A Student's Curriculum Vitae

Photo of vivid artwork by Dublin Artist, Neil Douglas, neildouglas09@gmail.com. Courtesy of the Artist.


Why not go through this Guide to help you clarify your many skills and achievements, some of which may not have struck you previously as important?  


You have more to offer than you may know!  


Read this in conjunction with the Article,

"Interviews, Yikes!!!"


 Winter 2020 Update


Iseult Catherine O'Brien

Montessori Teacher & Supervisor  |  Volunteer Tutor with Second Level Students




See the new Section below ~



See the Section at the end of this Article ~


Outlining fundamental changes in modes of recruitment and work structures and easy access to our social media including your LinkedIn site.


Having considered this whole Article, and worked on your own Profile or Curriculum Vitae, you may choose to keep  all your CV and personal material on a separate external hard drive or pen drives.


'The résumé is dead: your next click might determine your next job' 

This piece is quoted in full in the last Section of this Article.


There is new information on the meaning to us all of the Microsoft purchase of LinkedIn, and how it affects us all, at the end of this Post under the heading:  

Forbes Tech #InTheCloud


Everyone, every publication in your hand or online, has anangle.

We need to know how the news slants, so that we can read it straight up!

Please see the Section below, on layout(s) tailored to suit you, and keeping the CV as short but information-packed as possible.  As brief as possible is best.




The examinations and some of the cultural organisations, sports, and awards, mentioned in this Post are particular to Ireland. However, the approach is applicable internationally.





This particular CV is designed for use by You, the STUDENT, of whatever age, as a personal document, to assist you in realising just how many achievements you have attained over the years, and how many activities you have been involved with, and so help you decide what you need to consider putting in your CV.  'School' is mentioned below generally, but please replace it with 'college' or 'university', as appropriate.


This is an opportunity to take time considering your progress through life to date, recalling the moments that gave you pride or satisfaction.  Not everything that comes to light shall be used directly.  However, please do not underestimate how useful an exercise this is.


We rarely get a chance to reflect on and consider our lives.  In this instance, it is not just a matter of showing your best marks, and highest achievements, you shall have the opportunity to examine your life in full.  It is inevitable that you shall discover things about yourself which you did not know on a conscious level.  Be generous to yourself with your time and input!  You can hone and polish, and so produce your unique profile from which you can produce a CV for any occasion.  You shall be more self-aware at the end of the process.


Please have a pen and paper to hand from the beginning of reading this Post - ideas may come to you as you read, which you could lose if not written down immediately.


As you apply for different types of situation, a different type of Curriculum Vitae shall be required.  Many organisations want one A4 page only.  However, you can put a link to your social media site, Facebook, LinkedIn, or a personal website.  This gives you the flexibility of offering a great deal more significant information; but only if you wish to do so.  You will probably end up with various versions of your CV to suit various situations.


Keep all your various versions, always dating them in the title as you go, as you shall probably cannibalise them when producing yet another version.


I hope the lists below are sufficiently broad-ranging, and help you to think laterally, although I am sure there are elements I have missed.  (Please let me know of omissions.)  These lists are to help you realise yourself.  The idea is that you use this Post as a prompt, to help you get your ideas organised in your mind, onto the page, and then trim them down into the tightest wording possible.  No-one wants to read two lines on an interest in the career of Klaus Kinski, however brilliant, but a brief mention of interest in international cinema is fine!


DO NOT waste money on expensive folders, covers, binding, top quality paper, or lots of colour printing for CVs you are sending by post or bringing to an interview, it is a waste of your money, and increased postal charges.  They do not impress a potential employer or educational establishment.

It often happens that a CV gets no further than a secretary's desk, filed (possibly), and unacknowledged.

Be certain to address your CV and covering letter to the person, by name, who is organising interviews for any particular position - a place in a centre of learning, an internship, or a job application.

It is very deal important to triple check your details for spelling, grammar, syntax, or punctuation errors, and make sure you have used capital letters where appropriate.  Always check the correct spelling of everyone's name, and use their correct titles ~ it looks very bad not to get such important details correct.  DO NOT rely on computer 'spell checks', they are not sophisticated enough to tell if 'discreet' or 'discrete' is correct in any sentence.  A good dictionary can be bought cheaply, second-hand, from charity shops, and the like, as more people mistakenly rely on their computers to correct errors.

A Professor of English of my acquaintance allowed three errors only in the basics listed above, on coming across a fourth, she marked a doctorate paper as a 'fail'.  She was harsher than most, but you get the importance of checking for correctness. 


Frequently, people think a CV is just for listing contact details, examination results, and hobbies.

A person has a great deal more to offer than that short list, but often is not aware of how significant other attributes, skills, and activities are, and that they should be listed also.

Especially, think about the 'unobvious'.   Examine all your interests and activities ~ those from the past, and your current ones.  You may not realise the positive impression these activities give of your personality, your breadth of interests, your dedication, level of commitment, your ability to work within a group, and an expression of your qualities of consideration, co-operation, and accommodation of others' views.

Having considered all of the various suggested lists, make a bullet point list of what you actually did or do.

Saying "I was responsible for keeping the Project within budget" does not tell if you actually succeeded in this job.  This is empty space text.  List what you actually did, and how you succeeded.  Also, brief details of when you developed successfully a project from beginning to end, on your own, should be included.

Be accurate ~ there's a big difference between "I am fluent in Spanish, both spoken and written" and "I have a working knowledge of Spanish.


Quantify your Achievements

Numbers and data bring your work experience to life.  When you can, back up your achievements with real data to boost your credibility and add informative detail to your CV.

Employers, colleges, universities, and apprenticeship boards know what they are looking for when it comes to skills and qualifications.  This is why the CV is so important: to get an interview and really stand out, you need to get in the door.




 Key skills include Teamwork, Problem-Solving and Adaptability

This Section is based largely on the article in The Irish Times of September 2019 by Colin Gleeson. I have made major additions throughout.


