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The St. Petersburg Times 25.05.2008 \"How to Create the Perfect CV\".

Writing or updating a resume or curiculum vitae (CV) is a task that can be approached in many different ways. Some do it with loathing, irked by the need to recall anything in their past that might help them to get the job they want, while others see it as a creative writing exercise in which menial tasks performed in their previous jobs are transformed into crucial services carrying a vast burden of responsibility.

Some job hunters list every one of their achievements, from school certificates to musical grades, in the belief that one small detail could clinch the job for them. Others consider a CV to be a formality and maintain that their performance in a job interview is what really decides an employers choice of candidate, and consequently think a brief page will suffice.

Whatever the approach, the quality of the CV often determines whether it is thrown straight into the trash or its author called for interview and its significance in the job application process should not be underestimated. So what is the best way to present a CV, and what pitfalls should candidates avoid?

Life story.

Olga Petrovskaya, IT/Telecom team leader at Ancor recruiting company in St. Petersburg, says that a CV is one of the most effective instruments in searching for a new job.

Generally, the first round of the selection process is based on candidates CVs, she says. When a company receives dozens of resumes every day, the employer usually spends 1 or 2 minutes reading each one.

But when a job has been advertised on the Internet or in the media, the company might receive hundreds of resumes, reducing the attention span given to each one to 30-40 seconds. Therefore its very important to catch the employers attention and interest and make them want to interview you.

Most experts are agreed that the length of a CV should not exceed two pages any more information runs the risk of boring the reader with irrelevant detail but be no less than one full page, if it includes all the necessary information.

Petrovskaya says the most basic essential information on any CV, regardless of the job applied for, includes sections detailing the candidates contact information, career objectives, qualifications, work experience, education and additional skills. The last section, advises Petrovskaya, should indicate a candidates computer skills, knowledge of foreign languages and driving experience.

One area that can cause confusion among candidates is the Personal Information section.

Some recruitment experts consider such a section unnecessary, including Petrovskaya, though she says it can be useful for employers to include ones date of birth and marital and parental status.

Others suggest a more detailed About Me section which, according to the on-line journal HR Zone, gives the CV more of a human face. The journal suggests including information such as hobbies and extracurricular activities done at school or university, but warns candidates not to go overbroad and write about absolutely everything it is better to focus on character aspects that are relevant to the job being applied for.

Marina Goryayeva, senior consultant at Triza Exclusive Personnel Search Group in St. Petersburg, says that if a candidate sends the CV directly to a company, mentioning some hobbies is worthwhile.

If youre a keen sportsman, why not write about it, especially if you know that the company regularly organizes sports events this way the employer will understand youre likely to accept the corporate culture of the company, Goryayeva says.

No pets please.

A much-debated issue is the question of whether or not to attach a photograph with your resume.

While Petrovskaya advises against this, Goryayeva says, A photo is of importance when the candidate applies for an administrative position implying certain requirements regarding appearance. However, its definitely not recommended to attach a file with an enormous picture of you wearing fancy dress and/or in a group of close friends and pets.

As many employers know from experience, this is far less unlikely than it may seem. The experts advice also differs on the subject of salary expectations.

According to Petrovskaya, there should be no mention of this on a CV. Goryayeva, on the other hand, says that minimum salary levels should be indicated, Always write your salary expectations, she says. There is always a minimal level youre ready to discuss, and if you dont state it, both sides will waste time discussing vacancies that dont correspond to your current level of experience.

However, both experts are agreed on the crucial elements of writing a good CV. A CV should be brief, well-structured and give the clear idea of the gist of ones professional experience, Goryayeva says. Petrovskaya agrees that a clear and logical structure, a concise format and clarity of expression are things to focus on when writing a resume.

As for references, both Ancors Petrovskaya and Triza Exclusives Goryayeva suggest that at the CV stage, they are not necessary.

Petrovskaya recommends bringing the details of referees to the interview, when they could be required, while according to Goryayeva, referees are only usually contacted when the company is about to make a candidate a job offer.

When sending your CV to a company for the first time or posting it on the Internet, it is quite enough to write the names without the contact information, she says. The phrase references are available upon request is also acceptable.

Switched on.

Petrovskaya advises candidates against writing headings such as Resume or CV it should be obvious, she points out, what the document is. There should be no mention on a CV of a candidates weaknesses or of the reasons they left their previous jobs, she warns. She also says there is no need to write ones entire work history on a resume.

Your prospective employer is only interested in the last 3-5 places you have worked at during a period of no more than ten years, she says.

Goryayeva has some advice for candidates putting their CV on the Internet. Write your full name, she urges. A CV entitled Accountant Natasha or Director Andrei Nikolaevich does not look professional and worst of all, makes it seem like you have something to hide. Naturally, you may not wish to let your boss know youre looking for a new job, but nowadays most job sites allow users to adjust the settings of the CV to make it visible only to a chosen group of employers. According to Goryayeva, its just as important to state the full names and profile of the companies you have worked for.

There are companies with similar or identical names, but totally different profiles, as well as ones that are not widely known and do not have an Internet site, so sometimes it takes ages to guess which one the candidate means.

The experts have some final advice for candidates who have followed their tips and recommendations to create a successful CV.

Make sure your mobile phone is switched on after youve posted your CV on the Internet, or include additional contact information in the CV Goryayeva says.

Its always a pity to lose candidates with considerable work experience who are not available due to technical problems.

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