Your CV is your own personal advertisement; it should be used to sell your skills, experiences and abilities to potential employers.
A CV is different to an application form because it is usually much shorter, it isn’t structured by the employer and it provides you with the opportunity to write freely to a design and format of your preference.
Employers can often receive hundreds of applications per job, so it is vital that you make sure your CV stands out, showcasing your skills but without being overly long. Typically, a CV should be no more than two sides of A4.
You can free up space by leaving out or editing information that is less important, as each CV you produce should be adapted to fit the job you are applying for. You can also just include details of your most recent qualifications, which are more relevant to the role and summarise the rest.
Important information that should be on all CV’s includes: name, email address, contact number and home address but you should not include your date of birth or gender information. A useful tip is put your name and email address on the top of every page in case the pages become separated once printed. Equally important is the need to have a professional email address, employers will not look favourably on an ‘IloveJustinB’ email address. Your name and surname as the basis of your email address are more than sufficient.
If you don’t have any job relevant experience, don’t panic, think about the experiences you have had e.g. school work experience, voluntary work, helping at home, babysitting, performing in a show or band or as part of a sports team and what transferable skills these have taught you.
Your CV should always be written using professional language. Slang, abbreviations and the way you may speak with close friends should be avoided. Instead, use language which suggests that you are ready to do the job and more importantly, are capable of doing so. Positive words such as ‘launched’, ‘managed’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘motivated’, ‘supervised’, and ‘achieved’ are all great ways to describe your achievements.
Your CV should be structured with your most recent education and experiences first. If you have any gaps in your CV, you should explain these, to avoid employers making assumptions or thinking the worst.
Crucially, don’t ever lie about yourself – in the era of social media, employers will find out!
Finally, you should always ask someone else to read over your CV when you feel it is complete. They should check for spelling, grammar and structure errors and also that your CV makes sense!
If you need help drafting a CV, National Careers Service have a great CV template resource. Check it out here.