Advice on writing a CV
Your CV is incredibly important. It’s your potential employers very first impression of you. Here’s a few tips on how to write a compelling CV:
Your personal details
You should include your name, address and contact details. It’s up to you whether you include your age, marital status and nationality – recruiters should be able to make a decision about your skills and abilities without this information.
In this section you should summarise your:
- skills and qualities
- work background and achievements
- career aims
It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader’s attention. For example, if the job involves working with people, you could say you’re a good team-worker and an effective communicator. Be brief – you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.
Employment history and work experience
If you’ve been working for a while, you could put your employment history first; if you’re younger and don’t have much work experience, you might like to highlight your education and training.
In this section you should start with your present or most recent job and work backwards. You should include employer, the dates you worked for them, job title and your main duties. Provide more detail on the relevant jobs you’ve had and give examples of the skills you used and what you achieved. Use bullet pointed lists.
Try to relate your skills and experience to the job description or what you think the employer is looking for, if you’re sending your CV on spec. Also include any relevant temporary work and volunteering experience.
Avoid unexplained gaps in your employment history. If you had time out travelling, job seeking, volunteering or caring for a relative, include this along with details of what you’ve learned.
Education and training
Start with your most recent qualifications and work back to the ones you got at school. Using bullet points or a table include:
- the university, college or school you went to
- the dates the qualifications were awarded and any grades
- any work-related courses, if they’re relevant
Interests and achievements
You can include hobbies, interests and achievements that are relevant to the job. For example, if you’re involved in any clubs or societies this can show that you enjoy meeting new people. Try to avoid putting activities like cooking or reading, as these activities are too general and widespread to be of interest to an employer. Make them specific and interesting!
You can include this section if you need to add anything else that’s relevant, such as explaining that a gap in your employment history was due to travel or family reasons. You could also include other relevant skills here, such as if you have a driving licence or can speak any foreign languages.
At least one referee should be work-related; or if you haven’t worked for a while, some other responsible person who has known you for quite a while. You can list the contact details of your referees on your CV or just put ‘references available on request’. If you decide to include their details you could also state the relationship of each referee to you – for example ‘John Turner, Line Manager’.