CV Building

CV Building

What should your CV look like?

Your CV should be a representation of you. This is your first opportunity to impress future employers and grab their attention.

When making your CV you need to think about:

• What experience do I have that is relevant to this job?
– If you find you don’t have enough, could you emphasise aspects of your other jobs that are relevant to prove you are capable of doing this new job?
– For example: Your role as Captain of a sporting team or committee member in some voluntary capacity could demonstrate you are already engaged in a leadership capacity.

• Have I got any extra-curricular experience that could help me stand out?
– This refers to interests, weekend work you do on the side, volunteer or charity work.
– Could aspects of these experiences be highlighted to better suit you to the job?

• Have I written a section about me?
– The person reading your CV is looking to hire you. They need to hear about you, write about your interests, your achievements, your strengths and why you would make a good asset to their company (a miniature version of a cover letter.)
– This needs to contain all relevant keywords for the role – rather than “good team player” and “motivational” type words.

• Are my contact details visible?
– Perhaps an obvious point to remember, but it does happen! Without contact details, employers have no hope of contacting you!

• Have I done spelling and grammar checks?
– Usually the first CV’s to get binned will be those with mistakes. If you can’t spend the time to check for mistakes, how can an employer trust you to check the work you do for them?

• Do I want a photograph on my CV?
– A controversial topic, but one worth thinking about. Some employers like it and some don’t, would including a photo of yourself benefit your application?
– Usually a well presented, professionally set photograph will do the trick.

• Is all of my most important information on the first page?
– Most employers will only skim read the first page of your CV. Keep the first page concise and easy to read. Use your second page for the “more information” sections which is where you can elaborate on yourself and your less relevant experience and hobbies.


Appearance top tips:

We don’t aim to be too prescriptive about format/appearance, because after all, everyone has different tastes, but follow these simple guidelines:

• Style:
– Choose a font that is easy to read and stick to it: Don’t be tempted to use more than one.
– Use different weights of the same font: Thin, Regular, Bold. Adjust the size to create headers.
– Choose one or two colours to use for headers or stand-out pieces of information.
– Be consistent, this is the most
important tip!

• Layout:
– Don’t just layout the text in lines, try using different sections and columns (like a newspaper.)
– Staying with the “easy to read” theme, make sure you have enough white space on the pages.
– Don’t over crowd your information, this makes it easier to read.

Where should the information go?

This depends largely on a number of factors, but mainly what type of job you are going for and where you are with your career history.

For example, if you are a relatively recent graduate, how you did with your degree and relevant extra-curricular experience is far more important than if you have 2 years irrelevant work experience behind you.

So, if your qualifications are likely to be a deciding factor for selection, get them at the top of the first page. If experience is the more important criteria, make sure you have your most recent job on the top of the first page.

What to include in each section:

• Contact information:
A mobile number and email address (a sensible one based on your name. Avoid using one you made when you were a teenager, Madman! for example.)

•  Personal Information:

Driving licence information is always useful, particularly if it’s an essential requirement for the role.

•  Location/address: 
If you are applying for a role that is further away than commuting distance, you need to make sure you indicate clearly that you are looking to relocate. Employers could be put off if they think there is the slightest possibility you will leave them for something closer to home.

•  Profile:
Think carefully about what you want to say in your profile. Make it meaningful, giving a brief outline of your key skills and strengths (relevant to the role) and your objective. When you’ve written it, read it back to yourself.

•  Qualifications:
Make sure your most relevant qualification is at the top, and if you have a long list of qualifications, your GCSEs/’O’ levels could be omitted.

•  Career History:
Start with the most recent job first. Include the company name, start and finish dates and job title (particularly if it’s the same as the job you’re applying for.) Give a summary of what you did; avoid making it look like you’ve copied from your job description and try to match what you did to the job you want.

•  Work-related training:
You really don’t need to include every single one-day course you’ve ever been on, but anything that might be relevant is certainly worth a mention.

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