A CV is a written overview of a person’s experience and other qualifications.
Clear and easy to read
A CV should be clear and easy to read with clearly defined headings and sub-headings.
Employers sometimes have to read through hundreds of CVs and it helps them to understand essential information when a CV is clearly laid out.
You in a nutshell
Your CV is an opportunity to tell potential employers about your skills and experience and what you can offer to them. It is the classic way of applying for jobs, although some employers prefer application forms, and believe it or not, some employers won’t even read your CV but might reach for your cover letter instead (we look at cover letters later on). Either way, it is important that however you apply for jobs you ensure that you give the employer as clear a picture of you as possible, in a concise and easy to follow format and without any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Spending time getting it right will give you the best possible chance of reaching the shortlist and getting an interview.
Top CV tips
Have a look at our top tips for writing the perfect CV:
Remember – Everyone is different
There is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution for a CV. Everyone is different and it is important that your CV tells potential employers about you and your skills – they want to know about you and what you can offer them!
Make sure you tailor your CV to each job that you apply for. Look at the job description, person specification and business’s website to work out what the essential skills required are and make sure your CV demonstrates that you have at least some of those skills.
If you don’t have all the experience or skills that are required but are interested in the job, apply anyway, be honest about where any gaps may fall and say that you will look at ways of bridging those gaps through training as an example.
Your CV should reflect your skills, strengths and achievements.
Highlight key experiences
Your CV should be clear and concise and easy to navigate, so perhaps use bullet points to set out your key responsibilities and achievements.
Check, check and double check
There are no excuses for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Get someone else to check and double check your CV to make sure it’s word perfect.
If the person checking your CV knows you well, ask them if they feel that it accurately reflects your skills and experience, and that it does you justice. They might tell you some good things about you which you might not have realised.
Up to date
Keep your CV up to date with new skills and experience, even when you are working!
Download and use the CV template (Word Doc) to form the basis of your CV. Enter essential information and write a clear and concise CV that will give potential employers a fair idea of you and your experience.
Your CV should be sent with cover letter which explains explain which job you are applying for and why. Download and use the Cover Letter Template (Word Doc).