A CV (also known as a Curriculum Vitae, or résumé), is a written overview of your skills, education, and work experience. They may be used for a variety of reasons, however, the most common of these is to send to prospective employers when looking for a new job.
Writing CVs can be a difficult and time consuming part of finding a job, but it is essential to have a good CV as this is almost always the first step you need to take when applying for a job.
To make your life easier, we’ve provided a free CV template that you can use as a guide for writing your CV. We’ve also outlined guidance on how to write and structure each section of your CV below.
Your personal statement is the first part of your CV. It’s essentially a brief paragraph that quickly highlights your suitability for the job you’re applying to. tailored to the role that you’re applying for.
In terms of structure, consciously try and answer the following questions:
Who you are, what are your strengths and what experience or education do you have that is specific to the role.
It’s also a good idea to avoid clichés, and quantify your attributes with specific examples from previous positions/education. Not only do they add value and a sense of realism to your statement, they also enhance your credibility.
When it comes to your employment history – write in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent jobs coming at the top.
Then, use your work experience to demonstrate your relevant skills and abilities. But don’t just focus on your daily duties; you should also talk about the accomplishments and achievements you gained from each role.
And if you have no employment history to speak of? It’s fine to leave this section out.
However, if your lack of experience is holding you back from the job you want – now’s your chance to be proactive. Whether you volunteer with a local charity for a few weeks or help out at a locally-run business – it’ll all help you to gain practical experience and prove your skills to employers.
Education should be included from GCSE (or equivalent) level onwards – in reverse-chronological order (with the most recent events at the top).
State the number qualifications achieved and general grades you received (Maths and English at the very least). If you’re awaiting results, you can state mock/expected results where possible; although this is not essential.
You can also include your degree classification, A level/IB (or equivalent) results and any other higher education diplomas if you have them.
Using particular course modules you’ve undertaken (that are relevant to the role) is also a great way to demonstrate your wider knowledge of the subject.
Although this section can help to get your personality across, it’s not an essential part of your CV.
So if you don’t have any, don’t feel like you have to include them – especially if overused clichés like ‘socialising with friends’ and ‘watching films’ are all you can think of.
Instead, only include hobbies are that are particularly unique (that you can expand on at an interview), prove your skills, and/or back up your motives for applying for the role.
If in doubt; ask yourself: will they help you get the job? If not, it’s best to leave them out.
Unless asked directly in the job posting, stating that references are available on request is fine.
However, always make sure you do have credible references.
Close family friends, teachers, or career councillors are all good options, and most are usually happy to help.
Remember, the template that we’ve given you should just be used as a guide. In order to have the best chance of getting an interview, make sure you tailor each CV to every job application that you apply for.
If you need help with your job applications, our Employment Advisers can help you create a gold-standard CV.
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