Human beings ‘are still going to be needed to interpret data and put nuance on things that computers are not yet able to do’.


The following applies to second-level students as much as third-level ones.  Developing the desirable skills described can be started at second-level, the earlier the better in an education career. It will result in developing a support network of fellow students through your shared interests in particular sports, arts, engaging in drama, debating, any activity that involves listening, trying to understand, displaying what you’ve understood by repeating back in your own words what the other speaker was trying to convey. Good team talks are all about listening, digesting, understanding and implementing. These skills are not just for interviews, they will be of benefit in all spheres of our lives, from persuading a plumber to come out sooner than he wants to, to improving family and personal relationships, and getting on with people in stressful situations.


While second-level or university may primarily be seen as places to secure good qualifications, you will also – maybe even unbeknownst to you – be acquiring a range of skills and talents that will be just as important when you go looking for a  college / university / apprenticeship place or a job.


These are known as “soft skills”, which are those talents that you’re not going to be able to prove you’re proficient in by simply waving a piece of paper at the interview panel across the table.

Most of the experts agree the key ones are things like communication skills, teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, adaptability, critical thinking, leadership and innovation.

Nowadays, when people are more qualified than ever for roles, you need these skills to set you apart from the crowd. 


“Soft skills are what make you easy to work with and give you the tools to grow in the job,” says GradIreland editor, Ruari Kavanagh.


“All your hard skills like computer skills, numeracy, project management, data analytics and programming are all underpinned by being able to communicate them well or being able to work in a team delivering those skills.” 


How can you go about showcasing these skills in an interview or on your CV?  Use examples.

“Work experience is vital no matter what it is,” says Kavanagh.  “It could be a Summer job.  Show what you’ve done that demonstrates these skills.

“If you haven’t worked, highlight what you’ve done in school and / or college in terms of sports, societies, associations, or anything like that.  

"Taking part in student competitions shows initiative, flexibility and that you want to lead.”


Claire McGee, head of education policy at IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation), says you should think carefully about your experiences and the things you might not initially have considered advantageous to your career prospects.

“If you participated in an Erasmus programme and went to live abroad for a year, or took part in a work placement programme, make sure you communicate those clearly,” she says.  “Try to demonstrate what you learned from that."



That’s what employers or college / university / apprenticeship interview boards are looking for.  How can current students or graduates reflect on something, take feedback on it well, and show that they are interested in learning and trying to grow themselves both professionally and personally.

“Talk about any jobs you have done, whether it be in retail or hospitality sectors.  These are all quite important elements to bring.  They show you’ve been able to deal with people, perhaps in difficult situations, and in pressurised environments.


 “If you are involved in clubs or do volunteer work, that’s incredibly important to bring forward because it shows how you’ve been spending your time outside of academics.”


McGee says soft skills are becoming more and more important, but are also “incredibly difficult to master”.  Apart from the obvious ones, she says curiosity about the way things work is a good one to try to demonstrate.

“Large organisations are changing and the jobs of the future haven’t been invented yet,” she says.  

Companies love graduates / candidates with new ideas and new experiences.  Look for ways to highlight how you came up with something new to make things better.

 “A strong degree of curiosity is important.  Are you interested in people, and finding out more about them and how that relates to you?  Also, are you curious about the world and how we all operate within that?

“Regardless of what type of degree or other qualification(s) you have attained, it’s using that technical knowledge with these types of skills.  If you have a degree in mechanical engineering, how do you couple that with your project management and communication skills?

Bringing together your technical knowledge you learned throughout your studies to degree, or other qualifications, and then marrying that with the more personal, leadership-style qualities.



Ruth Leonard, Senior Director at recruitment website Indeed, believes you should tailor the soft skills you list on your CV to the particular role for which you are applying.

“For instance, someone applying for a role as a social worker may want to highlight their empathy and ability to communicate, as those are soft skills crucial to that role,” she says.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation promise wholesale change across sectors, and the changing needs of the workplace are such that far greater emphasis is now placed on an ability to cultivate a workforce with a significant soft skills capability.

As Mike McDonagh, Managing Director of Hays Recruitment, puts it, humans “are still going to be needed to interpret data and put nuance on things that computers are not yet able to do”.

Emma Scott, PwC Ireland, People Partner, says soft skills are what provide “the human difference” to interactions.  “AI may automate some tasks, but it can’t replace the human capabilities needed for so many roles,” she says.

So, is it possible to acquire or work on these skills, given their somewhat abstract nature?  Leonard says soft skills are highly valued because “they can be difficult to teach and are often inherent to our personality”.

That being said, it is possible.  “For example, you may find that an employer wants someone skilled in conflict resolution,” she says.  “While you may not be naturally skilled in that area, there are ways to learn.

Soft skills may be seen as "difficult to teach" but if one is taking part in school / college activities, keeping up with outside interests, trying things out to see if you like them, and making a conscious effort to join a range of clubs in school or college, you will be picking up the necessary skills to get along with others, to learn when to give an opinion and when to stay quiet, and how to be supportive of others going through a difficult patch.

One also learns how to ask for help and to become aware of when others may need it.

You'll find different ways of behaving, and even the type of language used differs depending on the group, for example being on a camoige team versus a debating team. Learn all the ways possible to understand situations and to express yourself when you think it's required.

“You can begin by researching and reading up on best practice in conflict resolution.  Find someone successful in that area and mimic his / her methods.  What kind of language do they use?  Do they conduct meetings in person rather than by email?”

Scott believes it is “absolutely possible” to acquire or improve soft skills.  The best way to do this would be through school or college work, she says.  Students could use school or college projects to develop and improve their time management and teamwork skills.

“They can also look beyond the education system to their interests, community activities, hobbies, whether that is travelling, sport, music or whatever they are passionate about.  It is really about looking at how to make the most out of opportunities as they present themselves.”




