Without a CV, you really stand little to no chance of getting that perfect job. A CV is the lifeline of any aspiring employee, and without one no one will look twice at you. Unfortunately, it’s not just enough to have a CV these days. Your CV has to stand out, make employers take notice and show them who you are – all in a couple of pages!
Sounds like a daunting task, which is why we’ve compiled this list to help you write the perfect CV for the perfect job.
A great CV will allow you to show off your skillset and experience that is tailored to the position that you have in mind. If you’re churning out the same generic, poorly presented CV to each prospective employer, you’re doing yourself a disservice. It’s time to up your game.
What is a CV?
First things first, CV stands for curriculum vitae, and basically is an advertisement for yourself and your skills. It should include your skills, professional history, education history, achievements and relevant personal information.
In short, it needs to tell any potential employers why they should give you a chance.
What to include?
Your name, professional title (if relevant), and contact details – i.e. phone number and email address should be at the top of the page. Many people make the mistake of putting ‘CV’ at the top of their page – which is entirely unnecessary. Potential employers know what document they’re looking at, and to write it down is just a waste of paper. Treat your name as the title, which looks better – and makes you stand out more.
It is key to include a few brief sentences in the first part of your CV. This acts as an introduction to any employer and is your biggest chance (and first) chance to sell yourself. Your personal statement should cover who you are (a line on your current employment), what you can offer the company, why you want to work for them, and any career goals you have.
A personal statement should be short and sweet, getting the point across quickly and succinctly. Too many people have lost out on a job or even an interview by rambling on in their personal statement.
Experience and employment history
Your previous experience and employment history is the chance to show employers what skills you have which are transferable or directly relate to the job they’re hiring for. You should list these in chronological order, starting with your current or most recent job.
Make sure to state your job title, who you are/were employed by, the dates you worked for them and a brief line to summarise your role. It is also useful to bullet point your key responsibilities and achievements, so they can be read at a glance.
Many employers will require a certain level of education to acquire the job. This section of your CV isn’t hard, you simply need to put your education history (starting with the most recent). This includes where you obtained the education, the dates and the grade you achieved.
However, you don’t need to go into specifics. If you have 9 GCSE’s then all you need to put is “9 GCSE’s, Grade A-C (including English and Maths). Listing every single GCSE you took is a waste of your time, their time, and paper.
Key skills/hobbies and interests
This section should also be relatively short, as you should have listed many of your key skills in the experience and employment section. This is the place to put skills that you have naturally such as “good communicator” or “good sense of humour”.
You should also put any hobbies or interests you have – it gives the employer a chance to see who you are as a person. Don’t feel like you have to give out loads of hobbies though – be honest and just choose the ones you most enjoy.
It’s important – so important – to tailor your CV for every different job you apply for. Depending on the role you want, you should tailor your skills to include things they’re looking for and leave out irrelevant information. Same with education, personal statement and skills.
Don’t fill hundreds of pages with everything about yourself. Keep it to the point, relevant and interesting.