How to Write a CV

What is a CV?

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin for ‘course of life’. It shows the skills, education and experience you have gained throughout your career.

Why is a CV important?

A great CV is crucial when applying for jobs. It is the first thing an employer will see about you. Following these tips correctly, could make the difference between getting that all important interview or spending months looking for an Apprenticeship.

How long should my CV be?

An Apprenticeship CV doesn’t have to be as long as a normal CV. The employer won’t expect you to have loads of experience, so if your CV is only a page long, that should be fine.

How should my CV be presented?

Your CV should be typed and printed on A4 white paper. Choose a font size between 11 and 14. Generally, CVs are written in one of the following fonts; Arial, Verdana or Helvetica. Ensure the font you use is professional, clear and easy to read. Never use fonts like Comic Sans.

When you’re writing a CV, how relevant should you make it to the particular job?

Relevance is everything in terms of a CV; they don’t want to know your whole life history, that’s not important. Most Cvs get rejected because they’re not a good fit. If you’re a candidate, think about what it is what you want, what have you got to offer in terms of your skills and experience. Employers want to know about your technical skills, capabilities and your experience that are relevant for that job role and a good fit for that because if they’re not, you are wasting your time.

How do you make your CV stand out?

As much as you can on your CV, talk about your achievements, how you improved efficiency or solved a problem. You need to show you can make a contribution to the organisation. They want someone who is going to be an asset to the company, not a jobs worth.

Do people tend to undersell themselves?

When writing a CV people are too modest, it is the time to be saying all your achievements and what a great candidate you are! If you don’t have confidence in yourself to do the job, why should the employer?

In what order should my CV be set out?

1. Personal Details: include your name, contact details and address

2. Personal Profile: include skills and qualities, work history, achievements and career aspirations

3. Employment History and Work Experience: start with the job or work experience you have done most recently and work back in time order. Include information of the employer you worked for, the dates you worked from and to, your job title and your main duties within this job.

4. Education and Training: In this section, begin with the qualification you have gained most recently and work back in time order to school. Include information of the college or school you went to, the dates the qualifications were gained and any grades and any work-related courses.

5. Hobbies and Achievements: Include your hobbies, interests and achievements that show relevance to the job

6. Additional Information: add in any other skills that you may feel are relevant to the job. For example, if you hold a driving licence.

7. References: You could ask someone who has known you for some time for example a teacher from school. You can list your references on your CV or just put 'references available on request'.

I have completed my CV, what should I do now?

Now your CV is completed, ensure your CV is clear, well presented, and in a logical order. Make sure your CV is tailored specifically to the job you're applying for. Spellcheck isn’t always going to do it. Because sometimes words are perfectly fine but don’t get picked up on, you need to print it off, and it’s easier to look for errors, get somebody else to check it for you. The areas you have missed, someone else will spot them in an instance, so check, double check and triple check your CV for spellings, grammatical and factual errors. Once your CV has been proofread, it is ready to be sent off!