Access to Our On-line Information & Activity


There is a very important development in the information potential employers, and others, are able to access about us all, and thus by-passing the long-standing system of advertising a position, and choosing possible candidates for interview from the CVs and covering letters received, which is changing recruitment fundamentally.


One of the consequences is that we shall have to be even more vigilant in relation to allowing access to our information when clicking "I Agree" on a contract at the end of many pages on-screen of nearly illegibly small text when buying or leasing new software or updates.  


Bearing this in mind, you would use it to your advantage by making sure you have noted all your achievements and laudable activities on your social media site, even if in brief bullet points, in very small font, and keeping updating it as you achieve more.


Please see the Section of this Article - 








Name and Contact Details

You should NOT be using four lines to list your name, address, email, home and mobile number.


Use the width of the page to your best advantage.  If you can produce a short document, while including all necessary information, and your stellar achievements, you will have proven in your CV you can think cogently, and write with economy and precision.


Potential interviewers read too much bumph, and sigh when a four page, double-sided CV arrives.  Do them and you the favour of keeping your CV presentation comprehensive and short!


Especially in a one-page or email CV, remove your postal address, unless it is stated as required information, condense your name, phone number, and email to one line ~ you will save valuable space.  Please see the Section below, SUGGESTED LAYOUT FOR YOUR CURRICULUM VITAE.  


People who read your CV shall have read thousands, and do not need every detail explained. They will be aware of major awards, scholarships, etc, so a mere mention is all that is required.


Please be aware, in an informal conversation, or at a formal interview, you are NOT obliged to mention if you are married, OR in any kind of relationship, OR your sexual orientation.  NEITHER are you required to say if you have any children OR plan to have children.  You are NOT required to give your date of birth (except in relation to age requirements for some jobs because of insurance cover issues  ie,  being over 18 years of age), OR mention any religious or political affiliations.  Interviewers are restricted by law from asking questions on these matters.  YOUR PRIVATE LIFE IS JUST THAT.


Be very careful about including connection to your Facebook page, or any of your other social media platforms.  There can be personal, photographic, and other information on these that you may not wish potential employers or educational establishments to see.  If you do plan to add your Facebook or similar social media, please check through it with a very critical eye, and make any deletions or changes you think advisable BEFORE sending off an application, or taking up an opportunity of an interview.


Given how many people apply for each position available, checking through potential candidates' social media pages is a frequently used method of reducing the number of people for consideration. 


 Make sure your site does not deny you an opportunity!








You shall need to carry out some research to get names and dates correct, and to remember what happened in what appears to be an unexpected gap or two in your timeline.  Any old class diaries or personal diaries would be useful sources.  Not only could they give you facts you need, they could also spark memories of projects in which you were engaged, that you really enjoyed, and in which you did well.  If you still have blanks, ask former classmates and members from your various groups and teams, what they can remember from a specific period.  


(If, for any reason, you had a longish period of absence from school, approach an approachable teacher or the Career Guidance Officer to get help with managing it.)


Much of this information will not see the light of day, but the exercise in researching your own achievements is useful for boosting your confidence, and any nugget of information may be of use as an example in an interview situation.  These nuggets make you memorable.

 It is a good idea to mention an activity or particular project which you enjoyed.  It gives the reader a clue to your personality.  Plus, of course, enjoying work makes one more attentive to it!

Starting with the most recent and work back, and dating the periods you attended any schools etc, give the official name of the school(s), college(s), academies, plus email details for Year Tutor, or Head Teacher / Principal (use the correct title for each school).  The full official name of the establishment and a relevant contact email address, or the website address, are sufficient information.

Fit in your extra curricula pastimes by date, as this would help a reader of your CV grasp your level of activity at any given period.






Do you have a full, clean, driving licence?

List any achievements in individual competition, for example ~ boxing, handball,  judo, karate, swimming, chess, snooker, pool, bridge, billiards, gaming, BMX, singing, acting, backgammon, water sports, gymnastics, model building, skiing, athletics, photography, creative writing, poetry, or journalism, creative design, film or video work.

Also list being chosen for group activities such as a GAA, camoige, football, rowing, boxing, basketball, cricket, rugby, or any team, and mention if you ever were, or are, a captain or vice-captain of any team or group, both within the School and outside the School. Mention if any of your teams entered competitions, which should be listed, and say how far your team got in the competitions. 'Taking part' is always considered very important, so never leave out a competition just because you did not win!

Mention if you were ever awarded the title “Outstanding Player”, “Outstanding Effort”, “Most Improved”, for any games or other activities you take part in.


Mention if you are, or ever have been, a member of Scouting Ireland, the Sea Scouts, Girl Guides, or other such organisations. List badges you have earned, and the positions of responsibility you have held, plus any volunteer work you do / did with your Organisation.  Keep this very short, with bullet points and a small font.


Are you a member of the Reserve Defence Forces?  Give your length of service and rank, and any details of specific service with the Regulars, at home or overseas, which would show your leaderships skills, initiative, and other attributes.  Display your knowledge of what it is to rely on your comrades, and they on you, in dangerous situations.  A Letter of Reference from your Commanding Officer would be gold!

Have you ever been a member of the Red Cross / Order of Malta / St John’s Ambulance Corps? What rank have you attained?  Have you attended matches or concerts, and other events, in one of the above capacities?  Have in mind, for an interview, a detail of an incident where you showed a cool head and leadership, or used your skills to work on an injured person while waiting for an ambulance.  This would be a nugget!


Were you nominated for the President's "Gaisge" Awards?  Did you receive an Award?  Give brief details.


List achievements attained by you in a personal capacity and / or as part of a team, connected with your School, or with any other organisation.  ‘Young Person of the Year Award’, etc.  Outline why you were so honoured.   Keep it brief.


Name any award(s) you received, as voted for by your classmates, for example, ‘Outstanding Class Member’, marking you out as an especially helpful, caring, and considerate class member.   An award given by your peers is particularly significant, as they know you best, and so such an award is extremely valuable and important.


