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Top tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd



Your CV has one thing to do – get you noticed by potential employers. It is the ‘door-opener’ and needs to demonstrate clearly why you are the right person for the job or the company in question.


This needs to be done in the most concise and targeted way possible and you need to test that it passes the seven second rule! On average if an employer doesn’t see what they want in seven seconds your chances of getting shortlisted or interview are slim to none! Get the basics right and they will read on.

Keep it to two pages

It doesn’t matter how much experience you have or how many courses you have done, only those that are relevant to the job should be included. This means that you will need to adapt your CV to different jobs.

Use a clear and simple layout

Fonts such as Times New Roman, Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Georgia and Helvetica are best and use 12-point font size unless you are really tight on space and then reduce to 11.

Put your name in larger font at the top of the CV. There's no need to include the word CV or Curriculum Vitae, and include your contact details underneath – email, mobile number, address if you feel you want to, and LinkedIn profile details if you are on it.

Stick to the truth

While it is tempting to stretch it a little, if you get called to an interview or references are verified, there is every chance that you will get caught out.

Your CV should have the following sections – Opening summary/professional profile, Work Experience, Education and Training, Key sSkills and Expertise, Interests and Achievements which are only needed if you are a recent graduate or school leaver.

After the Opening Summary which can be done as a paragraph or bullet points, you need to lead with your strongest section. If you have extensive relevant experience and it has been a long time since you completed your education then you are primarily selling your experience on your CV. If you are student or recent graduate then you need to focus on how your education links to the job so give details of modules, projects and any key achievements linked to your qualification.

Employers like evidence and data so when completing the section on work experience include proof of what you have achieved in the workplace and rather than giving a list of tasks and responsibilities of your past jobs tell them what competency you have demonstrated. Use action verbs to explain what you do/did. Don’t forget to include voluntary work if relevant.

In relation to education; be selective. If it’s more than 15 years since you completed your Leaving Cert then you don’t really need to include it. While you may have lots of courses done over the years only include those which are relevant to the job you are applying for. You could also consider dividing them into two sections – ‘Education & Training’ and ‘Other Training’.

Information in sections on employment and education should be listed in reverse chronological order.
If you are concerned about a gap in your CV, say for example if you have taken a year out to travel or some years out to care for family then state the years so the employer can account for the time and give a simple and short explanation of the competencies you developed during it.

Keywords are essential

This is particularly the case if the CV is being read by a computer before it ever reaches the eyes of a human resource manager, a process known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
Mirror the exact words, language and terminology, that have been used in the job description. Make it clear that you have what they are looking for.

When it comes to key skills and expertise make sure to link them directly to the job, demonstrate what you are great at and be prepared to explain your skills in interview.

The section on ‘Hobbies & Interests’ always raises questions. If you have more than seven years’ experience it’s not really relevant. Never use the word ‘hobbies’, use ‘Interests and Achievements’ instead. Give a line about each one that is useful and dynamic.


Unless you are a recent graduate or starting out in your career, employers don’t need details of referees on your CV, only if requested to do so in the job advertisement, as they won’t contact them until after interview. Always remember to ask permission of those who have agreed to provide a reference for you to include their name and contact details on the CV.

Proofread the finished product several times! There is no greater turnoff for a potential employer than seeing spelling, grammar mistakes or misprints. Get a couple of family members or friends to check it and don’t rely on spellcheck!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore & PRO of Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She can be contacted on

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Gaelscoil pupils compete in Fleadh for the first time

By Michelle Crean It was their first time entering Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí but Gaelscoil Faithleann pupils proved they’ve got talent as they made it to the next stage of the […]




By Michelle Crean

It was their first time entering Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí but Gaelscoil Faithleann pupils proved they’ve got talent as they made it to the next stage of the competition.

Muinteoir Treasa Uí Scannláin and Muinteoir Lisa Ni Iarlaithe prepared the children over the last two months on Thursday evenings after school.

For the competition 22 kids were entered in the Under 11 and 13 categories in the Comhra Gaeilge competition in Tralee.

Three of the Under 11s and three of the school’s Under 13s are now going forward to represent Chiarraí the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan in Newcastle West on July 15.

“The standard was very high and it was our first time entering this competition. All of the children were representing Cill Airne Comhaltas,” Lisa said.

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Kilcummin has strong representation in Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí

Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí may have been absent in the live sense over the previous two years, however it returned over the last two weekends and it delivered with aplomb! The […]




Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí may have been absent in the live sense over the previous two years, however it returned over the last two weekends and it delivered with aplomb!

The home of Kerry Comhaltas, the Dúchas Centre on the MTU campus in Tralee, was the host venue on the first weekend of the Fleadh, which accommodated the dancing competitions.

“We were spoiled with the spectacle of live dancing of the highest calibre accompanied by live music from accomplished musicians … food for the soul!” Derek O’Leary, Kilcummin CCE PRO, said.

“Much credit and thanks goes to the Moriarty School of Dancing, Mary, John and Adrian who represented Kilcummin CCE and prepared our teams to compete at the highest level.

“We also had such a great weekend in the singing and music competitions over the second weekend of Fleadh Cheoil Charraí, held in the Dúchas Centre and other areas of the MTU campus. All of our competitors performed to the highest standard in robust competition. Well done to all who competed and congratulations to all who go forward to represent Chiarraí the Fleadh Cheoil na Mumhan, in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick from July 10 to 16.”

Kilcummin had strong representation throughout the dancing competition during the first weekend of Fleadh Cheoil Chiarraí.

U12 Ladies 1st place and County Champions.

“Well done to our second U12 Ladies set who weren’t placed but danced beautifully.”

U12 Mixed 1st place & County Champions.
U12 mixed 2nd place.
15-18 Mixed 2nd place.
15-18 Ladies & Mixed Half set 3rd place
U12-15 Ladies 3rd place
Senior mixed half set 1st place and County Champions
Over 35’s 1st Place & County Champions

Kilcummin also excelled in the music and singing competitions of the second weekend of the Fleadh.

Eoin Foley – Accordion 1st place
Eoin Foley – Melodeon 2nd place
Aisling O’Connor – 1st place – Ladies O18 English Singing
Liam Kerrisk – 1st place – 15-18 Melodeon
Michael Healy – Button accordion (12-15) 1st place
Michael Healy – Melodeon (12-15) 1st place
Sean Butler – Button Accordion (12-15) 2nd place
Colleen Anland and Michael Healy – Duets (12-15) 1st place
Seán Fleming – Kerry Comhaltas U15 History Project 1st place


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