Writing a Curriculum Vitae
Remember - CV is a personal document and everybody’s CV is different.
CVs are widely accepted by employers as a method to apply for their vacancies, albeit part time, full time or an Apprenticeship. These documents are useful as they are a great way to record and quickly access a person’s education and employment history. Initially CVs will have limited information but this can be added to over time and show how their skills and experience have grown and ensure that it reflects the qualities and qualifications that an employer is looking for.
Some do’s and don’ts before you get started
- There is no minimum or maximum CV length, however, they should be no longer than 2 pages to avoid unnecessary waffle. You need to ensure its professional, accurate, targeted to the job that they are applying for.
- You are ill advised to include a photo… even if it’s a good one. A person’s employment prospects shouldn’t be affected by what they look like.
- You should produce a word document in size 12 in a font like Ariel, Calibri or Verdana.
- The information included must be honest at all times. If the information is false, an employee could lose their job and, even worse, in some cases they might be liable for criminal prosecution.
- They need to be easy to read and understand and give the employers a clear idea of whether your written communication skills are up to scratch.
- They should not be too fancy or too informal.
- They need to be specific to a particular job or industry.
There is no one right way to put together a CV. However, there are some standard headings that could be used and there are some common errors that should be avoided. You can adapt the format to suit the job that you are applying for to reflect your strengths. There are a number of career resources available online to help you to discover types of jobs that you are suitable to. The links at the end of this information will take you to the best sites.
Your full name, address and postcode needs to be visible at the top of page 1.
Your email address should be underneath their name and address. This has to be professional! If an email address is not professional, students are advised to create a new one.
All phone numbers (mobile and landline) should be on subsequent lines. Applicants need to have a good phone manner because employers will be calling them and it is worthwhile getting your voicemail set up correctly.
This is a quick way for you to talk about yourself and why you should be considered for a particular vacancy. Everyone writes things like – ‘I am a hardworking / a good time keeper / I can work own or as part of a team’. You should evidence these points i.e. “Team work is vital for me as a valued member of the College football team”. It is also important to say something new; the following questions could be used as prompts:
Strong IT skills
If a person is under 20 years old, they will mostly have twice the level of IT skills than anyone over the age of 20.
Time keeping and prioritising
At school you are expected to work hard every day to get assignments completed on time, as well as balance the work load of several different subjects. This shows you can prioritise your work load and follow instructions. You can evidence this in other ways too, for instance if you have a part-time job, or are an active member of a group or society. There are many skills that can be appropriately selected, including, customer service skills, being physically active, attention to detail, etc.
This section will be short as you are still in full-time education. However, it should begin with a statement of which school is being attended. Arthur Mellows Village College is an outstanding school and this should be stated. You should list the grades in subjects that have already achieved. Give honest predicted grades of the subjects that are still to be achieved should be given.
Add a list of any training courses and dates they were undertaken.
This is a great opportunity to talk about things that you have been involved in, at school or outside of school, and ones they may be proud of i.e. music achievements, club membership, Duke of Edinburgh Awards etc.
This section may also be short as you are still at school. Therefore, it is important to be as detailed as possible.
Include your Year 10 and/or Year 12 work experience, where you worked, when and what type of work you did. Include any work you do to support your family like babysitting, DIY, shopping, cooking etc. If you have a part-time job, say who it’s with, how long you have been doing it and what additional skills you have gained from it.
Within this section, you should state any special recognition that they have received at your job, and anything at work that you are particularly proud of.
Interests and activities
This section shows employers that you are a real human being! This is a great way for you to show you are interesting and awesome to prospective employers. Remember to list any voluntary work you have done, and what you gained from it, any sports you take part in, what sort of music you like, what types of books you like to read, if you enjoy cooking etc. etc. Basically, anything you like to do outside of your studies.
This is really important - your referees will be contacted by the employer to find out whether you should be taken on or not. You should ask a member of AMVC staff to be your first referee. The second referee could be your work experience employer or someone else that you have undertaken work for. Again, the second referee should be asked for permission.
Once your Curriculum Vitae has been completed, it should be checked and checked again to ensure accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar. It should also be given to someone else to check. Employers spend 30 seconds on average scanning a CV, so make sure there is no reason for yours to be rejected. The CV should be saved to a laptop/PC and a memory stick, copies should be printed off and one copy should be stored in a safe place. Furthermore, the CV should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis with new grades, work experience, skills and interests as they are gained.
Further information on the content and format of a CV, including examples, can be found on the internet. Useful websites include:
National Careers Service – CV Tips