Also mention if you are, or ever have been, a member of the School Debating Team, or if you are part of a School activity, such as the Choir (for example singing at Communion and Confirmation or other Religious Ceremonies for School students or the local community), or a Band, or Drama Group: mention if you have ever performed in public, when and where.  List any reviewers, or published reviews or critiques you received.   Keep it pithy!


Mention if you ever entered the ‘BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition’, ‘Foróige’ games, “Feiseanna”, etc, or any other national and local competitions.


Taking part, the effort required, and giving up your personal time to enter such competitions, is highly regarded.  

Always mention competitions you have entered, even if you did not make it to the podium.  Taking part is an indication of your ability to commit to a project, and to work alone or 

Mention if you are, or ever have been voted for as a Class Representative, or onto the Student Council.

Are you interested in any type of social action, environmental issues, equality issues, animal welfare?  List, if you wish to, if you are a member of Amnesty International Ireland, St Vincent de Paul, the Simon Community, or any such welfare or charitable organisation, and mention if you volunteer with any of them.  Some of us like to keep our lives compartmentalised, and there is no need for you give all information about yourself.

Please do NOT mention membership or support of any particular political party, or support for a political issue with a big P.  This is not to stifle your self-expression, but to avoid possibily antagonising a potential interviewer.  In any case, your political beliefs are your own business.

In the case of Amnesty International Ireland, some members become involved in petitioning and letter writing to and on behalf of Prisoners of Conscience, please mention this, only if you wish to, keeping it brief.

Have you ever ridden and / or cared for horses or ponies? Did you enter any competitions or win any prizes?


If you help, or have ever helped, train children or young people, list the name and address of the group / team, and give the name(s) of the supervisor / coach, plus give brief details of the training you undertook, and name it, if a recognised style of learning was used.  

You may have gained qualifications without being aware of this.  You may have had to get a Garda Clearance before becoming involved in working with children, young people, or vulnerable members of society.  Be sure to mention your Garda Clearance ~ this is proof of your clean record.

Also, if you have ever volunteered in any capacity, officially or unofficially, for any length of time, mention the organisation and what you did for it, naming a supervisor(s), and contact details, having got permission.

Do you have a Red Cross / Order of Malta / St John’s Ambulance First Aid Certificate?

Have you done a CPR course?

Have you done a Fire Safety course?

Do you have Swimming / Life Guard qualifications?

Have you been trained to use a Defibrillator?


What other thoughts do you have for addition to this section?




 Work does NOT have to involve being paid.


If you help an elderly neighbour regularly by mowing his lawn, or collect shopping for another neighbour, or do any neighbourly acts for family and locals, make sure to mention them. Do you shovel snow off the footpath for your family and your neighbours? 


Do you get a neighbour's house keys in order to feed the family cat and make sure the water bowl is kept fresh, and any other related jobs, while the family goes on holidays ~ consider it.  You do realise that this family has confidence in your diligence that you will care for their beloved cat for the holidays, know you are trustworthy enough to have free access to their entire house and all their belongings, and won't have a party there while they are away.  These people are showing considerable trust and confidence in you and believe you to be a reliable person.  That's a considerable vote for you.  Now, think about other jobs / chores you undertake and consider in what light they show you bearing in mind the above.

You might be quite surprized!


If you take part, in any way, in the “Tidy Towns” Competition as a volunteer, or do any work in a Youth Club, outline your contributions very briefly.


Mention briefly if you have ever worked at childcare (which would also involve looking after members of your own family, as well as others), worked in a shop, or filling station, during school holidays or at weekends, list the official names, for example, 'Walsh's Supervalu Churchtown, Dublin' plus email details, having asked first for permission to use them.


Have you ever taken a neighbour’s dog for walks, or fed, washed, groomed, and taken care of neighbours’ cats and dogs when they went on holidays, or if the weather was too cold for the neighbour to go out?


Do you / did you work with any member of your family, or friend of the family, on a casual basis?

List responsibilities carried out, for example, dealing with customers and / or suppliers, taking payments and giving change, being in charge of the till, counting takings, stock keeping ~ keeping any products or materials topped up.


Think carefully about all the things you do, or have done, and consider how you could include these activities in your list of contributions to your community.


These are all positions of responsibility and care, where people have displayed trust in your abilities, and in your integrity. 








Cinema ~ Give a list of your favourite films, film directors, actors and actresses, and the types or genres of film you like best.  Be ready to discuss what going to the cinema and what films mean to you.


Favourite Sports / Teams ~ Participation and viewing.  Give a list, including the sports you play, your most admired athletes: if you attend games or matches, possibly supporting a local or national team.  Mention if you are a member of a supporters’ club, be ready to describe the highs and lows, and the benefits, of watching and / or playing.


Music - Do you enjoy music?  Do you play any instruments?   Do you play in a band?  If yes to any of these, talk about the pleasure you get from playing, and if you have passed any music exams, list them here and under ACHIEVEMENTS and QUALIFICATIONS.  List the music artists you admire, why, their influence on your work, and mention some of their works.  Have you ever performed in public ~ be it at a School Concert or a 'Battle of the Bands'?    Be ready to say what was it like?  

Be ready to speak concisely on your engagement in music.


Arts and Drama - If you are interested in Arts or Drama, give details of the plays you have seen, your favourite playwrights: plays in which you took part ~ list the play, author and the part you played.  If you worked on the scenery or behind the scenes, including costumes and acting as prompter, also mention that, and describe what is involved. Mention any roles you may have had in advertisements, television and film productions; describe the experience and what you learnt about the process.  An interest in the visual arts, including painting, sculpture, installations, photography, street art, should be mentioned.  Name some of your favourite visual artists, and why you admire them be ready to discuss their appeal to you.


If you take part in any of these artistic pursuits, mention it, and be ready to describe the process and the sense of achievement. Include the name of any Arts, Drama, Photography, etc, club(s) of which you are a member.


