Writing your CV can be a daunting and time consuming process but it is important to get it right as we all know first impressions count! In some cases you may be competing against many other candidates for a role and a well written CV will help to demonstrate why you are suited to that particular role and give you an edge. We’ve put together an overview of the content that should be included in your CV as a guide below. Last but not least, don’t forget to spell check, many employers will throw it straight in the bin if there are spelling and/or grammatical errors.
Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth, telephone number and email.
Education and qualifications
Your degree subject and university, plus A levels and GCSEs or equivalents.
- Use action words such as developed, planned and organised.
- Try to relate the skills to the job. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem solving skills so focus on these whereas for a marketing role you would place a bit more more emphasis on persuading and negotiating skills.
Interests and achievements
- Keep this section short and to the point.
- Bullets can be used to separate interests into different types: sporting, creative etc.
- Don’t use the old boring cliches here: “socialising with friends”.
- Don’t put many passive, solitary hobbies (reading, watching TV, stamp collecting) or you may be perceived as lacking people skills.
- Show a range of interests to avoid coming across as narrow : if everything centres around sport they may wonder if you could hold a conversation with a client who wasn’t interested in sport.
- Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary can help you to stand out from the crowd: skydiving or mountaineering can show a sense of wanting to stretch yourself and an ability to rely on yourself in demanding situations
- Any interests relevant to the job are worth mentioning: current affairs if you wish to be a journalist; a fantasy share portfolio if you want to work in finance.
- Anything showing evidence of employability skills such as teamworking, organising, planning, persuading, negotiating etc.
- The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational French, basic Spanish), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills” and driving (“full current clean driving licence”).
- If you are a mature candidate or have lots of relevant skills to offer, a skills based CV may work for you
Normally two referees are sufficient. Where possible these should be your previous direct managers.