Key Points:

Getting the all-important CV right is crucial if you want to be invited to a job interview - you have to go beyond the obvious of listing a string of job titles and bring something extra to the party.

Tom O'Neil, managing director of www.cv.co.nz, says Tiger Woods could say on his CV that his occupation is a golfer, and as such he hits balls into small holes for a living, but that wouldn't get him a job as a golfer.

"That doesn't sell Tiger Woods," says O'Neil. "In fact, that description could be me. And that is the problem people have when they write their CVs. They state the obvious when they should be showing progression and achievement.

"Woods would put on his CV he is the world's number one money earner when it comes to golf - that's what sets him apart from other golfers.

"A modern CV should really focus on how the job hunter can add value to a company by showing their achievements and successes.

"So when it comes to someone, such as a loan officer at a bank, they should not state the obvious that they help people get loans. Instead they should promote the extra things they have achieved, done or been involved in at the bank."

O'Neil says the CV needs to be positive, slick and well-presented - you are the product and your CV is your promotional brochure.

"The CV is not a disclaimer document. There is no room to list failures or bad things.

"Sometimes companies promote a product that may have a flaw. But you won't find it listed in the promotional brochure. Job hunters shouldn't be any different."

O'Neil says that the font or typeface on your CV should be clear, with text well-spaced and formatted consistently.

Use standard fonts that will be on every computer, so when your CV comes off the recruiter's printer it will look just how you sent it.

"Recruiters will look at a CV for between 10 and 15 seconds," says O'Neil. "So if your CV does not stand out then it will be sidelined."

Personal statements at the top of the CV are out and photos of candidates for some jobs are in.

"About 40 per cent of the statements at the top of a CV say the person is a good communicator," he says.

"But writing it does not mean it's true. Most of the personal statements I have seen mean nothing. People write that they are a great team player, are passionate about their job, and have a strong work ethic. Anyone could say that, even Hannibal Lector.

"Saying you are a great team leader means nothing.

"Saying you led a team of 12 in a special project to achieve X, Y and Z demonstrates you are a team leader. If people need to write a personal statement, it should be something compelling and unique to that person."

He also says a photograph of the job hunter can pay dividends when applying for customer-facing roles where appearance and presentation are important.

"But be sure to dress neatly, smile and have a good photograph taken in front of a plain background," says O'Neil.

"I have seen some photos on CVs that look dreadful. One guy looked like a stalker and in another the woman wore a hat that was full of fruit - not a good look."

The CV, he says, should run to about three pages, perhaps four, in exceptional circumstances.

"A one-page CV won't cut it. You just can't list job titles with start and stop dates. You have to show what achievements you accomplished.

"If a recruiter gets two CVs, and one lists job titles and the second shows what they actually did, the second person will have the edge."

O'Neil says recruiters generally prefer Word documents by email than PDF files because they like to be able to cut and paste the text from people's CVs into their own databases.

And he recommends Vista PC owners save files in Word 2003 format so everyone can open them.

Contact Steve Hart via his websiteat: www.stevehart.co.nz