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From the organisers of

A Qualified Worlforce : How to write a CV

17 October 2014

Mark Priestman has more than 20 years’ experience in the natural stone sector. He plays an active role in the development and delivery of training in this specialist environment. Along with his father, David Priestman, he runs a training consultancy whose mantra is: Qualify the Workforce!

As a training and assessment provider, I spend a fair amount of time compiling my CV (Curriculum Vitae) for different authorities, clients and professional institutions. Since a validated CV is also useful for learners to include in their NVQ evidence portfolio, I spend a fair amount of time coaching learners through the process of creating their own CV.

If you are in the position where you are putting together a CV, I thought you might appreciate not only my best wishes, but a few pointers.

Rule 1: There are no rules, only accepted conventions such as:

  • No spelling mistakes
  • Use of a font pleasing to the eye
  • Generally, no more than two pages
  • Keep information relevant to the vacancy
  • Nothing but the truth – it is an offence to present yourself fraudulently.

Rule 2: As I said, there are no rules. But by way of guidance, there are some forms of presentation normally viewed as successful in the way you lay out your CV.

Page 1:

  • Your full name
  • Your residency and right to work status
  • Your contact details
  • Your career objectives (can be best written in the third person – ie John’s aim is to become the production manager)
  • Your card schemes and status with expiry dates (if working onsite, include: CSCS, IPAF, MEWPS, First Aid, Safety Plus and any other training that will help you stand out)
  • Your relevant qualification history (list highest first – eg degrees, NVQs and City & Guilds, NEBOSH, school qualifications).

On page 2:

  • Your relevant work experience (most recent first, include prestigious projects and your responsibilities)
  • Any accreditations or professional memberships you hold

It is now illegal for employers to discriminate on grounds of age, sex and ethnicity, so it is perhaps best not to include any mention of these. You could also be breaking data protection laws if you list the names and contact details of other people (such as referees) without their permission. It is, in any case, sensible to ask them if they are happy to be referees before you include them and brief them on what you have said in your CV.

Rule 3: This is a rule-of-thumb, too. My suggestion here is not to pack too much information into the CV. The document is a summary of your attainments and experience. It should contain just enough to flag up questions your recruiter can ask you about and you can expand upon at the interview stage.

Rule 4: When you reach the interview, take copies of some supporting documents with you. Such as:

  • A schedule of the courses you have attended; manufacturer training; construction equipment and product awareness training; BIM awareness; CoSHH training. This document is commonly known as a CPD (Continuous Professional Development) Record.
  • A list of (primed) reference providers. This could include former employers, clients and professionals, college lecturers, other training providers and assessors. You should never include a referee who is unaware they are going to be approached. Usually, interviewers want two referees, so prepare at least three.
  • Anything else that validates what you have put on your CV, such as certificates, testimonials, National Insurance registration, details of project involvement.

Increasingly, contractors maintain a library of their workers’ validated CVs for inspection by clients, particularly where a project is impacted by the Construction Design & Management Regulations.

This encourages employers to focus on the personal development of employees in order to add value to the organisation. In my opinion, that’s win:win.

Mark Priestman is a Partner at Priestman Associates LLP, a leading façade preservation project consultancy. From stonemasonry and heritage skills through to Site Supervision and Conservation Management, the partnership is trusted by the leading brands of the sector as an NVQ provider for experienced, upskiller and apprentice workers. Mobile: 07876 687212




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