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Our guides for employers and candidates on how to navigate the entry-level job market.

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How to Write a CV

Pretty much every job application requires a CV so if you’re hoping to get a job, writing your CV is a good place to start! Not just any old CV though, if you want to get your job hunt off to a flying start you’re going to have to invest some time into writing a killer CV. Luckily for you, this post is going to guide you through how to do just that.

Structure it well:

Your CV should have a very clear layout in order for the employer to be able to quickly ready through it and pick out the key bits of information. They shouldn’t have to search for anything – it should be jumping out at them!

Start off with writing your name at the top of your CV, where it is clearly visible and centrally aligned. We suggest having your name a couple of font sizes larger than the rest of the text in your CV so that it stands out. Do not write Curriculum Vitae at the top of your CV as it is very clear what this document is – and you don’t want to waste valuable space on your page! Underneath your name you need to put your contact details: home address, email address and phone number.

The rest of your CV should be divided into four sections: Education, Work Experience, Skills and Interests. These should all be neatly aligned and framed in the same way, e.g. your company or institution name should be aligned down the left hand columns, your role or qualification name down the centre of the document and the relevant date and location down the right hand column.

Include the necessary content:

They key here is to not repeat yourself! Each section of your CV has a very clear function and there should be no overlap in content anywhere Always write in the first person because it just sounds a bit strange talking about yourself in the third person when it is your CV… Here is the content that each section should include:

Education

  • University name, degree title, degree result and dates attended.
  • School name, A Level subjects and results, GCSE results. Don’t write out all your GCSE subjects, but summarise them instead, e.g. 4A*s, 2As, 1B. It’s important you list all your A-level subjects (or equivalent) though and your results for them. Do not write the addresses of your universities or schools – we sometimes see candidates do this and it just wastes valuable space on your CV!

Work Experience

  • Stick to three pieces of relevant work experience and have a maximum of three bullet points per piece of experience.
  • Remember to start each bullet point with a verb, e.g. “led”, “managed”, “built”. Our top tip here is to go through the job description and try and demonstrate that you match their requirements through your descriptions.

Skills

  • This is the place to put down any foreign languages that you speak or are learning, computer skills and extra qualifications. Remember to state your level of proficiency for each (beginner, intermediate or advance).

Remember to end your CV with “References available on request”. There is no need to write any information about your referees at this stage, if the employer wishes to they can ask you for this information once you have applied for their role. Check out our free CV templates for more information on how to structure your CV.

Format it properly:

As a rule, the more simple your CV the better. Unless you are applying for a particularly creative role, we recommending keeping to black and white with no images. This is what the employer expects to see and it makes it doesn’t distract from the key information that they are trying to pick out from your CV. Also, it’s almost guaranteed that your CV will be printed out in black and white, so it’s best to optimise it for that.

Use a font size between 11-12 and a standard font that looks professional that and is easy to read (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman). But remember that your name should be a few font sizes larger (14-15). Don’t underline or use italics as this makes your CV hard to read. If you want to highlight any important information then just use bold e.g. for your university/ school / company names.

Always save your CV as a PDF before sending it off (File> Save As> PDF) to avoid any formatting issues occuring. Make sure you name it clearly – we suggest “Your Name_CV” to avoid any confusion.

Include a personal profile?

There is a bit of debate surrounding the topic of adding a personal profile as part of your CV. We generally tend to advise against it unless you have a specific reason to include one, e.g. you are looking to change career direction or have an unexplained gap in your CV that you want to clarify. Generally though, you run the risk of repeating yourself later on in your CV. Also your cover letter is usually a good place to put any extra information of that sort.

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