CV

We know it’s time consuming, but the importance of tailoring your CV to each different role cannot be stressed enough. It’s the first impression you’ll make and if the specific information the employer is looking for doesn’t ‘jump off the page’ for them, you may not get any further in the process.

Your CV

general profile achievements qualifications skills employment hobbies

General

  • Presentation – Stick to one font throughout, use simple formatting with no boxes or tables and 2-3 pages maximum. Underline or use bold type or capitals for headings and bullets to summarise detail.
  • Dates – Make sure education and employment dates tie up and there are no unexplained gaps.
  • Check spelling and grammar and ask a friend to check it.  Spell checks don’t always pick everything up! 
  • Re-read your CV – does it ‘flow’, make sense and look good?

Profile

This should be a genuine reflection of your strengths – you may be asked to give real life examples to support your statements at interview.

Achievements

Give facts and figures, not waffle, e.g. increased sales by £20,000 within 6 months, reduced 70% of aged debtors by 30 days.

Qualifications

Include number of GCSE’s, but not every grade – 9 GCSE’s (all A-C) is sufficient, but give A’level grades, degree subject and class and any vocational qualifications.

Skills

It’s useful to list specialist skills such as IT packages, etc. separately to make them stand out, especially if the job you are applying for requires them.  State level of competence, e.g. advanced, or describe what you can do.

Employment History

Check your CV is bang up to date!  Start with your most recent job and work backwards.  Use a heading for each job, in bold type, giving dates, job title and employer (explain what the company does if it’s not obvious from the name).  If you’ve had a series of sequential temp jobs, list these under a single heading to avoid looking like a ‘job hopper’.

  • In the duties section, make sure you clearly demonstrate where you’ve had the experience/used the skills required in the Job Description of the role you are applying for.  Minimise or leave out completely, less relevant information.
  • Explain any gaps – e.g. 3 years spent raising a family or caring for a relative; 1 year spent travelling, etc.
  • If you’ve changed jobs frequently at any time due to relocation, redundancy, or another unavoidable reason, include this information.

Hobbies

You don’t have to add these but it is useful to give the reader a better idea of who you are.  Don’t include things like ‘socialising’ as it adds nothing to your CV.  Be specific and give interesting details, e.g. I enjoy crafts and enter national competitions, recently winning 2nd place for my felt toy designs; or I enjoy sports and regularly play for my local cricket club.  Do make sure you include any voluntary work you’ve done.

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