Literature Who are your favourite authors, and why?  What genres of books do you enjoy most?  List some your favourite books, saying what you enjoy about them, and what you admire in the writing styles.  Do you write?  Have you submitted work to School magazines or any other publications?  Have you entered work in local or national competitions?  If you have been published, be ready to talk about how it felt to see your work in print.  

One never knows the interests of an interviewer, so if you list Literature, be ready to discuss, and show knowledge of authors, styles, eras, fiction and non-fiction.


Gaming Are you interested in gaming, and do you compete?  If yes, list your highest scores in various games, and the sense of achievement you experienced.  Do not mention that you play to 04.00 some mornings, over night.

Please do NOT mention gambling, either online or otherwise, this is NOT a Pastime, it is a habit.  Currently, people are being turning down for mortgages and loans because they have debits on their account(s) to gambling companies.  Be careful.


Are you a member of a faith group?  Do you take part in religious ritual that you are happy to tell other people about? For example, in a Church Choir, or work in the Community.  This may be another matter you choose to keep to yourself.


List any other interests. Do you collect rare stamps ~ for example, have you ever made a spectacular purchase for a low price, based on your indepth knowledge and keen eye?  Are you interested in ornithology or astronomy? 


One never knows what might click with an interviewer!





Think about your life carefully, and what parts of it are particularly meaningful to you.


If an interest is unusual, all the better.  Everything that helps spark interest in you on the part of educational institutions or potential employers, will help make you memorable.

Your interests are integral parts of your life, and so belong in your Curriculum Vitae ~ Latin for the Course of Life.

You are endeavouring to show the reader(s) of your Curriculum Vitae that you are an active, interested, engaged, sociable, and socially aware young person; possibly carrying out voluntary work; following sporting or other activities; outside your School, as well as with your School, or whatever your current situation is.

Ask family, friends, and teachers, to make suggestions as to your positive attributes, or skills you have, and to recall some of your outstanding achievements, contributions to school projects, or incidents of taking on the responsibility of helping other students.  Very few of us can see ourselves with 20 / 20 Vision.  You may be pleasantly surprised at the suggestions and memories people come up with.

Going into deep details listing your experiences, achievements, contributions, attributes, etc, is NOT A WASTE OF TIME. You need to recall all these facts about yourself in order to give your CV a unique, personal, slant. When you are on top of your information, the CV you produce will be a segment of you ~ and very memorable!

This is your opportunity to show off your unique life experiences, and how you have benefited from them, or overcome them.  List a personal project you may have taken on and how you found managing all the elements.  List your strengths, skills, achievements, and attributes, along with your passions, general interests and pastimes.  


Do not be shy, if you know it is true, put it down.

No-one else can write about you with such a deep knowledge of you.




Photo of vibrant painting by Dublin artist, Neil Douglas, neildouglas09@gmail. Courtesy of the Artist.




REFEREES are ~ People who have agreed to speak to your good character, if contacted by someone to whom you have given their names, with permission.  For example, to an educational establishment you would like to attend, or for a job interview, or a society, group, or organisation you wish to join.



Name of Head Coach, of any team to which you belong or belonged, in and out of School: name of Scout Leader, or Leader / Sensei of a hiking or martial arts or boxing club:  names of Drama and Music coaches.  Always include email or phone contact details.  Only give phone details if email details are not available.  Again, ask for permission first.

Think about people who know you outside your sporting, artistic, and other activities.  Is there someone highly regarded in your community who knows you, and would be happy to act as a Referee on your behalf?   Is there a teacher in your School who knows you well, and would be happy to recommend you? 


Unless you ask, you will not get Referees!


LETTERS OF REFERENCE ~ Try to get Letters of Reference from any of the above, and anyone you consider of good standing, whose opinion is worth having. 

These Letters would be addressed “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”, and you should always keep the originals, and only send copies with applications to colleges, universities, education centres, or with a job or any type of application.

Letters of Reference are particularly useful, and you should try to get them from people while you are still working / volunteering with them or for them, as frequently, with passing time, people are less inclined to make the effort, and are also less likely to remember all the work you put in.


Getting the Best Possible Letter of Reference

To make it more likely that you get a useful, relevant, and satisfactory Letter of Reference, I suggest you note down the following pieces of information to give to your employer, former employer, or volunteer supervisor ~ whichever is appropriate ~ in a typed-up version or via email, to make it easier for him or her to prepare the best possible Letter for you.  You will pretty much write it yourself, and the Referee may well make the odd change, and perhaps add an unforeseen compliment, or acknowledge a skill or attribute you had not seen in yourself.

 People are busy, and the more bother a non-urgent job is to the company / group / club, the longer it will hang about in the"Things I really must do when I get a spare moment" pile.

Therefore, the more information you give to your employer / former employer / supervisor, clearly laid out, the less work he or she would have to put into preparing your Letter, thus making it much likelier to happen.

(i) Give your full name, address, and other contact details.

(ii) Give start and end dates of when you worked / volunteered with this person / company / club etc, mentioning how many hours a week you worked / volunteered, or on what days you worked / volunteered,  or if your involvement is on-going, whichever is appropriate.

(iii) Outline the work you carried out or still carry out, stressing responsibilities you were / are required to meet, expertise you brought to the job, skills you gained, commendations you received.

(iv) Mention the name of the person to whom you reported, or still report, or who was your supervisor: list people who may have reported to you, or who you supervised.

(v) Mention any promotion or expansion of your responsibilities, which would indicate the trust and confidence your employer / supervisor has or had in your skills and integrity.

(vi) Be clear in your details of your attendance levels, punctuality record, having always following through on assignments to a satisfactory completion, and mention any other examples of reliability you showed working with this person / company, etc.  This Section will have to be managed by you, so that you give correct information, while showing yourself in the best possible light.

(vii) Request details of the full name, position held (if relevant) of your employer / supervisor, name of company / group / club, etc, postal address, email address, and mobile number of the signatory, be included in the Letter.

Do not be afraid to ask for a Letter of Reference.

You deserve it!







