The purpose of your CV is to prove to a potential employer that you have the right skills, experience and professionalism for the vacancy. The aim of your CV is to convince them they need to invite you to an interview, so it must show you in your best light.
There is no right or wrong way to design a CV, so the layout is up to you. However, to help you promote yourself effectively, here are our Top Tips on what makes a great CV.
Remember it is likely that the person looking at your CV will already have seen dozens of them. It’s possible that after reading so many in one go they’ll be feeling a little jaded with the process. So in order to get their attention, your CV must stand out from the rest. How you lay out the page is therefore important, as well as making all the information clear and accessible.
Your personal details:
A short summary of your ambitions and attributes – this need only be one or two sentences long but it will give potential employers an immediate idea of what you’re looking for and why.
Your work history – beginning with your most recent job as that will be the most relevant. Include the name of the company, your job title/s, the dates that you were there, your successes and achievements in the role, as well as your duties and experience. Use bullet points to highlight your skills and experience which will be a lot quicker to read than a long paragraph.
Education and training – again, beginning with the most recent as it will be the most relevant. List all the training courses and further education you’ve done, especially if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for. List your university or college courses, with your results as well as A Levels/Baccalaureate and GCSEs, especially if you’re at the beginning of your career.
Languages – if you’re fluent in other languages, or have a good working knowledge of any languages, it’s always a good idea to include them on your CV.
Achievements – this is designed to give potential employers additional information about your ambitions and the kind of person you are. What have you achieved that you’re proud of? It doesn’t have to be related to your job, but if you can think of a professional achievement to add, that will really help.
Interests – a lot of hobbies and activities teach you soft skills that are transferable to the professional world, so adding them will not only show potential employers that you’re an interesting person, it will also reassure them that your personality is right for them.
References – end your CV with the names and contact details of two people who are willing to act as your referees. At least one will need to be a current employer; the other can be a personal referee (not a relative or friend), a tutor/teacher, or another person you’ve worked for.
Before sending off your CV, you need to ask someone to double-check it for spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors.
Also ask them to point out anything that doesn’t sound quite right, or if there are any areas where you may need to add more information.
Given that your CV will be competing with dozens, possibly hundreds of others, you have to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd, so make it count!