Pretty much every job application requires a CV. Although it isn't the be-all and end-all of your job search, it is very easy to shoot yourself in the foot with a bad one. Here at TalentPool we find that sometimes talented applicants are falling at the first hurdle of the job application process by submitting a CV that simply doesn't do them justice.
So, to help you create a CV that shows of your great potential to a prospective employer, we've created the ultimate TalentPool CV guide to set you off to a flying start in your job hunt:
First thing's first, these do's and don'ts apply to all graduate CVs and are the most common errors we see come up time and time again:
At the top of your CV your name should be clearly visible and centrally aligned. It's a good idea to have your name a few font sizes larger than the rest of your CV so that it is really clear whose CV this is. Underneath your name you need to put your contact details: home address, email address and mobile phone number.
The main body of your CV should consist of four carefully organised and identified sections - Education, Work Experience, Languages & Skills and Interests. These sections should all be neatly aligned and framed in a similar manner, e.g. Company/ Institution name aligned down the left hand column, Role/Qualification down the centre and Date & Location down the right hand column. Employers rarely spend longer than a minute looking at a CV so they must be able to, at a glance, have a good understanding of who you are. Finish your CV off with "References available upon request" at the bottom of your page - there's no need to provide your referees' contact details at this stage, the employer can request this information if they wish later on.
There should be no overlap in content between your four CV sections - each one has a very clear function. Remember that within each section everything should be listed chronologically (most recent accomplishments first). This is an outline of what you should be including under each section:
Keep the information in your CV as concise as possible. Don't go into great amounts of detail - remember it's always good to save something to talk about in interview! Stick to short, snappy bullet points and avoid any lengthy paragraphs.
You must tailor your CV to each role you apply to. Everything on your CV should be there to serve a purpose - all elements should be functional, not decorative.
Otherwise it's very hard to be original and to not repeat what you're just going to say later on in your CV or cover letter
Should I include a personal profile? Don't feel like you need to include one - a badly written one will only work to your disadvantage. Only write a personal profile if you have something specific you feel the employer needs to know, for example, it's a good place to explain any gaps in your work experience. Otherwise it's very hard to be original with a personal profile and to not repeat what you're going just going to say later on in your CV or in your cover letter.
Unless you're applying for a role in a company that has specifically asked for a creative CV, it's best to keep it plain and simple. Stick to a font size between 11-12 and a standard font that is easy to read and looks professional (Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial). Don't use any colour - employers usually print out CVs in black and white anyway! Also avoid underlining any text because this can be very difficult to read - if you would like to highlight any section headings or important bits of information in your CV such as company or university name, use bold.
Before you send your CV off, be sure to save the file as a PDF (File > Save As > Change file type to PDF) otherwise you risk all your hard work appearing as a confused mess on the employer's screen. Make sure you also choose a sensible name to save your CV as, we suggest "Your Name_CV".
To help you get that CV really sparkling, here are our master CV templates for you to use. Your CV doesn't need to look exaclty like them, but make sure you're hitting the key points outlined above!