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How to Write a CV

Wed 18 June 2014

How to Write a CV

Writing a good CV can make all the difference when it comes to getting an interview for a job. It’s the first thing a potential employer will see, so it has to give them a good impression of your skills and attitude to work.

We’ve put together a guide to help you write your CV, so you can maximise your chances of getting the job you want.

What should go on your CV

The basic format for a CV should include:

  • Your personal details, including name, address, phone number, and email. You don’t need to include your date of birth because of age discrimination rules.
  • A personal statement giving a brief run-down of your qualities and ambitions in order to sell yourself to the employer.
  • Career history, starting with your most recent job first, including dates of employment for each role. Also list any relevant temporary or voluntary work here.
  • Achievements from your previous roles if relevant.
  • Education and any relevant qualifications from previous jobs.
  • Interests help to give a more rounded picture, and might also demonstrate other skills, but try to keep them relevant to the job you’re going for.
  • Other relevant information about career changes or gaps in your CV due to caring or family obligations, or anything else you feel is important for the employer to know.
  • Referees, preferably from at least two people and including your most recent employer.

How to write it

As well as knowing what information to include in your CV, it’s just as important to know how it should be presented.

Every time you apply for a job, you need to tailor your CV for that specific role. Use the job advertisement or listing as a guide for what you need to include. It will say what the skill and experience requirements of the job are, so highlight these skills on your CV. You should also tailor your personal statement to emphasise your interest in the role and the company you’re applying for.

Your CV should always be typed in a clear and easily readable font. Your local library will have computers for public use if you don’t have your own.

Don’t be tempted to make your CV stand out with gimmicks – pictures, coloured paper, fancy borders, or anything like that will almost certainly see your CV go in the bin before it is even read.

It should also never be more than two sides of A4, and if you can get it all on one side that’s even better. Keep the information concise and to the point, as the reader is likely to skim the information to start with, so the more he or she can pick out the better.

Another sure-fire way for your CV to be rejected is because of spelling errors. Check absolutely everything carefully several times over, and always ask someone else to look over it too, especially if spelling isn’t your strong point.

The main things to remember are to be positive and upbeat in everything you write, and make it all as clear and easy to understand as possible. If you follow these simple rules and really take the time to tailor your CV to each employer, you should find you get invited to interviews much more often than not.

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