CV is the most important document needed for a job application, and it’s your first chance to promote yourself to an employer. A good CV will get you to an interview. Many countries have different requirements for CVs. For example, some countries may require you to put a picture of yourself on your CV. Some countries may require you to disclose your age and political views. However, these are not necessary in the UK and, quite the opposite, you should not include personal and sensitive information.
Below are our top tips for students and graduates who are starting their job hunting in the UK.
1. Start with the job description
A job advert or job description is where you can learn more about the requirement of a role. Based on the information there, you can think about your skills and experience and then decide what information to include in your CV.
2. Keep your CV to one page
You might have been advised that your CV should be two pages, but it is not true. Unless you have several substantial work experiences that are important for the job you are applying for, you should only focus on the most relevant work experiences. Many graduate employers also require you to submit one page CV. In addition, students usually do not have many work experiences. Limiting the content to the most important and relevant information will help you keep your CV to one page.
3. Layout of the CV
You can flexibly organise the layout of your CV as long as they are easy to read and contains relevant information. Your CV should typically include your contact details, education, work experience, volunteering experience, training courses or other accomplishments, relevant skills, hobbies and interests etc. Students and recent graduates should start from their Education first and then write their work and other experiences chronologically.
Under the education section, it is good to list key modules relevant to the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying to Banking, you do not need to list out your History module. Put your most recent qualification/programme of study first. In addition, you should also include the names of your qualifications, school, college or university where you studied and dates you attended. If you have received higher than 2:1 equivalent for your Bachelor degree, you can also include it.
5. Work Experience
Under the Employment/work experience section, you should put your most recent experience first and include employer details, the job title, the dates you worked there. It is also good practice to have 3 or more bullet points to describe your main responsibilities and achievements. If you did an internship and a full-time job in the same company, it is better to separate them.
Under the work experience section, you can include all paid job and unpaid work experiences. However, if they were just for a day or two, it is better to include them under the other achievements / other experiences section.
6. Hobbies, interests or achievements
This is also an important part of a CV. This section is where you can demonstrate what else you can do apart from work and study. Many recruiters may find this part particularly important as this part can help you differentiate yourself from others. So, you should try to show the skills you have gained from various other activities and highlight your hobbies and interests. This section of a CV is also helpful if you do not have much work experience.
7. Other key CV tips:
- Do NOT include too much personal information, such as Age, Date of Birth, Gender, Ethnicity and Marital Status.
- Do NOT enclose a picture.
- Remember to put your given name first and the family name last and include your email address and contact number on top of your CV.
- Ensure you use a mature and sensible email – it is highly recommended to use your names/initials and a number if needed, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or David.Beckham@outlook.com.
- Make a list of activities and explain what you have done, what you have achieved and what you have learned in detail. Always use Bullet Points to make them easy to follow.
- Under the work experience and other achievements section, you can use the STAR or CAR framework to describe your job responsibilities and achievements.
- Always use an active voice to describe your actions.
- Always get someone else to proofread it, and double-check your spelling and grammar. Platforms like Learn and Pass provide a good CV review service for students and graduates.