As mentioned briefly above, you need to get as much relevant information into your CV as possible, using the smallest amount of text.  You want to keep your information tight, but retain a decent sized margin and spacing, so that the document does not look cramped and unattractive, or done by a crazy person.


Trial and Error 

Having read through the lists above, you should have a good idea of your strengths, achievements, and honours.  Do not worry about getting your CV perfect at the first few attempts.  As you read it through repeatedly, you will find ways to edit and shorten it, and to excise repetition of words. Try to avoid clichés.  Below are some mistakes to avoid.


(i) According to Tina Nicolai, (underlined text) founder of Résumé Writers' Ink, the most common mistakes made in CV composition arise from 'sloppiness' ~  typographical errors, unprofessional fonts, outdated and irrelevant information.  These give a very poor impression of the candidate, and really irritate the readers.

(ii) Summaries that turn into paragraphs, written in a very formal tone, are time and space wasting; and not engaging, as they do not allow the reader get a real sense of the applicant's personality.

(iii) Please leave out slang, firstly because it is not 'proper English' in the context of a formal document, and I have noticed a harmless piece of slang in one place, can be extremely offensive elsewhere.  Avoid  jargon such as  "track record", "outside the box," "a team player," "pushing the envelope" and "exceptional communicator".  They show a lack of creativity, lazy thinking, and become dated very fast.

(iv) I believe sticking rigidly to a downloaded CV template is a mistake, if it does not let you highlight your personality and, most importantly, highlight your achievements, and is quickly spotted as such by interviewers.   Use one as a guide when starting, but always feel free to experiment, and make your CV easy to read and reflect your personality.


Keeping Costs Down

It is best to use inexpensive white paper for your printed CV.  Some people have difficulties reading print on yellow and pale blue paper, amongst other colours.  Choose a clear, clean, font.  Have a look through quality newspapers and business magazines to help you choose a no-nonsense font - experiement until you are satisfied.  It is best to use black, or at the least an extremely dark navy, for your body text, for the best clarity and contrast.  If you wish to use colour for headings (which is a very good way to save space and add life to your document), choose strong, bold, colours, and choose two to four at a maximum ~ possibly using separate colours to break up the sections of your CV, and making it easy to read.  You may wish to use RED for Personal details; GREEN for Education; BLUE for Achievements and Qualifications, and ORANGE for  Interests and Pastimes.


YOU DO NOT need to use heavyweight, expensive paper.  If you use a folder and heavy paper for your CV, your postal costs would be greater, as you would then need to use an A4 envelope ~ much more expensive than standard size business envelopes, which also take a standard national or international stamp. 


You should also save a good deal of time and bother, as you would buy your stamps in bulk, and would not have to visit the Post Office regularly, to have an unknown weight A4 envelope weighed. Using kitchen scales can be hit or miss. 


Posting a CV which costs the recipient excess postage charges, is not a good start to your hoped for relationship!


Play with your Options

Use your imagination, and play with the Header and Footer possibilities on your laptop or computer.  Perhaps you could put

Curriculum Vitae | Mary Kelly I Email MRK@ | f MRKelly

or, more or different information, in your Header.


You could use the Footer for significant highlights, such as

2017 Gold President "Gaisge" Award | "Student of the Year 2019"

or use the Footer for further contact details, website address, etc.

Having covered your personal and contact details plus, possibly, your personal highlights to date, you can consider the layout of the body of your document.


In the body of the document you should start with your education, most recent first, with relevant dates all the way.  A judicious use of bold and plain texts, upper and lower cases, colours, colons and semi-colons, and columns with bullet points, can really help keep your text tight.  The following is just a suggested layout.  I have made up names of grades and exams, just to be used as examples.



(2012-2018) St Mary's Secondary School: Email JJ@gmail.com: Principal Dr JJ Quinn.  2017 LEAVING CERTIFICATE; Honours English B*; Irish B; History A; Art History A*; Economic Studies C*; Mathematics B:  Pass Geography B*; Social Studies A*; Home Economics B*.

[There may be circumstances where all the information required would be: 2018 LEAVING CERTIFICATE results six Honours, and three Passes.]


(2005-2011) Pope John Paul's National School: Email McN@gmail.com:  Head Teacher Ms M McNamara.  2015 JUNIOR CERTIFICATE; Honours English A*; Irish A; History A*; Home Economics B; Mathematics B*: Pass Art & Art History A*; Economic Studies A.



 (2019) Passed National Driving Test.

(2017) Gold President's "Gaisge" Award for Fundraising Achievements (name charity or organisation, and how much was raised).

(2016) "Student of the Year" as voted by fellow students.

(2015) FETAC Level 4 Honours "Care of the Special Child" (St Mary's Social Club).


If you have been very successful in a particular pastime or skill, it would make sense to list your achievements with bullet points in two columns across the page, using a smaller font that the main text. If you have represented your Country in any activity, make sure to mention it prominently.   Choose your heading for each section and line up your achievements under each relevant heading.




(2017) Winner Dublin Area "Teenage Creative Writer of the Year" (sponsored by the ESB).


(2016) Silver Medal, Under 15 "BT Young Scientist and Technology Awards".


(2017) Rep of Ireland Team Member, European Junior Boxing Championships, Seville, Spain.  (2016) Gold Medallist, All-Ireland, Junior Bantam Weight Championships.  (2015) Gold Medallist, Dublin Schools Girls Junior Bantam Weight Division.


(2005-2014) Student at JP Cusack School of Drama. (2013) Cast member of the Gaiety Theatre Christmas Pantomime.  (2014-2015) Cast extra on RTÉ award winning television series, 'LOVE/HATE'.


Please view the above as examples only.  Unfortunately, I am unable to set up double columns with bullet points with this software.  Otherwise, the Boxing career may have been even more impressive!

Place your FULL NAME, in bold print, at the bottom of your CV. Sign your name in a space above, including the day's date, when you are happy with it, and ready to post it or bring it to an interview.



