I dread having to write a CV again, but if I ever do, there are some great tips in this fab guest post.
CV writing can feel like an uphill struggle. There are so many rules, things to leave out, words you shouldn’t use and correct formats to lay out your details in, which mean writing a CV can feel like a minefield to navigate. But fear not, we’ve got the a beginner’s guide to writing the perfect CV right here:
Things to note before you start:
- This is a potential employer’s first impression of you and decides whether you are offered an interview or not.
- It gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase your skills and weaknesses.
- It should be used when the job application asks for a CV and as a template when filling out online applications.
- CVs should be tailored to the position you are applying for. Try to avoid the generic ‘can be handed out to everyone’ CV.
- Bullet points make things easier to read and can encourage you to be more to the point.
Things to check before you send
- Spelling and grammar – use spell check or ask someone you trust to proof read your CV for you.
- Your contact details – a wrong phone number or an email that bounces back isn’t going to look good if that potential employer tries to get in touch.
- Is your email professional? – firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t going to look good. It’s free to create a new email address, even if you just use it for job applications.
- Is your paper high quality? If you are sending your CV via snail mail it’s a good idea to use high quality paper; flimsy printer paper isn’t going to give a great first impression.
How should your CV be laid out?
- Start with your personal details at the top, you just need your main telephone number and email address. There’s no need to include your full address and age.
- Next, put together a succinct introductory paragraph about you, this should detail your main interests and how you work. But leave out words such as team player and conscientious.
- Then list your previous places of relevant employment, only list places of work that are relevant to the position you are applying for unless there’s a huge time difference between roles. List your most recent job first, along with your title, the dates of employment and three skills/tasks you carried out that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
For example, if you are applying for a role in education you could list that you chaired weekly meetings with staff, worked closely with parents and located high quality teaching resources for the classroom. These are the sort of skills that should be listed, not your basic job description but things that you went above and beyond to complete.
- Next, include a quick succinct list of your qualifications, there’s no need to include your primary education, just the most relevant grades from your GCSEs, A Levels and degree. You could include some workplace qualifications, if you have done any further courses.
- Finally, interesting personal information can be added at the end of your CV. Don’t include things such as ‘I like to read’, only include information about yourself that can get employers talking. If you play for a sports team or have created your own cosplay costumes for comic cons, then these are interesting points to include.
You can find CV templates online that can be adapted to meet your needs, but it’s perhaps best to start with these sections and go from there. Good luck!