laid out and clearly presented. This is an indication to an employer of your clarity of thinking and how well you might prepare reports. Professional engineering employers will expect a high standard of English and report writing.

Only use one font throughout and use bullet points for greater emphasis and clarity.

Spelling mistakes and poor English are completely unacceptable and you should very carefully proof read your completed CV. Ask someone else to check it for you.

Remember your CV is your tool to interview selection. It should be an accurate representation of your experience and character. A good first page that grabs the attention of a prospective employer is the key to making it on to the short list for interviews. Do not use superlatives such as “excellent”, “fantastic”, or “great” and do not be self-laudatory about your skills. This is for your referee to say or the employer to read in a reference from someone who has experienced your skills.

Honesty

Do not be tempted to make false statements on your CV. An employer will usually verify all statements and will talk to referees. It is very easy to find falsifications. Anyone found making false statements will not be given another chance and their reputation will be permanently damaged. Dishonesty and false statements are not tolerated in New Zealand society. Employers expect a high standard of professional integrity and total honesty. Anything less is likely to result in instant dismissal.

IPENZ Competence Self Review Form

If you are keen progress your IPENZ membership and become a Chartered Professional Engineer it is recommended that you should complete a Competence Self Review Form (Form CA03). This can be downloaded from the IPENZ website www.ipenz.org.nz if you feel confident to complete this form it is a good way to show your experience to prospective employers. However it is rather a long form and a CV of the type suggested above is recommended for your initial application, but you might state that you can provide IPENZ Competence Self Review Form CA03 on request.