Every time you plan to send a CV with a covering letter in response to an advertisement (you need to include a covering letter in response to advertisements in print media or on national or local radio, etc, to state where you saw the advertisement or heard of the  position or apprentice / trainee opportunity mentioned.  People like to know, for budgeting purposes, which of the media used was most successful at attracting the highest numbers and / or best quality applicants), or as a 'cold call' to any business, society, group, organisation.

You need to 'save as' the your most recent CV with the current date, and then read through it very slowly, editing carefully, keeping the key points of the skills, qualifications and experiences required beside you.  Remove any activities or pastimes you feel are utterly irrelevant, or reduce them to a mere mention.  Beef up sections that are specifically relevant, and always include the name(s) and contact details of your various Referees who would be most useful to you for this particular application.

You should find out as much as possible about the company for which you will be interviewing.  Do they have a 'green' policy?  If yes, mention your work with Greenpeace, 'The Tidy Towns', or any relevant organisation.

Many companies sponsor anything from the local GAA / football club, major, nationwide Art competitions, or general involvement in the local community.  Make sure you know if the job you are applying for is with such a company and make sure to mention you know about it and make a connection, where possible, with your own activities.


After an interview, even if you feel it didn't go well, a handwritten note to the interview co-ordinator thanking him / her for the opportunity of the interview is a stand-out, personal, touch.  It gets you remembered, and it may come in useful at a later time.



The Conclusion to Your Efforts

All of this self-analysis and co-ordinating of information on achievements, skills, experiences, connections made; interests, hobbies, clubs and memberships; a member of the Reserve Defence Forces perhaps, as well as carrying on study or a job; membership of the Red Cross or Order of Malta, or any voluntary or charitable organisation; and all the data on medals, cups, plaques, championships, exhibitions competed for, and some won, will become your Profile quite apart from any CV.   


The above is what potential employers, educational establishments, charities, and voluntary organisations will want to know, to find out if you are the person they want - and they can get that information without having to ask you.


Variations of above, including your family make-up gathered from online browsing and purchasing, and so gauging your spending power and predicting choices; you and your family's tastes in everything from literature to lemon squeezers, will be what online and telephone vendors want to know.   They don't have to ask you either.


If we want to live in the 21st Century, with the many benefits of the World Wide Web, we have to decide if being all in is worth the price paid in surrendering privacy.  Please see below.


Best of Luck!





Photo of vivid artwork by Dublin Artist, Neil Douglas, neildouglas09@gmail.





Outlining fundamental changes in modes of recruitment and work structures.


Please read this Section closely, especially bearing in mind your current habits of updating your news and activities on your social media.  You may be surprized by how much people know or can find out about you. 


We need to take care of our personal information.


Quotes from Tim Dunlop's article in The Guardian newspaper, a British publication, are listed below, and are about the now for some businesses and organisations, and the near future; his thoughts have to be considered carefully.

I receive unsolicited job / interview offers; offers of training and futher education; offers of books, publications, and music; plus offers of subscriptions to join cultural or educational clubs / groups; all related, more or less, to my work experience, training, online buying choices, and browsing.  

This started on my LinkedIn site around the beginning of March 2017,  and I wondered why I was suddenly bombarded daily with scores of advertisements, invitations, and notices ~ which I found intrusive, and showing a knowledge of me I was unaware of sharing consciously online, and which made me very uncomfortable.  


The following will tell you how and why, and it does make one think!




"The résumé is dead: your next click might determine your next job 

By Tim Dunlop (The Guardian)

[Downloaded  he Guardian online edition.]


".... Increasingly, the traditional CV and interview are being abandoned as firms use new forms of data aggregation to find employees.  This new field of recruitment, dubbed workforce science (my italics), is based on the idea that the data individuals create while doing things online can be harvested and interpreted and to provide a better idea of a person’s suitability than traditional methods.


"Whereas in the past employers might have been impressed with the school you went to, practitioners of workforce science are encouraging them to prioritise other criteria.  A New York Times article on the topic noted: “Today, every email, instant message, phone call, line of written code and mouse-click leaves a digital signal.  These patterns can now be inexpensively collected and mined for insights into how people work and communicate, potentially opening doors to more efficiency and innovation within companies”.


"Organisations including Knack and TalentBin are providing companies with information that, they claim, better matches people to jobs.  Peter Kazanjy, the chief executive of TalentBin, explained to Business Insider Magazine: 'Résumés are actually curious constructs now because, for the most part, work and our work product is fundamentally digital'. 


"Sometimes you don’t even need [résumés].  The reality of what somebody is and what they do … is already resident on their hard drive or their Evernote or their box.net account or their Dropbox cloud.”


"The very nature of this sort of recruitment suggests that employees are being sought on the basis of particular skills or aptitudes to engage in specific projects, rather than criteria that used to apply when firms hired people for a lifetime.  To grasp this aspect of the changing nature of work, look no further than LinkedIn.


"For many, LinkedIn is that strange website somewhere between a social media platform and an online repository of CVs, and it sort of is.  Nonetheless, in June 2016 Microsoft purchased it for $26bn.



"Well, for a couple of reasons.  First, it generates about $3bn annually in revenue, most of which comes from corporate subscriptions to LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions database, a tool that allows employers to find staff.


"Second, LinkedIn is a huge repository of information about workers and the skills they have.  It is a platform where people can talk to each other about work, advertise their talents, exchange information about their fields of interest and expertise, and communicate privately.


"For Microsoft to be able to integrate this immense repository of saleable data and work-related communications with the enterprise software they already own – from Skype to Office Suite to, in particular, their customer relations management tools – makes a lot of sense.


"But here’s the key: as the analyst Ben Thompson argues, LinkedIn also allows Microsoft to refocus on individual users – employees (my italics) – rather than companies.  LinkedIn thus becomes the platform where individuals store their work personas in a searchable, communicable form, which endures across a lifetime of work, where a person’s employer changes regularly.  The rise of this sort of platform therefore suggests a lot more than the simple fact that employers are using new tools to find employees.  It is showing us that the nature of work is changing.


