6 Tips for Writing a Great CV

Writing a CV can be a difficult task, especially when you’re not really sure what to include or how to structure it in the most effective way. We’ve listed a number of tips that will help you to write the perfect CV to increase your chances of landing that dream job.

Don’t forget that your CV and covering letter are what your potential employer will see first, so creating a good first impression is key here. The most effective curriculum vitae will showcase your most relevant skills and experiences, while also persuading a prospective employer that you are the best candidate for the job.

Include a profile section

No matter what job it is that you’re looking to bag, including a profile section at the beginning of your CV is a fantastic call. This gives your potential employer a brief introduction about you and your background, as well as giving you the perfect opportunity to really sell yourself.

You must ensure first and foremost that you include the most relevant job roles and experience to the job that is being advertised, including memorable facts about yourself that will help pair you with the job on offer. To do this, write a couple of sentences that summarise your experience, as well as skills and perhaps even your proudest moment in your career or notable achievement.

Ensure that you are concise throughout, remaining personable and most importantly, employable.

Work experience is key

Work experience is perhaps one of the most vital elements of your CV, especially if you are fresh out of university and you are applying for your first job. Graduate CVs should be able to fully demonstrate your academic credentials as well as prominent work experience, voluntary work or apprenticeships that align with your chosen career path, as well as your area of study. In fact, sometimes work experience can actually be the deciding factor when employers are interviewing candidates for full-time positions. If you can showcase your skill in a workplace environment, then you are well on your way to landing that dream job.

Remain honest and factual

Typically, in any interview situation, your CV will be used to form the basis of the conversation while you are there, and potentially form the foundation on which the job is built going forward. If you give false information in your CV then this will inevitably lead to problems further down the line if you are selected for the role.

Focus on value

When a prospective employer picks up your CV, you need to remember that they will be asking themselves whether you can do the job, and if you will fit into their company. To tackle this, you need to include the following:

  • Introduction with a strong positioning statement – This will summarise your attributes, both personal and professional. Keep this short and sweet
  • Focus on the value of your experience – If you’re using references to certain situations or projects that you have worked on throughout career or during work experience, make sure that you include reasons why this may have been valuable to the business.
  • Provide evidence – You should back up each statement you make with evidence, for example “I helped to improve productivity within my team with a number of new initiatives that contributed to the reduction of downtime by 10%”, or “Building a relationship with a new client I met at a networking event meant that I won £25k worth of new business for the company three months later.”
  • Highlight your suitability – Tailor your CV around each role you are applying for to make it easier for the employer to see why you are suitable for their role. It is also wise to point out the type of value that you could bring to the business.

Make it easy to read

Keeping your CV short, concise and free from buzzwords can actually stand you in good stead compared with other CVs that go on for ages and are pages long. Use short sentences and bullet points where you can, as you can use these points to expand on during your interview.

Structure and layout is key

The layout of your curriculum vitae needs to be clutter-free, including lots of white space and wide margins. Typeface is also integral, so using something like Times New Roman or Arial will suffice. Don’t attempt to jazz your CV up by using a ridiculous font that is unreadable, as it will just let you down and decrease your chances of an interview offer. A 10-12 point font size is also advisable, with a 14-16 point for headings.

For an example of how your your CV should be structured, we’ve put together a handy template for you to use. This should help to save you time, and if you follow all of these simple tips, you’re onto a strong, winning CV. Download our useful sample CV below and fill out as you wish. Good luck!

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