Why should I create a good CV?
It’s simple. Your CV gives a first impression to your future employer. You have to make it stand out so it doesn’t end up ‘filed in the bin.’
How should I lay it out?
- No more than 2 pages. Anymore and it is likely it won’t get read.
- Use a clear font such as Arial Size 11.
- Break it up with headings in bold, size 12-14.
Starting your CV
- At the top include your name, contact number, telephone and email address. It may sound obvious but it’s important to include it.
Section 1 – Personal background
- Write a short paragraph (about 2 sentences) about the qualities you possess.
- Top Tip: Imagine another person was describing you in action
- Example: A purposeful and dynamic project manager with a flair for quickly taking advantage of new initiatives. Do not write this in the first person e.g “I am a purposeful …….”.
Section 2 – Work experience
- Start with your most recent employment and work backwards in time.
- Note down the start and end dates.
- Top Tip: begin each sentence of work activity with a “doing” verb
- Some examples: Activated….Co-ordinated…..Organised…. etc.
- Again, avoid the word “I.”
- Give a brief list of the most prominent responsibilities you carried out in each role.
Section 3 – Education and Training
- Start with your most recent education and training.
- Note down the start and end dates of each institution and course.
- Indicate grades and if you’re still studying for a qualification, write “Working towards, date expected to complete DD-MM-YYYY.”
- You could add specific units in your degree if it is relevant to the job you are applying for.
- But be aware this may take you over the 2 page rule!
- Don’t forget - you can include both education (academia) and professional training (courses). So if you have achieved an externally-certified professional course, list it.
Section 4 – Short Courses (if applicable)
- In this section talk about any achievements
- For example: Emergency First Aid, or a language learnt alongside your studies.
- Use the same format as for education above.
Section 5 – Voluntary Experience (if applicable)
- This section is often well received by employers.
- Make sure you include dates, organisations and activities, similar to your layout under section 2.
Section 6 – Other interests
- This can include any hobbies or interests you may have that add value to your qualities.
- Some examples could include playing musical instruments, sport.
Section 7 – References
- For references, many students simply write “Upon request”.
- However, it is probably stronger to indicate two people who are unrelated to you, from different areas, who will provide a reference.
- Keep your CV up to date and modify it from time to time.
- When you add entries it may be necessary to reduce some details previously shown otherwise you might just go over those 2 pages.
- Have fun in creating and modifying.
- Be proud of your CV and don’t feel that something is not important because it seemed like a low-profile task. In the eyes of the reader it might be just what they want.
- Make sure you check what is required for your application; some employers will just want a CV, others may want a CV and covering letter, or sometimes there will be an application form to complete as well as a CV and covering letter. You cannot afford to get this process wrong.
Make your CV work for you – after all you deserve it to.