How to write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)?
When applying for jobs, your CV is the first thing you need to do. Learn how to create a great CV and get advice and tips on what to include within your personal marketing document.

What is a CV?

A CV is an acronym for curriculum vitae. It is used to apply for jobs. A CV allows you to summarize your education, skills, and experience to help you sell yourself to potential employers. Employers will often request a coverletter in addition to your CV. The American and Canadian CVs are also known as resumes. These documents are usually shorter and do not follow any particular formatting rules.

What length should a CV be

The UK's standard CV should not exceed two sides of A4. For inspiration, take a look at this chronological CV. One size does not fit all. One side of A4 may be sufficient for a recent school graduate or a student with little experience. A three-page CV is not required for high-ranking positions or people who have worked in many jobs in the past five to ten year. Depending on your experience, some medical CVs might be longer. It is important that your CV is concise, but you shouldn't sell your experience too much. Save space by only listing the most important points of your education or experience. Keep your letter concise and only include the most relevant information. You may have difficulty editing your CV. Consider whether certain information is selling you. It doesn't have to be there. It doesn't have to be relevant for the job that you are applying for.

What should you include in your CV?

  • Contact details Please include your full name, address, phone number, and email address. Your date of birth doesn't matter. A photograph is not required unless you are applying for an acting/modeling job.
  • Profile A CV profile is a short statement that highlights your key characteristics and makes you stand out among the crowd. It is usually placed at the top of a CV. It highlights your relevant accomplishments and skills while also expressing your career goals. Your cover letter should be specific to the job and your CV profile should focus on this sector. Keep your CV personal statements brief and concise - 100 words is the ideal length. Learn how you can write a personal statement to your CV.
  • Education- Enter all education and professional qualifications. The most recent should be placed first. Mention the qualification type/grades and the dates. Only mention specific modules if they are relevant.
  • Work Experience - List all work experiences in reverse order. Make sure you are relevant to the job that you're applying. Your job title, company name, length of service with the organization, and key responsibilities should be included. This section should be included before the education section if you have a lot of work experience.
  • Achievements and Skills - Here you will discuss the foreign languages that you speak and the IT programs you are proficient in. Your list of key skills should relate to the job. Do not exaggerate the skills you have, as interviewers will need to verify your claims. A skills-based CV is a good idea if you have many job-specific skills.
  • Interests: 'Socialising' or 'going to a cinema' are not going to grab a recruiter's attention. Relevant interests will give you something to talk about during interviews and help you paint a better picture of yourself. If you are interested in a career as a journalist or a writer, you could start your own blog and create community newsletters. You might also be interested in being part of a drama club if your goal is to sell. And you could get involved with climate change activism if that's what you desire. This section is for people who don't have relevant hobbies and interests.
  • Referees - At this stage, you don't have to give the names of your referees. Although you can state "references available upon demand", most employers will assume that this is the case. If you are short on space, you can just leave it out.
See example CVs for more information and assistance on writing a resume.

Format of CV

  • Do not title the document with 'curriculum Vitae' or "CV". It is a waste space. Instead, let your name be the title.
  • Section headings can be a great way to break down your CV. Make them bold and larger (font size 14-16).
  • Avoid fonts like Comic Sans. Use something professional, clear, and easy-to-read such as Calibri, Times New Roman, or Calibri. To ensure that your CV is easily read by potential employers, use a font size between 10-12. Make sure all fonts and font sizes remain consistent.
  • List all items in reverse chronological order. The recruiter will then examine your work history and highlight your most recent accomplishments.
  • Use bullet points and clear spacing to keep it short. This layout makes it easy for potential employers to quickly scan your CV and pick out the most important information.
  • Save with a name for the document. Don't save as 'Document 1’. Be sure to give your name and contact information in the title of the document. For example, Joe-Smith-CV.
  • Save your document with a.PDF extension, unless the job advertisement states otherwise (for instance, you may be asked to send in your CV and cover letter in Word documents). This will ensure that it can open on any computer.
  • When you are posting your CV, make sure you only print one side.

How to create a great CV

  • Use active verbs To show initiative, you can use words such as 'created, 'analyzed' and 'devised'.
  • A great CV should not have spelling or grammar errors. You can use a spell-checker to make sure the document is correct.
  • Avoid using generic phrases like 'team player' or 'hardworking'. Instead, give real-life examples of all these skills.
  • Tailor your CV. Check out the company's social media accounts and website to determine if they have been mentioned in local press. Use the job advertisement to ensure your CV is relevant to the position and employer.
  • Make the perfect CV for your situation. You can decide if a chronological, skills-based, or academic CV is best for you.
  • Make sure that your email address is professional. If you feel your personal address is not appropriate, create a new account to use for professional purposes.
  • Do not lie or exaggerate in your job application. You will not only be a disreputable employer but you could also face serious consequences. You could be sentenced to prison for changing your degree grade from 2:2 or 2:2 to 2. This guidance and advice for students on degree fraud can be found here.
  • Don't put your home address online if you want to post your CV. Fraudsters could find you.
  • A cover letter must always be included unless your employer says otherwise. This will allow you to personalize your application. It allows you to draw attention on a specific part of your resume, reveal a disability, or clarify gaps in work history.

How can we fill the void left by the COVID-19 Pandemic?

First, you need to understand that COVID-19 has impacted the career plans of thousands upon thousands of students. Due to the epidemic, many career-enhancing activities like work experience, internships, and volunteering were postponed or cancelled. We are here to help you get rid of the worry about your CV looking corona-shaped. Employers know the difficulties associated with lockdowns well. They won't expect that you have worked in this environment. However, potential employers could still see how you managed this time well - showing that you are a proactive and dedicated candidate. It could be:
  • Details of any online courses you have taken or Massive Open Online Courses you've completed, or webinars you've attended or other online events.
  • The acquisition of new skills such as code or language learning.
  • Volunteer work includes caring for elderly or young siblings, or shopping for vulnerable neighbors.
  • Charity work - Perhaps you were involved in fundraising or raising awareness for a specific organization.
  • You can start a vlog, learn a sport, cook, or set up a book club in your community.
Keep in mind that you will need to tie these activities to the job for which you are applying. So, focus on the skills you have learned and the reasons they would be of benefit to you. Depending on the activity, you will need to decide where to place this information. You can include volunteer work or charitable work under the heading 'Work experience'. Online courses and any additional qualifications can be placed in the "Education" section. Any new skills that you have acquired should go under "Skills and accomplishments". Place any hobbies or interests that are relevant to the job you are applying for in the Hobbies & Interests' section. Check out our sample cover letter to explain a glaring omission in your CV.

Help with your CV

Your university careers service can offer professional advice to students and recent graduates who need help with creating a resume. Many university career services moved their events and activities online during COVID-19 to help students and graduates during this pandemic.

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