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How to write a C.V.

15 November 2013

Owning an up-to-date C.V. these days is a necessity, but possessing a moderate C.V. can be just as damaging as not having one. This guide to writing a C.V. is not only making sure you have a relevant C.V. that employers will read but also at helping you stand out from the crowd.

What to include;

· Personal details - name, address, date of birth, telephone number and email address.

· Personal statement – this is your main selling point and is an ideal opportunity to exhibit in a couple of paragraphs why you are the right person for the job. You should be able demonstrate relevant experience or crossover skills for the role for which you are applying.

· Education and qualifications - your degree subject, result and university, plus A-levels and GCSEs or equivalents.

· Previous employment, paid/unpaid – listing relevant job role (don’t mention a routine that has no relevance for this job). Try to link relevant previous experience with the role you are applying for. Bullet points are quite useful for highlighting your key skills.

· Interests and achievements – anything you have achieved in your own time and your main interests. Most employers will use this section as a topic of conversation, so be careful what you declare and don’t use clichés like socialising with friends.

· Reference – you should list two references (one from your current employer).

What makes a good C.V?

· Target it to the specific job you are applying for - you should include details that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. Remember it is estimated recruiters spend six seconds per C.V. when sifting through applications and they will be looking for key words during that process.

· Clearly laid out, not cramped, looks inviting and easy to read.

· Content is accurate in spelling and grammar - employers aren’t going to read a C.V. that is full of errors, so check your spelling and grammar carefully. Your C.V. is your first chance to make an impression on a potential new recruiter, so make sure you make the RIGHT impression.

· The length of the C.V. is important; it should not be too long, as employers do not have time to read through a long document. Try to keep it between one or two sides of A4. Be concise and do not include information that isn’t relevant.

· Even if you are just starting out, you have already racked up a wealth of experience through school, university projects, hobbies and extra-curricular activities. List the skills you have developed as a result (example below). It is still important to list skills you have gained that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Employers do not want to have to read through a lot of information to find the necessary skills they are looking for.

· Project & budget management: Treasurer of University Student Union

· Commitment: completed Duke of Edinburgh Award

· IT skills: fully proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel & PowerPoint), basic HTML

Target and tailor

Every role has unique requirements, so sending out a one-size-fits-all C.V. just will not work. With each application, review your experience – from Saturday jobs and school projects to that summer internship – and tweak your work history to prove you are the perfect fit. The closer your skills match the job description, the closer you are to getting the job.

Put the odds in your favour by creating two or three tailored versions of your resume. Highlight different skills and experience on each; for example, a retail candidate may have a sales, supervisor and customer services C.V.

There is no definitive version of the perfect C.V. as long as employers are reading it and you get invited to an interview. If this is not the case, get friends or family to look over it to try to help figure out how it can be improved.

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