Doing your CV can be difficult and a task that many people dread, but once you’ve created a base template you can tailor your CV to a variety of different employers quickly and easily.
Here’s our guide on how to write a great CV that will highlight your skills, and interest potential employers…
Before you start…
The hardest part of creating your CV is to know how to sell yourself. Think about your USPs (unique selling points). These can be your skills, project experiences, characteristics and abilities. Make a bullet point list that you can tailor into a great opening statement about who you are, what you’re great at and what you’re looking for. This is the introduction to your CV and also the introduction of you as a person to the reader. Highlight your key attributes and reasons for deciding to work in a particular field. Pick out a few relevant achievements or skills. Keep it short with 50 – 100 words.
Design and Format
If you’re a data analyst then your CV will look very different to the CV of a graphic designer. It’s important that your CV reflects your personal style, the industry you work in and is, above all, professional looking. Choose a style that stands out but will appeal to your audience.
Avoid childish fonts such as Comic Sans. Instead, opt for clean, simple fonts that are easy to read.
Make sure your CV isn’t cluttered, with plenty of white space so it’s easy to navigate.
Make sure you have room for all of the elements and sections you need
List everything in reverse chronological order. This way people see your most impressive and recent achievements first, so work before education (unless you’re a graduate)
There are lots of design template services available but our favourite is from the Canva platform, which offers a variety of CV templates in different styles, such as below.
Firstly, here’s some generic tips you should follow when creating content…
Include keywords that are relevant to the market you work in
Avoid cliche buzzwords like ‘team player’ and ‘hardworking’
Use active verbs like ‘created’, ‘analysed’ and ‘devised’ to present yourself as a person who shows initiative
Review the job spec or advert and look for important specifications that are transferable to your CV like ‘project management’ etc
Ensure you use the correct grammar and watch for spelling mistakes
Avoid entitling it ‘CV’, instead your name should be the main title/focal point.
The layout should follow this format:
Contact details – Include your full name, mobile number, email address and if necessary for the market, your location. You do not need to include your date of birth or a photograph.
USP statement – as mentioned above, this should lead in to the main bulk of the content
Skills – This is should be it’s own separate section so you can immediately express your skills and abilities. Talk about any languages you speak, IT, social media, digital and software packages you can use. Whatever you list should be relevant to the job and not over-exaggerated. Opt to include this as a short paragraph or a bullet point list.
Work experience – List your experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent position first. For each job role, give an overview of your position purpose/responsibilities in a few sentences and then move on to bullet points of your achievements, include as many statistics as you can.
Training – This is a section for professional training certifications beyond institutional education, like WordPress or SEO courses, online learning etc.
Education – List and date all previous education, placing the most recent first. This can be kept brief with university or school name, location, dates and qualifications received.
Interests – Only include specific and genuine interests that are also relevant to the field you working, ‘socialising’ and ‘music’ aren’t enough.
Check, check and check again…
Once you complete your CV, read through it and make sure it’s clear and easy to read. Watch out for spelling mistakes! Pass your CV on to a friend or colleague to proofread it, they might see something you’ve missed. When your CV is ready, add it to your online profiles such as LinkedIn or to job boards.