Your CV is the opportunity to sell yourself – it is your personal marketing tool, so it has to be factual, perfectly presented and easy to read. Do not be afraid to “blow your own trumpet” and list your achievements.
• Your CV should be carefully and clearly laid out – not too cramped but not with large empty spaces either. Use bold and italic typefaces for headings and important information.
• Know your audience: look carefully at the job description and highlight the most important aspects of the role and incorporate into your CV. CVs can, and should, be tailored to suit the individual job application.
• Be concise: Quality not quantity is the key. It should be no longer than a maximum two sides of A4.
• Be honest: although a CV does allow you to omit details (such as exam resits) which you would prefer the employer not to know about, you should never give inaccurate or misleading information.
• Check and recheck grammar and spelling. If you mention attention to detail as a skill, make sure your spelling and grammar is perfect!
• Put anything negative about a current or past employer.
• Put reasons for leaving any role. This can wait until the interview. Be prepared to keep it positive but honest.
• Put too much unnecessary personal information
• Use abbreviations or jargon unless known to the interviewer.
• Your personal details. You should include your name and contact details at the top of the CV.
• Your personal profile. A brief synopsis of yourself; it should summarise your key skills and qualities, your work background and achievements and your career aims. It should only be a few lines and should grab the reader’s attention. Avoid clichés such as reliable, hard worker, good communication skills or team player. Instead try to highlight relevant, specific skills. For example if the job involves working with people try and highlight relevant people skills, such as: negotiating, dealing with difficult customers, handling complaints, presentation skills, showing empathy or dealing with conflict. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem solving skills so concentrate on those.
• Education and qualifications (include relevant training courses) with your latest first and back from there.
• Work experience starting with your most recent/current; work back from there.
- Use assertive and positive language such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”.
- Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organisation and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”.
- Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions. Even work in a shop or a restaurant will involve working in a team, providing a quality service to customers and dealing tactfully with complaints – every little helps.
• List your general interests and hobbies.
- Highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for.
- Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team, organising, planning, persuading or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you ran your university’s newspaper or if you started a weekend league football team that became a success.
- Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are
- Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.
- Keep this section short and to the point.
- Bullets can be used to separate interests in to different types,
- Show a range of interests to avoid coming across as narrow
- Any interests relevant to the job are worth mentioning
• Referees. Many employers don’t check references at the application stage so unless the vacancy specifically requests referees it’s fine to say “References are available on request.” Normally two referees are sufficient; one academic (perhaps your tutor or a project supervisor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last part-time or summer job) and you should include their name and addresses, checked, current and correct.
• Keep your CV updated. Review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing.
And finally, remember we are always happy to review your CV and suggest any alterations or improvements. You just have to contact us.