A CV is a necessary part of job hunting, it’s the first thing an employer will see and it gives many impressions before you even have a chance for an interview. Therefore, it’s important that your CV is interesting and well written, whether you’re applying for work experience placements during college to help your application to university, applying for a summer job between semesters at university or job hunting once you’re fully qualified.
There are some basic things to include in every CV, beginning with contact details. They can be kept on file for long periods of time, so you need contact details to remain accurate for a while. Include a daytime phone number, a mobile number, an email address and where you live. Make sure that the information is correct, it’s so easy to accidentally put the wrong phone number.
An introductory paragraph is a nice touch, but keep it as short as possible. You can even merge this with a hobbies and interests section. Mention your career goals, what you’re doing at the moment and a little bit about you.
List your qualifications in reverse chronological order (degree, A-levels, GCSE’s), where you studied for them and the year that you achieved them. Nowadays many students do a lot of qualifications in secondary school, so you can just say something along the lines of “10 GCSE’s grades A*- C including English, maths, science and ICT” rather than listing them all. It takes up too much space if you have a lot of other things to include. The more qualifications you have, the less the older ones matter.
A hobbies and interests section is a good way to put your personality across in a CV, but they aren’t always necessary. If you have really relevant interests or lots of team events that show you to be a team player, then definitely include this section. If you have a major goal that you’re working towards, such as running the London Marathon or raising £1000 for charity it’s good to put that in too, as it shows a determination and commitment. Alternatively, if you’ve already achieved something spectacular that you’re proud of and can easily talk about in an interview, there’s no harm in including that if it’s relevant. Keep this section relatively short.
Previous work experience is essential, include the rough dates when you worked there and who it was with. Briefly explain your responsibilities and tasks, and then say what it helped you learn and what you took away from this job. Show that you’re adaptable, and that the skills you learned in one job can be easily transferred to the next. If you haven’t got much, or any, work experience, put down any positions of responsibility you’ve had – being a prefect at school, helping to look after an elderly relative, babysitting, etc.
If you can drive, include it in your CV as it makes you more appealing and versatile to employers. Use simple language, avoid using ‘I’ too much, don’t go over two pages in length and be as honest as you can; there is a difference between a lie and an exaggerated truth. Put yourself in a highly positive light, but if you lie you’re likely to be found out in an interview. Keep everything concise, avoid flashy formatting (no 2003 word art ever) and borders can be annoying. Finally, get someone to read it over for you and suggest any changes.