"That is to say, for all this to make any sense, the assumption has to be that the work of the future is increasingly going to be not full-time employment with a couple of companies across a lifetime, but a constant shifting from contract to contract.  It is to assume that contingent work – part-time, short-term, self-employed – is likely to become the norm, rather than the aberration it is often portrayed as today.


"The evidence of this change is already accumulating in employment data.  More than half the jobs created in the European Union since 2010 have been offered as short-term contracts; in Australia, since 2013, two-thirds of the new jobs have been part-time; in the US, 40% of all work is now classified as contingent.


The Stories You Need to Read

"By itself, Microsoft’s $26bn gamble on the changing nature of employment might not be proof of anything: the Company has made bad investments in the past.  But it is an indication of where some pretty serious players think work is heading.  It suggests that “bring back the jobs” is not the easy solution that some would have us believe.  It suggests that throwing up barriers to trade and immigration are knee-jerk responses that ignore the structural transformation we are already in the midst of.


"It also means that the argument about whether or not robots will take our jobs is the wrong argument.  The more important point is that humans are going to be in on-going competition with machines, whether you are an accountant competing with software like Xero, or a fast-food worker competing with robotic chefs.  This is going to affect the hours we work, the pay we receive, and the sorts of job we do. (My italics.)


"For humans to thrive in such an environment – this new environment of which recruitment is a leading indicator – we will need to rethink drastically all aspects of our economy; from education through to social welfare, through to retirement.  


The sooner we start that rethink, the better."





The following important and informative email was received, unsolicited, by me.


Sent by Lisa Rangel,  lisa.rangel@chameleonresumes.com via infusionmail.com, who identifies herself at the end of the email as follows  "a 10-time Certified Resume Writer, Job Search Consultant, Former Recruiter & LinkedIn Premium Career Group Moderator." (My underlining.)

I quote the email in full to ensure that the whole feel of it is clear to you.  I have introduced colour for headings and text to make it easier to read.  I believe this is the type of information we should be aware of, and bear in mind every time we add to or make changes to all our social media, including LinkedIn.

"Recruiters can review your background without you knowing.

That may seem obvious and not alarm you.

Did you know recruiters can also download your LinkedIn profile information into their database without your permission?

"And what if the information about you they download, and subsequently use to evaluate you, is outdated or even no longer accurate?

"Would this raise your eyebrow?


"How does this happen?

"Recruiters use systems that have the ability to download your LinkedIn profile information at anytime into their applicant databases.


"There are various ways to do this.

"LinkedIn has started to limit access to prevent companies from scraping member data from LinkedIn to populate their databases - but where there is a will there is a way.

"And there is a will, so downloading member information into databases still happens.

"So, if your current LinkedIn Profile was downloaded into a company database, would the information accurately represent your background up to this point?


"Does your profile say what you want it to say about you?

"Or would what is downloaded about you be outdated or even inaccurate at this point?

"Would the information no longer represent you as you want to be represented?


"This is important to care about, even if you are not looking for a job.

"You should care what your LinkedIn profile says because it can be used to evaluate you AT ANY TIME.

"When you look impressive, even when you are not looking for a job, is when recruiters call you out of the blue with a great job trying to recruit you.

"Wouldn't this be cool?

 "When your profile is outdated and / or inaccurate, you are passively evaluated on this outdated / inaccurate information.


"Is that what you want?

"Then care about your LinkedIn profile content.

"Always be promoting your wins.

"Attend my next no-cost "How to Create Your LinkedIn Profile to Generate 6-Figure Job Interviews Faster" training and get your profile up to speed to look the part.

"Here is the link to grab your seat: https://lisarangel.lpages.co/linkedin-profile-webinar-09-2017-1/

"See you there!



"Copyrighted & published by Chameleon Resumes LLC Chameleon Resumes ® LLC - A Forbes Top 100 Career Website 10-time Certified Resume Writer, Job Search Consultant, Former Recruiter & LinkedIn Premium Career Group Moderator."




We Have to Learn to Discern, and like any Good Reporter would, Check our Sources!


The above is all part of the work / life future each of us shall have to negotiate.  Information is our best weapon to keep ourselves relevant in the jobs market, and to know where to source unbiased facts.  

We also have to become even more savvy about what we read, and what we choose to believe is true, propaganda, advertorials, or material  broadcast, over many media, by some the the enormous media conglomerates owned by Rupert Murdoch and the Fox Media agenda, for example.

Material gleaned from Facebook other social media platforms  may be someone's personal opinion, copied many times, and seeming to have morphed into 'fact' through the various changes.  If you want News / Current Affairs you need to check the content of a few newspapers of note, of differing viewpoint, either in print versions or online as a subscription.  If an article has a named correspondent or reporter, whom you can check on for possible awards or commendations received, you can be confident that the information contained has been checked.  The viewpoint drawn from the information may be the personal view of the journalist, or possibly the Media Group for which he or she writes.

Best of Luck!



Please let me know what you think of this Post; if it was helpful, and how it could be improved.

If you see any errors, typographical or factual, or if you disagree with any of my ideas, or if you have ideas to improve this Post, I should be very glad to hear from you.


Thanks to Dublin artist, Neil Douglas, at neildouglas09@gmail.comfor kindly letting me use copies of his vivid, uplifting, paintings.






If I quote a person, group, organisation, or establishment, I do my very best to source the material quoted, and to attribute it properly.  If I cannot satisfy myself I have found the author or speaker who voiced a quote, I resist using it, no matter how tasty a bite!  If I refer in passing to views expressed by others, I attribute the views even if they have not been given verbatim in the text.  


I work on a basis of goodwill and good intentions.  I shall make errors, being human, and when I do, I apologise now, and should always welcome a correction, which I would insert in the relevant Post prominently, in clear unambiguous text and type, repeating the apology. That's is the best I can do!