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Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Steps on how to write a CV
First impressions count, especially when applying for jobs. Discover how to write a good CV and uncover handy CV tips and advice
What is a CV?
A CV, which stands for curriculum vitae, is a document used when applying for jobs. It allows you to summarise your education, skills and experience, enabling you to successfully sell yourself to employers.
In the USA and Canada CVs are known as résumés, these documents tend to be a more concise and follow no particular formatting rules.
How long should a CV be?
A standard CV in the UK should be no longer than two sides of A4. Take a look at our example of a standard, chronological CV for inspiration.
To ensure your CV runs across the preferred two pages only include the main points of your education and experience. To save space make sure that you only include relevant information and don't repeat information provided in your cover letter.
As a recent graduate your CV may only take up one page and that's fine. Some medical or academic CVs may be longer depending on your experience.
What to include in a CV
Contact details - Include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address. You do not need to include your date of birth or a photograph unless you're applying for an acting or modelling job.
Profile - Placed at the beginning of the CV, a profile is a concise statement that highlights your key attributes or reasons for deciding to work in a particular field. Pick out a few relevant achievements and skills, while articulating your career aims. It must focus on the sector you're applying to, as your cover letter will be job-specific. You should keep it short and snappy - 100 words is the perfect length. Discover how to write a personal statement for your CV.
Education - List and date all previous education, including professional qualifications, placing the most recent first. Include individual modules where relevant.
Work experience - List your experience in reverse chronological order, making sure that anything you mention is relevant to the job you're applying for. If you have plenty of relevant work experience, this section should come before education.
Skills and achievements - This is where you talk about the foreign languages you speak and the IT packages you can competently use. Whatever you list should be relevant to the job and not over-exaggerated, as you'll need to back up your claims at interview. If you have got lots of relevant skills you should do a skills-based CV.
Interests - Simply writing 'socialising, going to the cinema and reading' isn't going to catch the attention of the recruiter. However, when relevant to the job, your interests can provide a more rounded picture of who you are and give you something to talk about at interview. Examples include writing your own blog if you want to be a journalist, or being part of a drama group if you're looking to get into sales.
References - You don't need to provide the names of references at this stage. You also don't need to say 'references available upon request' as most employers would assume this to be the case. Photo credit: Prospect.ac.uk