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Writing a great CV

Firstly, while writing your CV, always consider that this is your first - and possibly only - opportunity to sell yourself to a prospective employer. The reader of the CV has no idea of your strengths and experiences and won't ever do unless you highlight them.

Remember: you won't get an interview without a strong CV!

What should I include in my CV?

Firstly, you should adapt your CV for each role you apply for. Read the role profile and make sure that each required element of the role is covered in your CV.

For example, if a role requires "team-working skills", don't just tell the employer you have the skill, give quick examples in your employment history of when you have shown the skill.

Remember that anything you include in your CV is likely to be discussed - or questioned - at interview stage so, while you should sell yourself, you do need to be truthful.

It is a good idea to start your CV with a personal profile highlighting your unique selling points or the reason why you are perfect for the role you are applying for.

Designing your CV

Most word-processing packages have a number of CV templates for you to use - if you are unsure this is a great place to start.

Despite this, a non-standard CV can set you out from the crowd - particularly if you are looking at a career in the creative industies.

As a rough guide, your CV should include:

  • Personal statement
  • Contact details
  • Employment history (usually from current employment backwards)
  • Details of your skills
  • Education and training
  • Additional information (don't forget to include any details about clubs/associations you are a member of)
  • Referees


Here are some basic tips on CV writing:

  • Sell yourself but be truthful
  • Consider length of your CV - be wary of going above three pages
  • Make an immediate impact. The reader is unlikely to read all three pages of your CV if they don't see anything relevant in the first half a page
  • Consider relevance - spend more time highlighting your recent experience than what you did ten years ago
  • Spell check your CV
  • Read your CV back carefully for grammar and spelling (spell check doesn't pick up everything)
  • Distinguish yourself - avoid cliches like "socialising with friends"
  • If you do include your hobbies, consider the connotations of these - i.e. does "reading" make you appear solitary?
  • Chose an easy-to-read font - avoid "script" fonts that are hard on the eye
  • Most CVs are never printed so make sure it reads well on screen

Sarah Collins

Expert Consultant

More about Sarah

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