Advice for parents about the career options for their children

How to Write a Great CV

Along with a cover letter, your CV is the first thing a prospective employer will see when considering you for their vacancy. Providing a CV is often a requirement, and so it is important to ensure your CV is up to scratch.

When a company decides to hire a new team member, they will create a candidate specification that outlines the skills and experiences required to fulfil the roles and duties expected of the vacant position. During the application process, employers will review and compare candidate CVs with the specification in order to see how closely the two match. This ensures that the most suitable candidate is selected.

An Overview

There's no proven formula to CV writing, but there are some key do's and don'ts. As an introduction to who you are, your CV needs to be easy to digest as you may only have 10-15 seconds to impress the employer. Make it positive, snappy and concise. Sticking to one or two sides of A4, include only relevant information regarding your employment and education background. Double-check your spelling and grammar, but don't solely rely on spell checking tools. Read over it with fresh eyes and get a friend to proofread it for you, too.

 

Top Tips to Remember

  • Use short, concise sentences. They're easier to read and digest, which is important because recruiters often only have seconds to glance and scan your CV.

  • Format your CV with easy-to-read fonts. Don't got over the top with making text bold, underlined or bigger than size 12.

  • Include your contact details: phone number, email and address. Some people choose to include their online profiles, such as personal websites, Twitter and LinkedIn.

  • Make sure your employment history, including title and dates, can be easily read and consistently formatted. Order them with the most recent first.

  • Proofread your CV over and over again. Use spell checking and grammar tools, but don't rely on them.

  • Include your personal and past achievements.

  • Follow up all claims with proven examples.

  • Ensure you have suitable referees. Either attach references or simply mention that they're available.

  • Include awards or recognition received for your work, together with professional memberships and relevant training.

  • Keep your CV honest, factual and to two pages.

  • Send your CV alongside a personalised cover letter.

  • Seek feedback if you are not achieving any interviews, and if you feel your CV is not reflecting you at your best, seek external advice.

  • Take ownership and use words such as "determined", "implemented", "created", "devised", "coordinated", "conceived".

  • Use a professional email address, sticking with your name and not silly or offensive words, such as johnsmith@gmail.com

     

    Mistakes to Avoid

  • Never date a CV, like you might a letter.

  • Don't include irrelevant personal details, such as date of birth, nationality or photograph.

  • Don't mention salaries; what you've had and/or what you expect.

  • Never put a 'reason for leaving' in your employment history.

  • Don't lie - you will be found out at interview!

  • Don't organise your employment or education in reverse chronological format. Start with the most recent first.

  • Avoid mentioning every single job you've had if you have had a lot; only include relevant or important roles.

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