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If you’re applying for a job, chances are, there’ll be hundreds of other people applying too. If you want to make your application stand out, the best way is to include a well-written and exciting CV. There isn’t just one way of writing a CV, and depending on the industry and role you’re applying for, your CV may look different. For example, a CV applying for a graduate position at a law firm will probably be much more extensive than one for a part-time summer job at a cafe; though will more or less contain the same type of information.
The important thing is for a CV to be well-written and easy to read, so potential employers can scan it quickly.
It should also be easy to identify your key skills, qualifications and experience, and be relevant to the role you’re applying for. A CV should be tailor-made for the individual industry you’re applying to, and there’s no harm in tailoring it even further for the specific job.
The best CVs aren’t necessarily the longest. Employers might only have a few seconds to scan your CV before making a decision, and long or difficult to read CVs might automatically go into the ‘No’ pile!
Keep your CV short and to-the-point, and make sure its relevant to the role you’re applying for. You can use the following as a guide for layout:
Personal Details: Your name, address, and contact details (usually telephone number, mobile number and email) should be at the top.
As a side note, make sure your email address is professional e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org rather than something silly or offensive! You can always make a second email account just for job applications if you need to.
Personal Statement: A personal statement will tell the employer why you’re suitable for the job. It’s your chance to sell yourself! Keep it short and to-the-point, and be enthusiastic! Explain why you want the job, and why you’d be suitable, plus a little blurb about yourself and your personal qualities. However, be honest, as employers will soon find out if you aren’t as “bubbly” and “outgoing” as you said you were!
Work Experience: This is the part where you show any work experience you’ve already got, be it full-time, part-time or voluntary. Include:
Most recruiters hate to see gaps in employment, so you can include work experience that isn’t directly related to your field. Make it more relevant by including
Education: This should be a list of qualifications, achievements and training positions you’ve gained. Start with the most recent or advanced (e.g. the highest level of education) and work backwards. Include any relevant modules to the job you’re applying for, any projects which relate directly to the job, and results for at least the most recent and relevant qualifications.
Hobbies and Interests: Include interests which:
An interesting hobby which makes you stand out is also good but be honest and try to show your enthusiasm! For example, “socialising with friends” is quite simple, so expand it by explaining what you do e.g. go to gigs or the cinema.
Any Extra Information: If you’re changing careers, or there are gaps in your work history, include an explanation here. Anything else which could relate to your job application should be included, too.
Many employers won’t require references at this stage, so don’t include them unless you’re asked to. Writing ‘references available on request’ suggests you’re willing provide references but will save you space.
If you do require references, usually two referees are enough: one academic (perhaps your teacher or a college tutor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last job or a work experience placement). Again, the employer will confirm how many and which type of references are required.
Although the content of your CV is the most important part, the presentation is the first thing an employer will see – and if a CV is not well-presented, some employers won’t even read it. See our top tips to avoid having your CV chucked in the nearest bin!
Now your layout and presentation are sorted, double check your content. Make sure you: