Updating your CV during Lockdown

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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. 

Remember

  • 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.

Final tip

  • 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.