Knowing how to write a CV in Ireland is essential if you’re looking to find your dream role and climb the career ladder. However, many job seekers struggle when it comes to showcasing their skills and demonstrating their suitability for an advertised position. With the Irish job market more competitive than ever, having a winning CV at your disposal has never been more vital.
Here at H-Training, we’ve been leading the way in career services, learning and development, and strategic consultancy since 1989. If you’re planning your next career move, we can help advise you on everything from CV writing and application form development to coaching services should you be shortlisted for an interview. Eager to progress to the next stage of your career journey? Read on for our handy guide with all the essentials you need to know for creating a CV that stands out.
Are You the Right Person for the Job?
Before you start thinking about how to write a CV in Ireland, you must take a step back to determine whether you’re a good fit for the advertised position. If a job description doesn’t engage you, it’s unlikely the actual position will maintain your interest.
Once you have found a job description that appeals, consider what qualifications and experience are required. If you can only demonstrate half the requirements, you’re better off seeking an alternative.
It’s worth bearing in mind that recruitment is a largely digital process, especially during the shortlisting and pre-selection stage. As such, your CV must be optimised with relevant keywords. Be thorough when assessing job descriptions and look out for keywords that describe your qualifications, experience, and career achievements.
If there’s no correlation between what’s required and what you can offer, the position in question is likely not a good fit. Avoid overloading your CV and cover letter with keywords that aren’t reflective of your experience.
How to Write a CV in Ireland: Document Layout
As a general rule, a CV should be around two pages long. The aim here is to provide an effective introduction to you as a candidate and a succinct summary of your skills.
If you opt for a longer layout, there is a strong chance employers will overlook important information when assessing your suitability. You’ll also need to consider how you save your document. Most job listings will specify what file format to use. If they don’t, stick to a Microsoft Word document or PDF file format.
Including your full name in the filename of your CV will also increase its visibility and make it easier for hiring managers to retrieve it.
Choosing a Suitable Font
When choosing a font, go for something easy to read. Most people tend to stick with Times New Roman, although other serif fonts like Cambria and Garamond can also be effective. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re using the same font throughout your document.
Font size should also be consistent. The bulk of your document should be written in a size 12 font. Section headings can be written in the same size, but make sure they’re highlighted in bold or italicised. You can be more liberal when selecting a font size for your name. However, avoid going larger than size 16 to preserve space for more important information.
Essential Information to Include
Any good CV should include your latest contact information as standard. Use your full name and address, as well as an up-to-date contact number. Only include a secondary number if you’ll be around to answer it. A dedicated email address is also essential. It’s worth creating a new one for job-seeking purposes. Try creating one that includes your name and keep it as professional sounding as possible.
Some people choose to include a link to their social media accounts. Adding a link to a LinkedIn profile is certainly a good idea. However, be wary when including outbound links to other social media platforms.
If you’re pursuing opportunities in the creative or marketing industries and your social media channels reflect your experience in these areas, by all means, draw attention to them. However, never link to personal accounts.
It’s also worth conducting a social media audit before applying for any new jobs. Just because you haven’t signalled to them in your CV, doesn’t mean a recruiter won’t seek them out independently. The last thing you want is an ill-judged Tweet from years ago sending the wrong impression.
Information You Don’t Need to Include
When thinking about how to write a CV in Ireland, there are some things you don’t have to worry about including. The Employment Equality Act ensures employers can’t discriminate based on age, so adding your date of birth isn’t necessary. There’s also no need to mention your current relationship status. Specifying nationality usually isn’t required. However, if you’re applying for a position outside of the EU, you’ll need to include it.
Start Strong with a Personal Statement
Once you’ve added your contact information, it’s time to focus on your profile. This opening statement introduces you to recruiters and establishes your suitability for the advertised role. Limit this statement to a few sentences, ensuring each one showcases your skills and suitability.
Being specific and on point is essential. Avoid stuffing this section with vagaries and buzzwords like ‘passionate’ and ‘enthusiastic’. Instead, focus on the specific experience that relates directly to the role you’re applying for.
Showcasing Key Skills
A key skills section is, without doubt, the most important aspect of any CV. These skills demonstrate your suitability for a position and give a recruiter an idea of what you can bring to an organisation.
Generally speaking, skills fall into three broad categories. Firstly, there are job-related skills. Be specific when listing them as these are skills recruiters will be actively looking for. Next, you need to think about transferable skills. If you’re moving up the career ladder or thinking about shifting industries, highlighting transferable skills is crucial. Finally, there are so-called adaptive skills. These can be hard to quantify but are useful for demonstrating your versatility to a prospective employer.
Career History and Experience
Understanding how to outline your employment history is a key part of understanding how to write a CV in Ireland. For every position you include in your CV, ensure you put a name and location for every employer. You’ll also need to include start and finishing dates for each position listed.
Start by adding your most recent position and work backwards. If you’ve been working for many years, focus on the last 10-15 years of your employment history. This will save you wasting precious space detailing entry-level positions. Furthermore, it means you can showcase your current skill set.
If a previous position is particularly well-aligned with the one you’re currently pursuing, you can highlight your experience with that employer. Think about including a summary description of the employer to draw attention to it.
When it comes to detailing past responsibilities and duties, don’t be afraid to be specific. Did you work in a management role? Specify team sizes and direct report numbers. For every job listed in your CV, include a few key achievements and how your contributions benefited your employer. If you can be specific and quote figures, do so.
Unless explicitly asked for in a job listing, don’t worry about including references as part of your initial application. Simply specify that references are available upon request.
How to Write a CV in Ireland with Employment Gaps
Employment gaps occur and shouldn’t be a barrier to you securing your next role. Gaps in employment history can be explained in your cover letter. If there is a months-long gap between roles because you struggled to find a new position, you can be creative with your wording. Instead of saying you had issues finding a new role, redress it that you were seeking opportunities in a new industry sector.
If employment gaps are considerable, it’s tempting to play around with start and finishing dates. This should be avoided at all costs. Should you be shortlisted for an interview, employers are almost certain to uncover the discrepancy when carrying out reference checks.
Education and Qualifications
To save on space when creating a CV, you’ll need to be meticulous when including educational achievements. Younger job seekers may have little option but to include Leaving Certificate summaries. However, graduates will want to avoid going into much detail about these and focus on degree-level qualifications instead.
When listing educational information, start with your most recent qualifications. You can also include additional skills like language proficiency here. Be sure to include your fluency level as well.
Does Your CV Need an Overhaul?
Still, struggling to put together a first-rate CV? Here at H-Training, we can advise on how to write a CV in Ireland that will set you apart from rival candidates. In addition to providing career guidance for adults, H-Training offers a full raft of career and corporate services for job seekers and employers alike.
For corporate clients, H-Training can provide industry-leading insights into emotional intelligence assessment and sales training. For employers looking to streamline their shortlisting process, we also offer interview board training and corporate interview training.
Ciarán Hourican is an expert in preparing CVs for professionals at every step of their career. Candidates can also benefit from interview coaching and LinkedIn development services to bolster their chances of securing their next position in 2022.