A good Curriculum Vitae (CV) is critical to the sucess of any job application. It is the first thing a prospective employer reads about you, so it must be concise and detail all your important relevant information like education, skills and experience but above all else sell yourself.
What to include
Your CV should be tailored to match the requirements of each job you apply for.
In no more than 4 – 5 sentences, outline your interest in the role, your professional goals and why the organisation should hire you. Label yourself in a way that is appropriate to the role you are applying for. Remember, employers want to hire people that will contribute and add value to their organisation. Use this space to explain: who you are, what you can bring to the table and your career aims.
List your employment history in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job first
(This should include posts held in the military)
Job title, company/ position name, (dates of employment in brackets e.g. April 2012 – August 2015)
- Under your job title, outline the key responsibilities you held in bullet points
- Lead with the skills listed in the job specification, even if you did less of these in your previous job
- If the company is a bit obscure, make one bullet point an explainer about what they do
- Think about the role you’re applying for and keep details relevant to the prospective employer
- Recruiters recommend including between 3 – 5 bullet points per job
- Include some factual information on how you positively impacted the business. For example, did you win a performance based award? Or did you increase company revenue? If so, by how much?
- Remember to provide examples to back up any claims you make about your skills and abilities
Put your most recent and relevant qualification first.
If you are a graduate applying for your first graduate job, consider listing your education under your personal statement.
BA (Hons) 2:1, subject name, university name (dates of course e.g. September 2007 – July 2010)
Only add in further information if the context of your course is relevant to the role you’re applying for.
A Levels (dates of study e.g. September 2005 – June 2007)
School or college name
Subject Name – grade e.g. A
Subject Name – B
Subject Name – F – only include grades for subjects that you passed.
GCSEs (dates of study e.g. September 2000 – July 2005)
9 GCSEs, graded A* – C, including Maths, English and Science
Remember: you only have 2 pages to include all of the above, so be relevant, concise and make it count.
- This is an opportunity to list any additional skills, qualifications or other information that makes you stand out from the crowd. For example, voluntary work.
- List all training, relevant awards and membership of professional bodies that will strengthen your application, including dates these awards were received.
- Your CV should demonstrate your unique blend of skills and experience. Make sure you include examples of commercial success, problem resolution or management achievements.
- Keep it simple. Your choice of font and layout are key to making sure a would be employer carries on reading your CV. Simple formats work best.
- Don’t be generic. Work out who or which industry sector your CV is aimed at and tailor it to highlight the right aspects of your experience for them.
- Check and check again. Avoid error at all costs. This means spelling mistakes, dates which conflict with one another also incorrect email address and telephone number.
- Update. Firing off an old CV will look unprofessional, so make that yours is regularly updated to meet the requirements of any jobs you see advertised.
- Use a template. By following a template (as shown above) you are not restricting the way you can express yourself, but you will find that your CV becomes easier to read and covers all the important aspects of your work history.