How to write a great CV
A poorly written CV is often the reason you are not being considered for your dream role. CV’s are a huge part of your job search and are a great way to sell yourself to prospective employers, listing your qualifications, knowledge and skills.
Here we have put together a guide to help you to get the most out of your CV, giving you the best chance of getting the important interview.
Did you know that on average, the number of people who apply for any given job is 118. Only 20% of these applicants get an interview - making it even more important to have the perfect CV!
Firstly, what is a CV?
A CV, also known as a Resume or Curriculum Vitae, is a written overview of a person’s experience, knowledge and qualifications which is used to apply for job opportunities.
It should summarise the individuals best attributes, essentially selling themselves to employers and making themselves stand out from the crowd who are applying for the same position.
What should a CV cover?
CV’s should be tailored to each individual, as everyone has different selling points to highlight to employers. Even though there isn’t a set CV format you should always include this key information:
Your personal information
Ensure that you have included your basic personal information including your name, address, phone number and email. This ensures the employer can make contact if you make it to the next stage of the recruitment process.
You should include a brief overview of yourself. Including information about who you are, what you are doing now and what you are looking for. From this employers can determine if their job vacancy will suit your needs. When applying for jobs in certain sectors it can be a great help to slightly change your overview to suit the specific job or industry.
This should list all of your work experience with the most recent first, including all relevant information such as your job title, company name, the dates you were employed and an overview of your key responsibilities.
You should include your education history with all qualifications and grades you have achieved. Be sure to add the dates these were achieved and the type of qualifications/grades.
Skills and achievements
This section allows you to cover your best skills and achievements that you have acquired from either your work experience or qualifications. Try to list those that relate to the job role you are applying for, for example, if you are looking to work in an office it would be great to list any IT packages you are confident using. When creating this list it is best to include examples and explain how you will apply them to the role.
Hobbies and interests
This is not a huge part of the CV, however if you have any hobbies or interests that relate to the job these should be included.
You may choose to add references onto your CV by stating that their details are available on request. Make sure that you are confident your references will give positive feedback and ensure that you have all details for the employer to contact them easily. References are usually from a tutor/teacher from when you were in education (usually if you are applying for your first job) or a manager from your most recent employer.
The average time spent looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds, one spelling or grammar mistake and your CV will be thrown away! 76% of CVs are ignored if your email address is unprofessional, which makes these checks just as important as the content itself.
It is recommended to keep your CV to two sides of A4. CV’s should be clear and not too overcrowded, ensuring the employer can find what they are looking for. Make sure to include all relevant information as well as keeping it short and to the point. Try not to use too much colour and keep all text consistent, preferably no smaller than 11pt and using fonts such as ‘Arial’ or ‘Times New Roman’. Finally, check for spelling or typing errors by using spell check and get someone to read through it for you - make sure your CV isn't thrown away because of one spelling error!
Remember that a CV is your best shot at being offered an interview. It should engage the employer and make them want to find out more about you! Most job roles will receive a high volume of CV’s, meaning recruiters will only spend a few seconds looking over them.
If you follow these steps you are on the right track for progressing to the interview stage with a carefully written and clear CV.