Your CV is your own personal marketing document that helps you get your foot in the door when applying for jobs. It’s the first thing an employer will see of you, so you want to make a good impression.
How Long Should a CV Be?
A CV should be no longer than two sides of A4. That being said, one size doesn't fit all. For example, a school leaver or a recent graduate with minimal experience may only need to use one side of A4. Conversely, a three-page CV might be needed for those in high-level roles or for people who have gained a lot of experience.
To save space, only include the main points of your experience and education. If you're struggling to edit your CV, ask yourself if certain information sells you – if it doesn't, cut it out. If it's not relevant to the job you're applying for, delete it. And if it's old detail from many years ago, summarise it.
What To Include in a CV
Contact details. Include your full name, home address, telephone number, and email address. Your date of birth is irrelevant.
Personal profile. A personal profile is a concise statement that highlights your key attributes and helps you to stand out from the crowd. A good personal profile picks out a few relevant achievements and skills, while expressing your career aims. Keep it short and snappy – 100 words is the perfect length.
Experience. List your work experience in reverse date order, ensuring that anything you mention is relevant to the job that you're applying for. Include your job title, the name of the organisation, how long you were with the organisation, and key responsibilities.
Education. List and date all previous education, including professional qualifications. Place the most recent first. Include qualification type/grades, and the dates.
Hobbies and interests. Relevant hobbies or interests can provide a more complete picture of who you are, as well as giving you something to talk about at interview. Leave this section out if you don't have any relevant hobbies or interests.
Tips for Writing a Good CV
Tailor your CV. Look at the organisations website and social media accounts – look to see if they've recently been mentioned in the local press and use the job advert to make sure your CV is targeted to the role and organisation.
Avoid generic, over-used phrases such as 'team player', 'hardworking', and 'multitasker'. Instead, provide real-life examples that demonstrate all of these skills.
Use active verbs when possible. For example, include words like 'created', 'analysed', and 'devised' to present yourself as a person who shows initiative.
Make sure your email address sounds professional. If your personal address is inappropriate create a new account for professional use.
A good CV doesn't have any spelling or grammar mistakes. Use a spell checker and enlist a second pair of eyes to check over the document.