Whether you’re just starting out in your career or you’re an experienced professional looking for your next role, it is vital you have a well-structured and engaging CV. Your CV is your chance to showcase your skills and experience, demonstrating to potential employers you are the right candidate for the job so needs to be structured in a way to ensure the key information is highlighted.
How to construct your CV
Your personal statement is arguably one of the most important parts of your CV and can be tailored to the job you’re applying for. It is your chance to showcase your skills and experience as well as tell prospective employers why you’d be worth hiring. Measurable achievements are always appealing to hiring managers so use this section to explain any relevant projects you have been involved in.
If you’re just starting out you can refer to your experiences at school, college or university and how and why they make you suitable for the job. You could also mention any notable extracurricular activities or relevant work experience.
This is your chance to describe the many different skills you have acquired either in previous roles or during your time in education and can be split into three areas.
- Transferable skills – These are skills such as leadership, organisation, and research and analysis which can be applied to a whole range of jobs.
- Job-related skills – These will be much more specific to the job in question so if you’re applying for a job as a software developer you might talk about your coding skills.
- Adaptive skills – This section covers soft skills such as good communication, problem-solving or the ability to work independently and collaboratively.
You should write this section putting your most recent role first. You should include your job title, the company details, dates you worked there and then list several points about your key responsibilities and any achievements, focusing on those that are most relevant to the role you’re applying for. Make sure to quantify your achievements where possible with results to demonstrate success.
The information should become progressively less the further back the jobs go and the less relevant they become to the role you’re applying for. As you gain more experience in different roles, your older employment history can be omitted altogether.
If this is your first role and you have little or no employment history, you can include any relevant work experience or volunteering. If this proves difficult you may need to dig a little deeper, looking at any extracurricular activities and the skills and experience you gained in your past. Ensure that you highlight any skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Education and training
You need to include your qualifications and the date you achieved them with the most recent first. Try not to list each qualification individually so, for example, write that you received 6 A* GCSEs and 5 A GCSEs, rather than each separate subject.
Hobbies and interests
This is your chance to show your future employer you’re a well-rounded individual with activities outside of work. Hiring managers want to know about you as a person and your hobbies reveal a bit more about your personality.
However, beware of what you do include and if you can, try and keep it relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a sports club manager you might mention you weight train or as a news reporter you might talk about your interest in current affairs and debating.
Finish off your CV by writing references are available upon request.
Finally and most importantly, make sure you check over your CV for spelling and grammar errors before you send. A great CV and job application can be undone by simple errors so make sure you present your best self to each prospective employer.