Discover how to make a CV and give yourself the greatest opportunity for securing your dream job. In our CV tips, we will cover what to include and the length and tone of voice that should be used.
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Meet Sarah – a recent university graduate eager to kick-start her professional journey. Aware of how competitive the job market is these days, Sarah was determined to start her job search by making her CV stand out.
She thought to herself: “I know how to write a CV that’ll make a good impression on the recruiter. I’ve seen a few. This can’t be that complicated!”
But then, despite investing hours into crafting what she thought was a great CV, she found herself faced with… zero response from potential employers.
Then, Sarah went online looking for advice. She made use of expert insights and insider CV tips to transform her CV into a personal marketing tool.
She even made a few different versions of it. Tailoring it each time to the job advert. A month later? She had landed her first job.
CV writing can be intimidating at first. But how to write a CV is a skill you can learn, just like Sarah did. With the right guidance, you can create a compelling document that highlights your skills and experiences, leaving a memorable impression on potential employers.
Whether you’re a fresh graduate like Sarah or a seasoned professional eyeing a career transition, CVHelp is here to assist.
We’ll guide you through every step of the process, from formatting to content, ensuring your CV is nothing short of excellent. So, let’s dive in and explore what your CV should include, its ideal length, and top tips to refine your CV writing skills.
This is just a glimpse of a compelling CV, created from a CV template. The specifics will depend on your unique experiences, skills, and qualifications.
It’s also crucial to tailor your CV format for each job you apply for, highlighting the most relevant skills and professional experience.
Find below a plain text version of this CV that you can easily copy and paste.
33 Park Road
555 55 55 55
Creative baker with 10 years of experience working within bakeries and high-volume settings. Knowledge of food production methods and incorporating the latest food trends into product development. Demonstrates strong attention to detail to guarantee high-quality baked products every time.
Four Seasons, Head Baker
London, January 2021 to Current
Costco Wholesale, Baker
Bristol, January 2018 to December 2020
Jempson’s Peasmarsh, Bakery Assistant
London, January 2015 to August 2019
University of West London
Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts
Courses: Bread making – Blackfriars Restaurant School; Professional Patisserie and Confectionary – Chef Academy London
Creating a curriculum vitae requires a delicate balance of providing sufficient detail without overwhelming the reader. The length and content of a good CV may vary depending on the job you’re applying for.
Read carefully the job description and key responsibilities. Some sectors might demand a comprehensive record of your education or a thorough exploration of your skills and work experience.
However, as a rule of thumb, most CVs should not exceed two A4 pages (except for the academic CV which is usually 3–5 pages long). They should also adhere to a clear CV layout and concise format.
This is because employers often skim through CVs, quickly assessing whether an applicant seems to be a suitable fit for a specific role and meets the job requirements.
If your curriculum vitae is too lengthy, there’s a risk that the reader might lose interest and overlook your key skills and experiences. To maintain the reader’s engagement, it’s advisable to avoid filling your CV with irrelevant information or excessive personal details.
Conversely, while brevity is essential, a CV shouldn’t be too short either. Ensuring your CV includes all the essential information will help prevent it from being too brief.
Remember, your CV should be treated as a personal marketing tool, designed to showcase your skills, experiences and achievements in the best possible light. It’s your first opportunity to impress a potential employer, so it’s worth investing the time to get it right and streamline your job search.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a CV that not only stands out but also captures the attention of prospective employers.
To make sure that all essential information is included in your CV, the following sections should be included:
Discover where they should appear in the example below.
While creating these sections, remember that it is important to keep consistent formatting throughout your CV. Don’t go overboard by using a different font size for each or too many colours.
Making your headings bold or underlined, however, can help add to the structure of your CV and lead the eye of the reader to the important sections.
Now that you know what to include in a CV, let’s take a closer look at what each section mentioned in the bullet points above should contain:
Your full name, email address and contact number should be clearly displayed at the top of the page. Your address, age or marital status are not necessary for the application and the focus should be on your abilities, professional achievements and previous experience.
A CV summary, sometimes called a personal statement or a CV profile is a short paragraph that sits at the top of your CV. You want to make it about yourself and the type of work you are interested in. While there is no exact length, between 30 and 40 words is a good guide for a personal statement.
Depending on the specific job title, you may want to tailor your CV summary to the requirements listed. If you’re changing careers, use this section to highlight that to the hiring manager.
Alternatively, if you have little or no experience, you might want to write a CV objective instead.
If you want to add to your CV skills that are sector-specific, it’s best to state these in the skills section. This could include hard skills and technical abilities like specialist computer programs or industry knowledge, such as customer service, copywriting or stakeholder management.
Think about how you can tailor this section to the position you are applying for. You should also mention some soft skills such as communication skills, as they are transferable and are useful in many roles.
Take care to ensure that your CV is an honest portrayal of your practical experience and skills. Lying or exaggerating on your CV will become obvious during the interview.
This section is the shining star of a good CV and what the recruiter will likely focus on. List your employment history, including each time the exact job title, in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent relevant work experience first.
Include the name and postcode of the company for each of your past jobs and the employment dates that you worked there.
For each job you selected from your employment history, focus on what you brought to your role and what duties and responsibilities you had whilst there. Use active verbs to create an impact and to add action to your skills and experience.
