Provide Evidence – Tell the truth.
Work out what qualifications, experience, and skills are required for the job and think of what you have done that matches those attributes. Be specific, focused, and factual and give full explicit details and provide evidence for any claims you make.

Writing Style

  • Make sure the spelling is correct.
  • Get at least two people to check and read your CV.
  • Don’t use the word ‘I’.
  • Start every sentence with a verb or action word.
  • Print to good quality plain white A4 paper only.
  • Keep sentences short.
  • Use past tense.

Length
Try to keep your CV between 1 and 3 pages long and paragraphs to a maximum of 6 lines.
Try to use a maximum of 6 bullet points together, each bullet not more than one or two sentences.

What To Include

  • Don’t include any negatives or anything critical. Don’t include poor grades, or unfortunate work experiences.
  • There is rarely an advantage to include any personal interests or hobbies in your CV unless relevant to the job.
  • Don’t include references unless specifically requested – they can be requested upon interview.
  • Don’t include a photograph unless relevant, such as acting. Do not include matters about your health or any disabilities you have. Do not include any trade union or political affiliations.
  • Don’t include children you have. Don’t include humour. Don’t show your existing salary or expected salary unless requested.

Formatting
Only use bold and italics sparingly for emphasis and easy navigation. For example, only use on section and sub headings. Do not use underlining. Do not use all caps. Do not use graphics or images in your C.V.

Chronological or Functional
We do not recommend a functional style curriculum vitae as most employers now look upon this as attempting to hide gaps. Keep to a reverse chronological format (dates in order of most recent first). Do not attempt to hide any gaps as most of the time there is a perfectly good reason, such as getting laid off (it happens!), child birth, or illness, that can be explained at interview.

Personal Details
There is no need to include attributes such as gender, date of birth, photograph, children, weight, height, or marital status. There are exceptions however, for example if you are an actor. If you are not a British citizen then you should include nationality.

Profile/Objective
You must include an objective section if you are changing careers. For example, you are looking to change from a policeman to a teacher. If you are not changing careers then it’s optional. The objective section can be as simple as the job title you are seeking. Keep it short to a few sentences. A profile or summary is not generally required in a CV as your CV itself should be a full summary of your career if done correctly.

Work History
Concentrate mostly on achievements, not just responsibilities. Show what you achieved for the company during your work there. Don’t re-write your current job description. Don’t include reasons for leaving. Only include recent jobs. What you did 30 years ago will probably not have much relevance today. Include any voluntary or work placement activities. The employer will be interested in the quality of experience whether or not it was paid. When listing your various jobs, include details which illustrate exactly how they have given you the skills which will be useful. Don’t belittle or undervalue your experience. It is up to you to demonstrate how and why they have given you useful skills.

Education
If you have little work history or are currently attending or due to finish school, college, or university then put education section above work history. Don’t include poor grades. Include honours if awarded. Give more detail to the higher qualifications listed such as degrees and masters. Give full course details and dates. If you do not have a degree then show you successfully completed other educational courses or training such as night school, continuing education, seminars, or workshops. Write ‘degree expected [month/year]’ if you have not yet graduated.

If you have nothing to put in an education section then focus on writing the other sections of your CV, highlighting the skills and experience you have gained. Consider a school or college nearby that offers classes scheduled around the needs of working adults.

Other Skills/Sections

You can include:

  • Languages
  • Computing skills
  • Published works
  • Membership of relevant professional bodies, clubs or societies

Make sure you list any other skills that will interest an employer if they are relevant.

When listing languages make sure you include your level such as fluent, intermediate, or basic. Show if you read, write, or speak.

For computing skills make sure you mention the packages you have used such as Microsoft Word. Show your ability to type quickly and accurately by including the words per minute you can type.

About the author

Leonnie has worked with the WATC team for over 5 years. Leonnie also runs her own Design company www.destinydesigns.co.uk.

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