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How to write a CV - Careers

If you’re looking for your ideal job, then your CV is so important to clearly demonstrate your experience, work history and skill set.

It should be roughly one to two sides of A4 in length in a font such as Arial or Times New Roman. And definitely no clip art or fancy borders! There is no one “perfect” way of writing a CV, but below are some tips to help:

Your name and contact details

Positioned at the top of the page, this should contain your first name and surname, and your contact details. Don’t worry about putting “CV” as it’s generally a waste of space!

Your email address and phone number are essential. Most people also include their postal address too. If you have a LinkedIn profile, why not include a short link to it here?

Your personal statement

This can be one of the hardest things to write! It’s so important to your CV, and needs to be a short paragraph underneath your name giving your interviewers a brief summary of your skills and experience.

This statement should be tailored to the industry and job you’re applying for – there’s no point including information about why you’d make a brilliant retail team leader if you’re applying for an office administration role! It’ll come across as unprofessional and lazy, and could mean your application isn’t considered properly.

In this section include what you can offer the company, your career goals and a few key skills. Now isn’t the time to be discussing your favourite hobbies…!

Your education and relevant qualifications

Unless you’re going for a lifeguard position, you shouldn’t be including EVERY qualification you’ve ever received! Start with your most recent qualification, whether a degree, A levels or GCSEs, and include the grades, school/university and date you achieved it. If your degree has relevant modules to the role you’re applying for, and if you have space, include them here too.

Your work history

Similar to your qualifications, start with the most recent one first, even if it’s your industry placement or part-time retail position. You’ll need to include your position, the employer and the dates you worked for them too. If you have space and it’s appropriate, include a very brief overview of your role (no more than two to three lines) but it must be relevant to the post you’re applying for.

Key skills

This section isn’t a requirement, but can help potential employers to gain a quick snapshot of what you could be like to work with. If the job description is looking for things like time management or ICT skills, now’s your time to include things like that.

Interests and activities

This should be the shortest section – and must either be a significant accomplishment or skill, or very relevant to the job you’re applying for. Don’t just put you like sitting with your cat! You don’t have to include this section.

Top things to remember:

  • Don’t lie or exaggerate – employers will know, honestly!
  • Always, always, always tailor your CV/application to the post and job description
  • This is a professional document; an employer won’t spend a huge amount of time per application, so it needs to be to the point and easy to read.
  • Include some positive action verbs – such as demonstrate, established, created or developed – not just “I did this…”
  • Use a mature email address as the contact email – employers won’t take ILoveBeiber@hotmail.com very seriously…

Some employers will also ask for a covering letter – we’ve written some advice to help you construct the perfect one here.

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