What is a CV?
CV stands for curriculum vitae. It is a overview of your past work experience, skills, qualifications and education.
How long should a CV be?
A typical CV in the UK is usually 2 sides of A4 however, this could be longer depending on your experience.
What should I include in my CV?
Your CV needs to include relevant information that is more likely to get you hired. It should include:
- contact details – include full name, address, mobile phone number and email address;
- education – list and date all previous education, placing the most recent highest up the page. Include any professional qualifications;
- referees – two people who can provide positive comments on your previous employment or experiences;
- skills – for example, the ability to work in a team, manage people, customer service skills, or specific IT skills;
- work experience – this can be internships, voluntary roles or previous jobs. Add the most recent/relevant positions and examples of tasks.
What should I leave out of my CV?
- the term curriculum vitae or résumé
- a photo
- date of birth or place of birth
Do I need to add a profile?
A personal profile is not necessary but it will help the employer get to know you a bit better, giving you a better start. It only needs to be short and is also known as a personal statement.
Do I list work experience or education first?
If your experience is more relevant to the job than your education then put that first and vice versa.
Should I include hobbies in my CV?
It is not compulsory but most employers like to hear about you. Generic hobbies such as going to the cinema and reading are pointless, so you can leave them out. But hobbies such as being a coach out of work or doing a language course can be quite useful.
How do I write a great CV?
There are many ways to create an exceptional CV, but for a solid foundation, concentrate on four main points:
- Grammar – there should be no mistakes in your CV. Use a spell checker and enlist a second pair of eyes to check over the text. Try and include as many active words as possible to increase the impact of your CV. Use active verbs to replace passive verbs and nouns wherever possible. For example, you could include targeted words like ‘created’, ‘analysed’; and ‘devised’ to present yourself as a person that shows initiative.
- Layout – place your most attractive skills and talents towards the top of your CV to boost your chances of impressing an employer. The same rule applies to listing grades – always place your highest grade first.
- Presentation – keep your CV neat and make sure it is easy on the eye. Bullet points should be used to tidy up any lists. Your choice of font can have more impact than you might think. The University of Kent careers service suggest using 10 point Verdana or Lucida Sans with a larger typeface for headings and sub-headings. You should always avoid Comic Sans.
- Style – there a various types of CV you can employ. Think carefully about what style will suit your needs.
How do I explain a gap in my CV?
You should always tell employers, but disclose this information in your cover letter.
Do I need to write a cover letter?
You should always include a cover letter unless the employer states otherwise. It will enable you to personalise your application to the job. You can draw attention to a particular part of your CV, disclose a disability or clarify gaps in your work history.