Having a strong CV is the best way to make yourself stand out to potential employers. To help you ensure that your CV is fit for purpose, we’ve put together our top tips and advice for building a winning CV.
1. Personal information
Start your CV with your full name, contact details (phone number, email address), and your current address. Avoid including unnecessary personal information like your date of birth.
2. Personal statement
Write a compelling personal statement at the beginning of your CV. This should be a concise paragraph that showcases your skills, strengths, and career aspirations. Highlight any relevant achievements or experiences you gained during your time in school.
List your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Include the following details:
- School or college name, location, and dates attended
- Qualifications obtained (e.g., GCSEs, A-Levels, BTECs)
- Grades achieved or predicted grades if you haven’t received your final results yet
- Relevant coursework or projects
- Any extracurricular activities or leadership roles within school
4. Work experience
If you have any work experience, include it in this section. This can include part-time jobs, internships, or work placements. Include the following information:
- Job title, company name, and location
- Dates of employment (month and year)
- Key responsibilities and tasks
- Skills developed or lessons learned
If you don’t have formal work experience, highlight any volunteering, community involvement, or relevant school projects you participated in.
5. Skills & achievements
Showcase your skills and achievements in a dedicated section. Include both hard skills (e.g., computer proficiency, language skills) and soft skills (e.g., teamwork, communication). Provide specific examples to demonstrate your abilities.
6. Training & certifications
If you have attended any training courses, workshops, or gained certifications relevant to the job you’re applying for, list them in this section. Include the name of the course, the institution or provider, and the dates of completion.
7. Hobbies & interests
Briefly mention your hobbies and interests, focusing on those that highlight relevant skills or attributes. For example, if you’re applying for a customer service role, mentioning your involvement in a sports team could demonstrate teamwork and leadership.
It’s common for school leavers to include references from teachers or individuals who can vouch for their character and work ethic. Include the name, job title, contact details, and relationship of your references. Make sure you have obtained their permission before including their information.
Format & layout
Use a clear and professional format for your CV. Stick to a commonly used font (e.g., Arial, Calibri) and keep the formatting consistent throughout. Use headings, bullet points, and spacing to make your CV easy to read and navigate.
Proofread & review
Thoroughly proofread your CV to ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Read it out loud or ask someone else to review it as well. Pay attention to formatting, consistency, and the overall flow of information.
Tailor your CV to each job application by highlighting relevant skills and experiences. Keep your CV concise, ideally no longer than two pages. Good luck with your job search.