Sitting down and writing your first CV can be a bit intimidating. You have to make sure you communicate how qualified you are for the job in less than two pages! But don’t let that put you off; we’re here to help!
There is no exact “recipe” for a perfect CV. Different CVs work for different people and for different job roles. The best way to judge if your CV is up to scratch, is if you are being offered the interviews you want. If you aren’t offered enough interviews, you should change your layout, move some things around or reword your CV.
First things first, let’s look at the layout of your CV. Each employer is looking for different things and the layout of your CV can be a great way to showcase some of your skills. For example, if you’re applying for a graphic design role, a more creative CV containing graphics may get you further in the application process.
Here are some of our layout tips to help you get started:
Use a clear, professional and legible font
Use an easy-to-follow layout
Clearly separate each section
Make sure it’s no longer than 2 A4 pages
Use keywords that an employer might be looking for
Work in chronological order with your education and experience
Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for
What should I include?
You’ve got the layout down, so let’s go through each section of your CV.
This should include your name, phone number, address and email address.
Make sure the email address attached is professional! An email address like firstname.lastname@example.org might not go down too well with potential employers!
Objective/ Personal Statement
Including an objective or personal statement can summarise your CV and lets an employer know what you are looking for, especially if you are sending your CV to a company that hasn’t advertised a position.
For some help with your personal statement, check this out. But remember, a personal statement on your CV should only be a couple of sentences.
In this section you should mention any results or qualifications you’ve achieved. Try to avoid presenting poor grades.
This is a good place to outline the skills you have that set you apart from other applicants, which may not fall under the previous section.
Include things like computer programmes you can use or languages you can speak or if you have a driving license.
Previous Experience/ Employment History
This is where you list the experiences you have built up over the years that make you qualified for the job.
Include both paid and unpaid work, as all work experience helps make you more employable.
Include any personal projects you have undertaken in your spare time like writing a blog or organising an event. This shows your initiative and passion for the role.
Remember, skills are transferrable! While working at your aunt’s shop down the road might not make you a PR executive, the people skills you’ve developed from dealing with customers will help you get there!
Hobbies & Interests
Listing your hobbies and interests can tell a potential employer a bit more about you and your personality.
Try to show a range of interests and include ones that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’re applying for a music job, you probably have an interest in going to gigs or listening to music or DJing… make sure you include these!
Mention hobbies that demonstrate employability skills! For example, if you were captain of a school football team, you are demonstrating leadership skills, so make sure that’s in your list!
Try not to have too many passive and solitary hobbies as this may come across as antisocial.
Here, you should include two people who can vouch for you and tell your potential employer how great you are for the role. A good combination would be an academic reference (teacher, tutor or lecturer) and a work reference (a current or previous employer). Make sure these are people who present you in a good light, as a reference can secure or lose a job.
Once you’ve got the layout down and completed each of the above sections, your CV should be ready to go. But before you start sending it out to potential employers, run through our CV checklist:
Fonts, font sizes and spacing are consistent throughout your CV
Headings and subheadings’ text are different from the main body (either through being made bold, underlined or slightly bigger)
There are absolutely NO spelling or grammatical mistakes
It’s clear and easy to read
There are no big blocks of text
There are no large blank spaces, particularly at the end of your CV
Text is aligned
Everything in your CV is truthful!
Now… you’re ready to send!