How To Write a CV
Knowing what to include in your CV can be stressful, and sometimes you don’t know where to start. So, we’ve come up with a list of what you should include and where you can find templates to help you write your CV.
Read on for info on how to write the best CV, how to format everything, and put yourself in the best stand point to get the job you really want.
What is a CV?
A CV is a document that is used when applying to jobs. It stands for ‘curriculum vitae’ (you did not need to know this, but it’s a fun little fact, you never know when it will come up in a pub quiz). It’s basically a document showcasing your skills, qualifications, education and experience for your employer.
Quick Tips for Writing a Great CV
- Keep Your CV Updated: Once you have written your CV, make sure that you keep it up to date. Started a new job, gained a new skill or any experience?
- Tailor Your CV To The Job: It’s definitely worth tailoring your CV to the job you want. Just tweak your standard CV to fit the job that your applying to.
- Include a Cover Letter: Alongside your CV, include a cover letter, unless you are told not to. It’s an opportunity to highlight areas of your CV and skills that will really benefit the employer.
It’s a good idea to find a good CV template. There are loads of free templates available online that you can use to help figure out how you want to write the perfect CV. Websites such as CV Genius, CV Library and Live Career offer free templates. If you have Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, there are some templates on there that are tailored to CVs too. If you can find a template that fits what you want to go for, you have a great start point of how to lay it out, which can take the pressure away from making it look professional and appealing.
Things To Include on Your CV
To write the best CV you can, and give yourself the best chance of getting yourself an interview, you need to include all the fundamentals.
First things first, you’re going to want to include your contact details, because how else will your employer be able to reach you? This sounds obvious, we know! You will want to include your name, phone number and email address on your CV. If you haven’t updated your CV in a while, make sure these details are still correct.
A Brief Personal Statement
Consider including a personal statement in your CV. This shouldn’t be too long, and should highlight your key skills, especially the skills that will set you apart from other applicants. Although focusing on your key skills, you should also show your career goals. This will help to build your ‘profile’. Make this section relatively short, an employer does not need to know your whole back story.
Make sure you have all of your work experience listed on your CV, with your most recent work at the top. Include a brief description of what your role was within each job section. This will help your employer see what experience you have and what skills you have learnt. Make sure to include the name of the company you worked for, your job role and how long you have worked there for.
Add your education into your CV. You will want to include where you went to school and what qualifications you obtained (GCSEs, A Levels, Degree, or whatever equivalent you have). Put your most recent qualification at the top and the others beneath. If you are doing your degree, but have not yet graduated, just place ‘undergoing’ on your CV.
Skills & Achievements
Although you will put your achievements in your CV, it is also important to have a separate section for just your skills, as you won’t necessarily have a qualification for every skill set.
It is good to include any extra achievements that you have in your CV, as again, this shows a broad skill set. For example, if you completed Duke of Edinburgh (no matter which stage), definitely put that on there. It’s an ideal one to really show your dedication and perseverance!
Interests & Hobbies
Adding your interests or hobbies onto your CV will give your employer a little insight into what interests you outside of the workplace. This is also good as you may have an increased skill set from your hobbies. It may sound obvious, but please avoid putting on your CV that you live for the session and you enjoy pillow fights with your flatmates (an employer does not need to know this).
It is worth putting down on your CV that you have references available upon request, just in case they do need a couple of references from you. Initially, you don’t need to provide any names of your referee, you can just provide their details when you’re asked for them by your employer.
How to Format Your CV
However you write your CV, you’ll always want to remember, the simpler the better. You want everything to be clear and easy to read. Here are some ways in which you can format your CV so that it looks professional and it is easy to read for your employer.
- How Long Should Your CV Be? Realistically, you don’t want your CV to be too long; an employer doesn’t need to know every life detail. Make sure your CV isn’t any longer than 2 sides of A4. This is a general rule, and might not be the same for everyone and the job they’re applying for, but as a standard try and keep it concise as possible.
- Headings: Include headings in your CV so that everything is in categories. Having headings also sign posts sections for your employer, making it so much easier for them to read and to find the information they need.
- Fonts & Typography: Now, when writing your CV, do not get carried away with Word Art, or some fancy font. Stick to the professional fonts like Times New Roman, as this, again, makes it easy for an employer to read.
- Reverse Chronological Order: All of your work experience, achievements and education should be placed in reverse chronological order, so you have your most recent experience at the top. Again, this makes it more accessible for your employee.
- Use White A4 Paper: Always print your CV on white A4 paper. Again, it makes sure your CV is clear and easy to read, rather than it being printed on brightly coloured paper.
Get Help With Your CV
If you’re struggling to put your CV together, why not take it to your University’s Career’s Deparment? They will be able to help you figure out what’s right and wrong, and give you good professional advice on how to gear your CV up for the working world.
Unique Ways of Making Money or Applying for a Job
Although we have said that these are the best ways to write a professional CV, there are some people out there who have created super creative CVs for their job roles. We saw one girl who created a super unique application for her new job. So, some employees would absolutely love to see you bring out more of a creative side.
This has just been a guide for your standard CV, but that is not to say that there aren’t other ways of earning money. If you’re wondering how to find a job, and the best places and ways to apply, have a look at our How to Get a Job Guide For Students, find yourself an interview with our Jobs Finder. And if you’re going for the Highest Paid Jobs around, Click Here. Check out our Make Money Hub for more ideas!