A good, well-written CV is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and market yourself as an ideal candidate. CVs are traditionally used in the recruitment process to select applicants for an interview, however, in higher education it is a good way to show your educational and professional life. Universities will look at your CV to see if there is a close enough fit between your skills and experience and the requirements of the course you are applying for.
Personal details. Include your name and contact information only, especially your email address, as this is the preferred method of contact for many employers.
Work history. List your work experience starting with the most recent. Include the job title, organisation worked for, dates employed, responsibilities, achievements and experience gained. Education and qualifications. Start with the most recent and state the name of the school/college/university and the qualifications gained. You may not need to outline in detail your GCSEs/O levels/Highers (or equivalent exams). You can group these together, for example, 9 GCSEs. However, if the course requires certain subjects, you should highlight your qualification in these.
Remember also to include any skills-based qualifications and courses you have completed. Skills. Include the skills relevant for the job, e.g., languages or computing skills, noting evidence of using them. Hobbies/interests.
Mention your hobbies if you feel they add value and say something relevant about you. For example, an interest in making things shows you are creative.
Tips for writing your CV
- Tailor the content to each and every university you apply for. Demonstrate you have these by providing evidence of where you have used them in the past.
- Don’t overcomplicate your CV with too much information. CVs are meant to give a taster of what you can offer in a simplified document wanting to find out more.
- Highlight your main achievements in your career and personal life to date.
- Focus on the most significant and recent events and make sure you have a good range that highlights different skills/strengths. When you are writing about your strengths and achievements, think ‘so what?’. Don’t just list what you have done, but explain the skills and personal qualities you brought to the situation, and what you learnt.
- Be relevant. Only include the information relevant for the role.
- Make sure the writing is easy to read, clear and engaging. Use a style and tone that is personal to you, but do so subtly.
- Be positive, direct and personal. Use ‘I’ statements and keep your sentences short. Carefully consider the language you use. Try to avoid clichés, such as, ‘I work well both individually and, in a team,’. These become statements that are not relevant or ignored.
- There are multiple support websites available on the internet. Take the time to read these. If you are in doubt, please contact Student Connect.
- Think about the layout. Use headings, bullets and the subtle use of bold font or italics are useful for catching the interest of the reader. Be concise.
Your CV should be no longer than two pages. But, don’t squash information in. There should still be plenty of white space. References. You are not required to put references on your CV. Often you will be asked to provide references once the job offer has been made.
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