WRITING YOUR C.V. & COVERING LETTER
by Viv Quarry (www.vivquarry.com)
1. Before writing your Curriculum Vitae (CV), or in American English - resume (pronounced "résumé"),
you must decide on which style to adopt.
There are two main styles of CV:
* The Chronological CV is the most common and is preferred by most employers. This style presents your education and work experience in reverse sequence, with the most recent activities listed first. It should be easy to read and should contain brief statements about your background.
Avoid making your CV difficult to follow by filling it with personal data and names of references.
* The Functional CV emphasises qualifications, skills and other accomplishments. It is useful for candidates who:
· Want to work in areas for which they are not qualified.
· Are changing fields or industries and have a lot of work experience.
· Want to highlight specific skills.
* If you are confident in your suitability for a specific job, you could try combining elements of both functional and chronological styles.
· Your CV is your most important sales tool. Ensure that:
· It is visually attractive and has a professional appearance.
· It highlights your best qualities.
· It is positive in tone.
· It is honest, but don't sell yourself short.
· It has no grammatical, spelling or punctuation mistakes.
· Names of educational institutions and qualifications are in English, with their native language equivalent in brackets afterwards (use acronyms where possible).
· Names of educational qualifications and professional positions are in English.
· If the name of the company would be unknown to a Non-Brazilian, put an explanation in English of its area of operation in brackets after the name.
3. Some tips for producing a professional CV.
· Include a covering letter.
· Start with personal details and contact information.
· Have clearly defined sections for 'Education and qualifications' and 'Work experience'.
· Include 'Other information', like courses attended and interests.
· Be photocopied using a high quality machine.
· Use standard A4 (European) or 'Carta' (US) paper.
· Use short sentences and phrases.
· Use white or off-white paper and black print.
· Be printed on one side of the paper only.
· Be easy to read.
· Use action and power words.
· Be one or two pages in length.
· Be consistent in form, grammatical structures, punctuation and capitalization.
· Have no unnecessary repetition of words or phrases.
· Be checked by a native speaker (preferably an English language instructor) for errors.
· Be sent without a covering letter.
· Have unexplained abbreviations.
· Include a photograph.
· Have any hand-written changes or additions.
· Appear too crowded or sparse.
· Necessarily include every job held, unless to fill one page.
· Have unusual fonts or strange bullets. It is a sales document, not a newspaper advertisement.
4. Educational qualifications in English.
GCSE's = Materias de primeiro grau.
GCE A Levels = Materias de segundo grau.
(A) degree in (subject) = Graduado em (materia)
(A) BA in (subject) = Graduado em Artes
(A) B.Sc. in (subject) = Graduado em Ciencias
(An) MA in (subject) = Mestrado em Artes
(An) Msc in (subject) = Mestrado em Ciencias
(An) MBA = MBA
(A) Ph.D. in (subject) = Doutorado em (materia)
(A) diploma in (subject) = Pós Graduação em (materia)
(A) PGCE = Licenciatura em pedagogia
5. Brazilian Educational Institutions.
Secondary school (UK) = Segundo grau
High School (USA)
(The) Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC)
(The) Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
(The) State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)
Fluminense Federal University (UFF)
(The) Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV)
(The) City College of Rio de Janeiro (Faculdade de Cidade)
(The) Brazilian Capital Markets Institute (IBMEC)
6. Power words and useful expressions which can be used in a c.v. or covering letter.
|Action & power words||Useful words||Useful words cont.|
|As well as..., I...||Advertisement / small ad|
|I arranged...||Annual / per annum / yearly|
|I dealt not only with., but with..||Application form|
|I dealt with...||Appointment / job|
|I developed a new...||Candidate|
|I developed...||Confirming letter|
|I encouraged...||Contract of employment|
|I had to...||Curriculum vitae|
|I managed to...||Director|
|I organised (UK)||Double time / time and a half|
|I organized (US)||Duties|
|I ran the (department/section)||Employee|
|I set up (meetings with)...||Employer|
|I supervised the...||Employment|
|I took responsibility for...||Filing|
|I was able to ...||Fringe benefits|
|I was appointed to ...||Information technology|
|I was delegated to...||Interview|
|I was in charge of...||Interviewee|
|I was responsible for...||Interviewer|
|My duties included...||Junior Secretary|
|Leave / holiday / vacation|
|Temporary / permanent post|
· Make sure that the format is that of a formal letter in English.
· In the first paragraph, explain why you are writing and where you heard about the job.
· In the second paragraph, You should mention your CV.
· You could explain why you left your previous job(s), but always try to be positive about your previous employers. Avoid saying that you left for more money or better working conditions.
· You can give details about your previous duties, where they are relevant to the post for which you are applying. Emphasize responsibilities, authority, projects you undertook, changes you effected and schemes you introduced. Be careful not to sound arrogant.
· Explain why you are applying for the position and why you think that your particular skills and experience would be valuable to the firm.
· At the end of the letter, look forward to the interview and offer to supply more information if necessary.
· Type the letter and sign it using a pen.
8. Some useful expressions to use in your covering letter.
I would like to apply for the position which I saw advertised in (newspaper) on (date) for (job)
I am enclosing my curriculum vitae for the position of....
The enclosed c.v. is for the above post.
Summary of details
You will see that I graduated from/left (institution) in (year) where I got (qualification). I then began work with (firm) as (job title), where I was trained as (title), and was involved with (brief description of duties).
I left (firm) in (year) as (new employer) offered me a chance to use my (skills or specialized knowledge).
In (year) I was offered a chance to join (firm) where there was an opportunity for me to gain more experience in ....
I was offered promotion by (firm) in (year) and therefore left (firm) as this meant I could (reason).I joined (firm) in (year) as they offered an opportunity for advancement, being a much larger concern.
While I was at (firm) I took responsibility for (area) and this meant I (ability); within (period of time) the firm/department was able to (improvements)
During my time at (firm), I worked on several (type) schemes/projects which were very successful as they meant (results).At (firm) my duties included (duties). This gave me more experience in (area) which was very valuable when I moved to (new firm).(Firm) encouraged Self-Improvement programmes. I took a (qualification/course) at (institution) in (year) and after two more years of management experience I joined (firm).
Why you are applying
I am particularly interested in the position you offer as I know my previous experience and academic background would be valuable in this area of (area of work - engineering, accountancy, etc.).
I am sure I would be successful in this post as I have now gained the experience and skills that are required.
As (job title) I know my background is (area) would prove valuable to you, especially as I have been dealing with (area of work).
This position would require someone who has had extensive experience of (work area), which I gained both academically and commercially at (college and firms).
Closing the letter
I look forward to hearing from you. However, if there is any further information you require in the meantime, please contact me.
Please let me know if there are any other details you need. Meanwhile, I look forward to hearing from you.
I hope to hear from you in due course. Please let me know if you would like any further information about me.
I will be available to give you more detailed information at an interview, and look forward to seeing you.
See an example CV
See Viv's CV.
See an example covering letter
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