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CV Writing Tips and Advice

Your CV or Curriculum Vitae is a sales document - it is an opportunity for you to sell yourself to a prospective employer and if tailored to the job you are applying for, it will provide evidence that you are a good candidate for the position on offer.

Building Your CV

To save you time we have prepared 3 different styles of CV template for you to download and enter your details into. The templates are in Microsoft Word Document (.doc) format, so you will need software capable of reading such files.

Using the Templates

  1. Choose the Micorsoft Word CV template you like best, or download the whole set of 3 as a ZIP file (13Kb)
  2. Click the image below and save a copy of the file on your computer
  3. Each template is set out as a series of fields for you to fill in, gradually building up the content of your CV
  4. Refer to our Structuring Your CV guide below to gain useful tips on how to fill the template with your information
  5. Replace all the placeholder text in the template with your own details ensuring a true and accurate reflection of your achievements and work history is presented
  6. If you can, try printing out the CV to ensure it looks as you expect it to
  7. Save a copy of the finished file on your computer and then send us your new CV

 

Structuring Your CV

A CV is normally issued as a 2 or 3 page document with a covering letter that highlights your specific skills and abilities and the previous experience you have to offer to the prospective new employer. To present yourself successfully you will need to think about what the employer is looking for in a candidate and arrange your most significant skills and experiences as early as possible in the CV to demonstrate how you meet the most important requirements of the job.

Your CV should ideally be no longer than 2 or 3 pages or 3 to 4 pages for CVs for contract personnel where there are more assignments to cover. The prospective employer will initially scan your CV for suitability within the first 30 seconds, so to ensure you have the most impact, it is advisable to follow this structure of presenting key points:

Your Full Name and Your Contact Details

Your full address, telephone number(s) and email address.

A Personal Statement - this is optional

An employer will usually be impressed if you itemise a focused idea of where you would like your career to be headed. Although this is not essential, it is normally a good idea to include a statement along these lines.

Education/Professional Qualifications

List your academic successes. Include dates, type of institution, location and principal subjects and examination results. List your highest qualifications first. Remember to include memberships of professional bodies.

Expertise/Skills Summary

Provide a bullet point guide to the skills you possess and those you have been trained in. This will allow the prospective employer the chance to see immediately that you have the key matches to their vacancy.

Work Experiences

Provide a chronological list of organisations from present or most recent job backwards, a description of what they do and a description of your duties and responsibilities at each. Ensure that each section of employment is clearly headed up with the employing organisation’s name and your title(s) at each.

Other Responsible Positions

It is worth detailing any appointments you have held in professional organisations, whether they are related to your employment background or not.

Leisure Interests

List a few of your principal leisure activities, so that the employer can get an idea of the sort of person you are. Be careful not to list too many however, as you could imply that your leisure pursuits are of higher priority than your job.

Referees

It is not advisable to state the full contact details of your referees at this early stage of application. It would be better to state "Referees available on request", allowing you to provide referees suitable to the application.

Points to Remember

Reasons for leaving jobs

We would not advise that you put this on your CV. The decision to move is a complex and emotive issue and your statement might easily be misinterpreted. It is best to keep the CV positive and factual and leave this topic for discussion in an interview.

Salary

It is advisable to omit your salary details from your CV. This is something that can be discussed at a more appropriate time, such as if you are granted an interview. Salary levels are dependent on many variables and they can be easily misconstrued, if you are not careful.

Work Experience

Include work experience that highlights your skills and cover any gaps in your experience with an indicative comment, as these are often questioned. Provide a factual explanation for the gap time. If you are a recent graduate with little work experience, consider skills learnt at university through group projects, your own dissertation or thesis project and any volunteer work etc. Any job will require skills that are dependent on the person involved, such as being able to communicate, meeting objectives, solving problems and fulfilling daily duties and responsibilities. Provide your honest opinion of your strengths in these areas - don't be afraid to assess yourself and to say you are good at something if it truly is one of your skills. Focus on how you can make a positive contribution to the organisation you are looking to join through your personal skills.

Presentation of your CV

Finally, ensure your CV is written in a suitable font that is clear and easy to read. Use bold fonts to enhance particular points, especially those like skills summaries and educational achievements that are at the front of the CV. Carefully proof-read and spell check the document. When reading through your cv, try to place yourself in the position of an employer reading the document -does this cv really give you the information you want in the best possible way?