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How to write the perfect CV

By Carlyle Laurie for CNN
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(CNN) -- You've seen an advertisement for your dream job. Now you need to convince the company you're the right person for it. Before you even begin thinking about interview techniques, you have to sell yourself on paper and get your foot in the door. Here's a few tips to get you started:

What are the rules? Just as there's no cure for the common cold or dandruff, there are no hard and fast rules about writing and presenting a curriculum vitae -- also called 'resume' in some countries. Requirements and styles may differ from culture and region so do some research and ask others if you can see how they have written theirs. There are also myriad Web sites, which may give you some good advice and ideas. Make sure what you submit is grammatically correct, informative and easy on the eye.

Keep it brief: Curriculum vitae roughly translates as "life story" in Latin, but that doesn't mean your potential future boss wants to read about every detail of yours. Keep your achievements short and sweet. No more than three pages is generally advised but the shorter, the better. Remember, the employee will often have a huge pile of CVs to get through.

What to include: Just because it's brief, doesn't mean you should exclude key information. The secret is finding the balance between making an impact with what skills you can offer and keeping it short enough so that whoever is reading it won't get bored. Basic information, such as your name contact phone number, postal and e-mail address, should go near the top. Follow this up with your work experience and qualifications. Add any additional skills can go in a separate section. Don't be afraid to blow your own horn -- you won't be able to speak for yourself, so let your CV speak for you.

Getting personal: It's up to you whether you want to include personal details like your date of birth and your marital status. Most employees will be judging you on your skills and experience, not your home life or your age, but in some cultures you may be expected to include this information. Do your homework. It's also up to you whether you include hobbies, which can paint a picture about your personality and out-of-work interests. It's also a good idea to include your visa status if the job you're applying is in a foreign country.

What if I really have a wacky idea? There's always room for thinking out of the box, but be careful not to take attention away from the main purpose of a CV, which is to show a company that you can do the job. There's a thin line between genius and ignorance. Take Aleksey Vayner, who sent an 11-page CV accompanied by a video of himself discussing his philosophy of success, showing off his physical prowess and dancing with a scantily-clad woman, making him the laughing stock of blogs all over the world.

How do I stamp my personality on it? You can flaunt your creativity by using different colors, fonts and layouts, but overdoing the creative touches bit can be counterproductive. Use colors and design fonts in moderation so you don't frighten the employer into binning your creative masterpiece. We've said it before but we'll say it again: double and triple check for spelling mistakes. Any errors won't help you get that job.

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Keep your CV short and make sure there are no spelling mistakes.

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