The aim of any CV is to obtain an interview - to get the candidate in the door and into a face-to-face meeting with the employer, where they can shine and show the employer that they are perfect for the role. The CV is usually the first contact that a prospective employee will have with a potential employer, so it is vital to make that first impression really count.

This does not, of course, mean using cheap gimmickry in order to stand out from the crowd. A CV written in green ink, for example, is likely to be destined directly for the bin! It means to use the first pages of content effectively, to communicate that a candidate has all the required skills, experience and also, importantly, that they will fit in with the culture of the organisation. If an employer is not convinced about those things when they have finished reading a CV, an interview is unlikely to follow.

The abbreviation CV stands for curriculum vitae, which essentially means a summary of your career and life experience so far. There is not a standard template for a CV, but it must contain a clear summary of education, work, overall skills and any other relevant experience, in a concise format. The CV needs to be tailored for each employer, as different companies will be looking for slightly different things, so start with a good understanding of the role you want and the company that is offering it.

How to begin.

Usually a CV will begin with personal information such as name, address and contact details, and then move on to education or work experience that is set out in reverse chronological order, the most recent first. For those who have recently finished their education, it is often best to start with qualifications, but for the more experienced it is more relevant to start with employment.

Employment history.

This will include current and past job roles, and a brief summary of responsibilities, with dates, for each role. For quality manager jobs, make sure that these summaries highlight any projects and tasks that demonstrate your suitability for the vacancy. It is important to include a couple of sentences that cover the most important responsibilities and skills needed - for example, you were a project manager with responsibility for ensuring that all products met European Safety standards, including managing a health and safety team, and the factory was awarded a five star safety rating each year you were in charge.

Any other relevant work-related experience should also be listed, such as internships, or volunteer posts that helped you to gain greater insight and skills that would be transferable to Quality Management.

Education should cover all role-relevant qualifications, not simply the usual degrees or ‘A’ levels. List any Quality Management training courses that have been completed, such as British Standards Institute training, for example, as well as other relevant skills such as IT competency.

There is no need to list contact details for referees at this point, but do mention that they can be supplied upon request.

Things to remember.

Always spell check any CVs and covering letters, as well as keeping a copy for yourself. Keep a track of applications so that, when the offer of an interview arrives, you can refer back to the CV and covering letter that got the result, and re-read it before that all important interview.