Starting your CV
Your CV is your selling brochure. Allowing you to pinpoint your unique selling points, these make you stand out from the crowd.
Your CV should cover key elements:
Ensure you include your full name, address (make sure it is in full and no abbreviations like rd for Road or Av for Avenue) an e-mail address and mobile number (Home phone is good too).
Your personal Statement
This is a mini-advert for you and should summarise your:
It should only be a few lines and needs to grab the reader’s attention. Try not to use terms like ‘reliable, ‘hard working’, ‘team player’ or ‘good communicator’. These are viewed a lot by employers, and they don’t help to build up an individual picture of you.
If the job involves working with people, try to show your people skills by uses phrases like: ‘negotiating’, ‘effectively dealing with demanding customers’, ‘handling conflict’ or ‘showing empathy’. These help the reader build up a picture of your skills, knowledge and experience. Keep it short - you can go into more detail later.
When describing your career aims, think about the employer you’re sending the CV to. Make your careers aims sound just like the kind of opportunities they currently have.
Employment history and work experience
You’ll usually put your employment history first if you’ve been working for a few years. If you don’t have much work experience, focus on your your education and training.
Start with the job you’re doing now, or the last job you had, and work backwards. You need to include your employer’s name, the dates you worked for them, your job title and your main tasks. On the jobs that are relevant to the role you’re applying for, give examples of the skills you used and what you achieved.
Use bullet pointed lists and positive language. Use ‘action’ words to describe what you did in your job like: ‘achieved’, ‘designed’, ‘established’, ‘supervised’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘created’ or ‘transformed’.
Relate your skills and experience to the job description, person specification or what you think the employer is looking for. Also include any relevant temporary work and volunteering experience.
Try not to have any gaps in your work history. If you had time out travelling, job seeking, volunteering or caring for a relative, include them with details of what you learned and the skills you gained.
Education and training
Start with your most recent qualifications and work back to the ones you got at school. Use bullet points or a table and include:
the university, college or school you went to
the dates the qualifications were awarded and any grades
any work-related courses, if they're relevant
Hobbies and Interests
Include hobbies, interests and achievements that are relevant to the job. If you're involved in any clubs or societies, this can show that you enjoy meeting new people. Interests like sports and physical recreation activities can also show employers that you are fit and healthy.
Don’t just put activities that you would do alone like reading, bird-watching or playing video games, unless they relate directly to the job that you are applying for. They may leave employers wondering how sociable you are. Make your activities specific and varied.
You can include this section if you need to add anything else that's relevant.
You may need to explain a gap in your employment history, like travelling or family reasons. You could also include other relevant skills here, such as if you have a driving licence or can speak any foreign languages.
At least one referee should be work-related. Or, if you haven't worked for a while, you could use another responsible person who has known you for some time.
You can list your referees on your CV or just put 'references available on request'. If you decide to include their details you should explain the relationship of each referee to you – for example 'Claire Turner, line manager'.
Your CV shouldn’t be any longer than 2 pages. Why! The person who is looking at it only has 2 hands, so any more than 2 and some information might be missed.
Resist jazzing up your CV with images or colour.
Stick to Times New Roman or Arial font type to make it easier to read
Check it, check it again and then get someone else to check it. Don’t put your faith in the spell checker; these are set to American as default. Make sure your CV is error free; the first thing a Prospective employer does to weed out potential candidates is check it for errors, even if the role doesn’t require a high level of literacy. Spelling errors scream lack of care which is an undesirable quality.
Remember this is to get an interview not the job
You are writing your CV for the reader, not yourself. Make it short, to the point and interesting.
Stand out from the crowd; make sure your CV demonstrates your unique blend of skills and experience. Make sure you include examples of commercial success problem resolution or management achievements
Keep it simple – Your choice of font and layout are key to making sure a would be employer carries on reading your CV. Simple formats work best
Don’t be generic – Work out who or what industry sector your CV is destined for and tailor it to highlight the right aspects of your experience for them
Check and check again – Avoid errors at all costs. This means spelling mistakes, dates which conflict with one another and incorrect e-mail address/phone numbers
Update before firing off an old CV will look unprofessional, make sure that yours is regularly updated to meet the requirements of any job advertised
Do not assume your CV is finished. Every job is different and remembers tailoring your CV accordingly is vital to standing out. Edit it in line with the job description whenever you make an application, you will be able to ensure it matches the specification every time.
Information Sources https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/get-a-job/cv-sections
Last modified: Tuesday, 23 June 2020, 2:16 PM