CV Tips and advice

Your CV or Curriculum Vitae is the primary instrument you need to apply for a job. It is your opportunity to describe your working life, education, experience, skills and qualifications in a way that demonstrates the benefits of an employer hiring you.

Clearly there are some key pieces of information you need to include in your CV regardless of what type of job you are applying for such as contact details, education/professional qualifications and details of your previous roles. However, the way you present and structure this information will vary for each role you apply for.

 

  • Aim for clarity. Avoid decorative fonts, and don’t add an ornate border. You want to be noticed for what you say, not how you present it. It is important to be consistent with fonts and formatting, suing the same style for headings throughout for example.

  • Put your name at the top of the front page with your contact details directly underneath.

  • Have a clear structure that is easy to understand and read. Your aim is to present facts about yourself concisely.

 

  • Bullet points can help you say what you want to say in the limited space available. Keep them short and concise. Alternatively, you could use short, punchy paragraphs.

 

  • Recruiters may well have to tweak the formatting on your CV, so if sending to an agency, always send in a word doc rather than a PDF.

  • Your educational history, academic achievements and work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order; your university degree should come before your school exam results; your most recent job before your first.

 

  • Bear in mind most recruiters will remove colour and pictures, so make sure that you don’t depend on ‘extra touches’ for your CV to be clear.

 

  • Give it a clear filename, Including your full name: JohnSmithCV.doc

 

  • Never leave gaps. If you took a year out or carried out interim assignments, say so, otherwise employers can suspect the worst. Leave nothing to chance.

  • Leave your hobbies and interests until last and keep this section short.

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  • Check your CV carefully. Always run a spell check over it carefully and re-read to ensure accuracy. Ask a friend to proofread it also.

  • Your CV is the first impression your potential employer will have of you. Take the time to get it right, you may not have a second chance.

How to handle tricky subjects

  • Reasons for leaving jobs

    We would advise you not to put this on your CV. The decision to move is a complex and emotive issue and your statement could be misinterpreted. It is best to keep your CV positive and factual and leave this topic for discussion in an interview.

  • Gaps in experience

    Cover any gaps in your experience with a short, factual explanation. If you are a recent graduate with little work experience, consider mentioning skills learnt at university through group projects, your dissertation or thesis project and any volunteer work you have done.

  • Salary

    We would advise you to omit your salary details from your CV. You can discuss this at a more appropriate time, such as if you are offered an interview. Salary levels are dependent on many variables and they can be easily misconstrued.