Career Development – Writing a CV
Writing a CV can be a stressful task, especially if you’re starting from scratch… And although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for the perfect CV, it should always be clearly formatted and short enough for a recruiter to scan quickly – and role you’re applying for.
PERSONAL DETAILS: It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to include their name, email, contact phone number and address. To avoid any awkward moments, make sure these are clearly presented at the top of your CV. ‘Curriculum Vitae’ is an unnecessary title – your name is not.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: As it’s the first thing that’s shown on your CV, a personal statement is an essential part of standing out from the crowd. It explains who you are, what you’re offering, and what you’re looking for. Aim to prove why you’re suitable in one short and succinct paragraph.
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 clearly 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.
EDUCATION: List and date all previous education, including professional qualifications, placing the most recent first.
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.
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 you 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.
Avoid fonts such as Comic Sans. Instead, choose something more professional such as size-10 Arial. List everything in reverse chronological order so the recruiter sees your most impressive and recent achievements first. Keep it concise and easy to read by using clear spacing and bullet points. This type of CV layout allows employers to skim your CV and quickly pick out the important information. If you’re posting your CV, go with white A4 paper. Only print on one side and don’t fold your CV – you don’t want it to arrive creased.