This section will give you hints and tips on how to create a good CV.
This section should perhaps be called selling yourself, as after all that is the aim of your CV, if you don’t tell potential employers how good you are no-one else is going to do it for you, and if you want that job, you will have to be better than everyone else to get it.
Your CV is the first step to getting your next job, and for giving you the best chance of using your experience and potential by getting your dream job or contract, so read on for some good basic advice on writing a strong CV, and hopefully taking a step forward in your career.
There’s no need to put CV or “curriculum vitae” at the top, although if you do make sure you spell it right! Just put your name across the top, centred, and perhaps one or two font sizes larger than the body of the text below. Then leave a space and on the line below on one line put your address, and then underneath the best phone number to contact you on and finally your email address. Please double check your contact details, you may be surprised the number of people who put the wrong phone number down and wonder why employers never phone them!
Here is an example of a good clear start to a CV:
23 Woodlands Road, Sometown, Anywhere. YO23 4XZ
Availability: 2 weeks notice
Recent age legislation in the UK means that you no longer have to put your age or date of birth but you may wish to put your notice period particularly if it is short.
You could put a personal statement next, which is your chance to capture your readers eye and make them want to take the time to read the rest of the CV.
Employers typically make a judgement within the first few lines of the CV and will often scan the rest of the CV.
Make sure that your statement is relevant to the job you are applying for and highlights very quickly that you have the skills, qualifications and experience they are looking for. This is the point to convince them that they should at least read the rest of your CV, then ideally shortlist you, call you for interview and ultimately appoint you.
Think Skills, Experience and Qualifications
Here is an example of the type of start to a personal statement which might grab the readers attention:
Janine is a degree qualified and experienced chartered Civil Engineer; she has 5 years experience in Tunnel design and has worked for a leading multidisciplinary consultancy. Janine has experience of managing a team of 5 junior engineers, undertaking site surveys and completing desk studies and completing designs using Xbox software
At this stage any employer looking for a Tunnel Engineer is definitely going to read on, as at this point the candidate appears to have it all. Use the same method, keep it concise and to the point and sell your best assets for the job. Although it’s tempting don’t waste a paragraph saying what a good sense of humour you have, or that you have wide experience, or have worked in many sectors. You must be specific in your information and relevant to the role you are chasing.
Layout and Presentation
The layout of your CV is important as first impressions really do count. Don’t over complicate the layout with fancy fonts, italics, BLOCK CAPITALS, excessive underlining, background text and graphics and blocks of text in borders. You see how much more difficult it was to read this last sentence? All these things do are distract the reader from the message, and if you are passing your CV to an agency, it will make it more difficult and time consuming for them to process your CV.
Most importantly please check your spelling and grammar. It doesn’t matter what job you are hoping to get, all employers look for good spelling and grammar, and will consider that if you haven’t taken the time and effort to make a good job of your CV, then that will probably reflect your attitude to your work. So, take your time to check it and use your spell check.
Keep it simple:
- Left justify
- Choose one simple font – Times New Roman or Ariel are both ok, and keep it the same throughout
- Bold the titles but don’t overdo it, there’s no need to OVERDO IT
- Keep the layout and format the same all the way through
- Bullet point your specific duties in each job
- Check your spelling and grammar
For each previous job you have held create a new section with dates, job title, employer and then list the duties, i.e.
Feb 2002 –Jan 2004 Lumberjack, Tree Fellers Ltd, Forest of Dean
- Responsible for felling 2000 trees per year
- Supervised 3 junior members of staff
- Trained in the use of power tools and chainsaws
- Responsible for safe disposal of tree cuttings
- Used LEAFCAD software level 3
Writing your CV in this format will provide clarity to the reader. Remember to put your most recent job first and then work backwards. Think about all the things you did in your job and what you achieved, make a list and then put them into bullet points, never assume that the reader knows what you have done, if you don’t tell them they won’t know. Again be specific and relevant
Unless you recently left school, the number and grades of your O’Levels or GSCEs are less important, if you have further qualifications or vocational training courses and particularly if they apply to the role you are looking for them make sure these are clearly shown, with dates and institutions. If your qualifications are highly relevant then put them high up on the CV before your work history, if not then leave them till the end.
Hobbies and Interests
This section can say a lot about you, (which can be a bad or a good thing!) If you are applying for a job as a dog walker, and particularly enjoy taxidermy in your spare time, then your CV might not be the place to declare your interest. However, if you enjoy taxidermy and are applying for a job in a natural history museum then this might just be the section that clinches it for you. This could be the place to show your interest in your local community and voluntary activities too, although again if you are church warden, school governer and look after an ageing relative it might be best to miss this information off if you are applying for a job based offshore overseas with a rotation of 6 months on and 1 week off..
There is no need to put your references on your CV at this stage, after all if you are in a permanent job now, you probably won’t be too pleased if someone contacts your line manager while you are still working there for a reference. However for contract positions you will normally be required to supply the names and contact details of 2 work related referees.
Any questions don’t be afraid to contact us.