Note that if you have more than 15 years of experience, you do not need to mention every single position you have held but only the ones that are most relevant based on the job description and your work history.
Include any higher education on your CV, as well as university degree or professional qualifications in this section. Depending on your sector, you may also want to go into more detail about your experience or any specific modules you think a recruiter may find interesting.
You don’t need to list all of your school-level qualifications in the education section. Just group these into grades and say how many of each you received, i.e., GCSEs Grade A-C (8) including maths and English.
In today’s global and digital world, fluency in foreign languages can be a major asset for jobseekers. When applying for jobs in the UK, it is important to include a section on foreign language skills on your CV.
Always make sure to list the languages with your level of proficiency using a well-known language framework. The language you are most proficient in should appear at the top.
This is an important part of a UK CV as it gives employers a better insight into your personality and character. This section should highlight aspects of your life outside of work that demonstrate qualities such as teamwork, creativity, and leadership.
For instance, if you have been part of a sports team or done some pro-bono work, these can be included in the hobbies section. It is also beneficial to list activities that demonstrate self-learning or knowledge acquisition, such as studying foreign languages or reading up on industry developments.
However, this section should not include irrelevant information about pastimes unrelated to the job you are applying for. Therefore, avoid listing too many hobbies, as this could detract from the main purpose of your CV which is to showcase relevant qualifications and experiences that make you the perfect candidate for the role.
The professional development section in a CV should include any courses, seminars or workshops that you have attended to further your knowledge and skills in your chosen profession.
This section can also include any certifications or accreditations that you have achieved and are relevant to the job position. It is important to make sure that this section is kept up-to-date, as employers may look for evidence of continuous learning and improvement.
The awards section of a CV can be used to highlight any accolades or recognition that you have received in your career. This could include awards for excellence in customer service, top salesperson or employee of the year.
It is important to make sure that this section is kept up-to-date and relevant to the job position you are applying for, as it adds evidence that you are an outstanding candidate for the role. On the other hand, irrelevant awards should not be included.
You can add a dedicated section for your certifications on a CV. It should include any qualifications, licenses, or certificates that are related to the job position. This section will provide evidence that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the role.
If you decide to include it, make sure this section is up-to-date and relevant to the job description, as it can be a key factor for employers when making their decision. Additionally, always include details such as the date of issue and the institution issuing the certificate.
Professional memberships may be added as a dedicated section towards the end of your CV. Note that the best practice is for them to appear within the Education section when they are gained through examination.
Finally, you can also include a section focusing on your volunteering experience. This a great way to showcase your willingness to help others and your commitment to causes.
You should always aim to frame your volunteer work on a CV in a way that demonstrates valuable soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving abilities and communication, you have acquired while volunteering.
When wondering about how to make a CV for job hunting, there’s always the burning question of how long it should be. While it’s generally accepted that keeping your CV layout to one page is ideal, there are situations where having a two-page CV is not only acceptable but a deciding factor.
For instance, if you’ve had an extensive work history or have unique qualifications and language skills to highlight, it can be challenging to fit all that information onto one page without sacrificing valuable details.
However, keep in mind that you should always prioritize the most relevant content and avoid including anything irrelevant, even if that means trimming your CV down to one page.
Ultimately, the decision to create a two-page, detailed CV should be based on the individual’s circumstances and the requirements of the job application.
Finally, it’s also important to keep in mind that your curriculum vitae should be optimized to pass applicant tracking systems (ATS). These are algorithms used by recruiters to scan and rank CVs using relevant keywords.
Find below an example of a good CV on 2 pages that would hit the mark.
When writing your CV, try to keep it to one page if possible. However, there are certain circumstances where having a two-page CV may be necessary and acceptable.
Make sure to include the following sections: Name and contact details, Professional summary, Skills, Experience, Education and Language. You can also include additional sections, such as Certifications or Volunteer Work, when relevant.
We don’t need to include your date of birth, a photo, your salary requirements or irrelevant social media links.
In case you have more than 15 years of work experience you shouldn’t include everything but only what’s relevant to the position you are applying for.
Finally, prioritise the most relevant content and avoid including anything irrelevant when creating your perfect CV. Beware of including graphical elements such as tables and images and, of course, never lie.
Writing a CV that stands out from the competition can be a daunting task. That’s why we have broken it all down into a few simple steps for you:
In some cases, it is possible to find work without having a CV. For example, employers may prefer to look at your cover letter or to test you directly through assessment tests and interviews. This can give them an idea of your skills and potential without having access to your CV.
However, in most cases, it is best practice to have an up-to-date CV employers can review with any application. Having a comprehensive and interesting CV will help make your application stand out from the crowd.
Writing a CV can be a time-consuming process. On average, it takes between 1-3 hours to create an effective and well-structured CV.
This is dependent on the individual’s experience level, the amount of detail required, the industry they are applying to, and the role they are looking for.
It is important to ensure that all relevant work experience and qualifications are included in the document, as this will have a significant impact on whether you are successful.
Furthermore, formatting and proofreading should be given sufficient attention so that any errors do not detract from the professional impression of the candidate’s CV.
Ultimately, it is always worth taking the necessary time to ensure that your CV accurately reflects your skills and experience in order for you to maximize your chances of securing your dream job.
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