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How to Write a Successful CV

Writing a great CV is critical to your success during the job hunting process. The perfect CV should sell your skills, capture the attention of the reader, and play to your strengths. Here, CV-Library has put together their top tips for writing a successful CV.

What is a CV?

The term 'CV' is short for the Latin phrase, 'Curriculum Vitae' which means, 'direction of life'. In today's working world, a CV is a personalised document used by job hunters to provide a concise insight and overview into their education, employment experience, skills, interests, achievements and contact details.

Prospective employers require candidates to supply a CV and cover letter when they wish to apply for a vacancy. During the application process, employers will review and compare CVs with the role specification in order to see how closely the two match. This ensures that the most suitable candidates are invited to take part in the interview process.

Writing a CV

  • Tone - You may only have 10-15 seconds to impress the employer. Make sure your CV is positive, snappy and concise.
  • Format - Think about heading, subheadings, font and layout. Your CV should be easy to read, with a clear hierarchy of information and sub-sections.
  • Length - Your CV needs to be easy to digest. Stick to one or two pages and only go into detail about the most relevant information regarding your employment and educational background.
  • Spelling and grammar - Double check your work, and don't solely rely on spell checking tools. Get a friend to proofread your document, too.

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What information should a CV include?

  • Personal Details - Include full contact details at the top of your CV to ensure recruiters and employers are able to get in touch with you. This section should include your: full name, telephone number, email address, and home address. You might like to include information regarding your driving license, too. Finally, we would advise being mindful of your email address - if your personal account does not sound professional, it is a good idea to create a new one, specifically for use during your job hunt.
  • Education and Qualifications - Include information about all of the qualifications you have received, the year you attained them, and the grades you achieved. It is a good idea to draw attention to your most relevant qualifications in relation to the type of role you are applying for.
  • Work Experience - One of the first things employers will look at is your employment history. This is because the experience you have gained in previous roles can inform how qualified you are for their vacancy. Make sure you list all relevant experience which may tie in with the job you are applying for, including voluntary work or freelance projects. Include the name of the employer and dates of service in each instance.
  • Skills - You should include a list of the skills you have acquired throughout your education and career to date. Do some research and utilise the most common phrases and words that employers in your industry may search for. The more skill keywords you use in your CV, the more likely it is you will get noticed by a recruiter.
  • References - Many hiring managers will want to take references from previous employers to confirm your experience and skills. You are within your rights to use the phrase, "references are available upon request," if you would prefer potential employers to collect references at a later stage in the recruitment process. You will usually need to line up two-three references, which should ideally come from past employers, colleagues or contacts from educational institutions.
  • Interests and Achievements - This section can be included to give employers an opportunity to learn about what makes you tick. Include any interests you have which you feel may make you a better-rounded candidate, and any personal achievements you feel could be of benefit to your next role.
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