How to Achieve a 1st in CV Writing
It is at this time of year that many students will be celebrating as they hand in their final pieces of coursework and sit that last dreaded exam, before packing up their things and moving out of the student digs they have lived in for the past three years. If you’re part of this huge migration back home then you may be worrying about what life holds for you next, and the reality is that it can be whatever you want it to be.
The first thing you need to tackle as you leave university and finish your degree is your CV, and whilst you may have had one to help you find part-time jobs which paid the bills over the past few years, this one needs careful thought and consideration to make it the perfect graduate CV that will land you your dream role.
Where Do I Start?
Let’s start at the very beginning; it’s a very good place to start! Look at the job role that you are applying for and note down the key skills and attributes that they are looking for, as this way you can ensure that you tailor your CV to the company you are looking to join. In terms of layout, you really have free reign to do what you want, but remember you need to make sure your CV stands out from the crowd, and this doesn’t necessarily mean using lots of colours or pictures (although this can be good if applying for a creative job). It simply needs to be logical and easy to read, making sure the employer can find what they want easily.
What about the Content?
This is obviously the most important area, and one that needs thinking about carefully. There are a few general elements that you need to include:
- Personal Details- How can they contact you? Phone number, address, email? Make sure they are all current and working!
- Key Skills/Personal Statement- Don’t waste space with this section, as too many people simply fill it up with a blurb about general things and don’t point out specifics about them as an individual. Use 3 or 4 lines to outline what you want to achieve in your career; focus and direction is key here.
- Education- There’s no general rule of how you set out your education section; many people start with the most recent, but you could start with what is most relevant to the job itself. Remember, don’t spend half a page listing your GCSE’s only to put a line or two about your degree, as the amount of space given shows the importance you give to each element.
- Employment- Possibly the most important aspect to your content as this will show what you have done in the past, and don’t fret about the number of part-time jobs you had whilst studying as employers understand this; instead, focus on what you took from these jobs in terms of your personal development and key skills.
- Interests- This is an area that will allow the employer to understand more about you and your personality. Again, with the other elements don’t simply write a list, explain in detail what each interest brings to the role and you as a person.
- Additional Info- You don’t have to include this section, but it can be good for anything that isn’t in your CV elsewhere, such as if you have a full driving licence, other qualifications, language and IT skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for.
- References- The final part to your CV, and a vital area (if you don’t put anything people may think you’re hiding something) although saying this, you don’t have to put them down, you can simply say “references available on request”. It’s standard practice to have 2, one from an academic sector and one that’s a previous employer, but remember to always check for permission first!
Now that you know what to include and how to do it effectively, you should be on your first step to landing that perfect role to start your dream career today. Remember, this is your shop window so do all you can to dress it well!
About the author: This blog was written for Morgan Hunt, a leading recruitment agency that offers a wide range of unrivalled services to help you in your search for the perfect job.