CV advice from our recruitment expert Adam Jones
I am Adam Jones, Head of HR Operations at Teledyne e2v. I am responsible for recruitment, training and people development including the Teledyne e2v apprentice scheme, so I know exactly what employers look for in a CV.
Getting your CV right is one of the most important aspects of applying for a job. So whether you are looking at applying for a part time role, an apprenticeship or moving into full time follow my tips to help you on your way.
What is a CV?
A CV (short for Curriculum Vitae) is a short document which shows an employer all of your experience and skills to prove that you’re a great match for their job. Your CV needs to stand out from the rest (for the right reasons!) so I’ve created some tips to help you secure that interview. Let’s start from the top and work our way down.
At the top of your CV you will need to let employers know who you are and some details about you too. You might want to include your name and your contact details (such as phone and e-mail). Make sure your name stands out by making it slightly larger or by putting it in bold.
Include a few sentences about you and your skills to give employers a better understanding about you and get their attention. Make sure you edit this to suit the role that you’re applying for so that you promote all of your best points. In fact, it’s important to adapt your CV for each job you apply for so that you best demonstrate how you are suited to the job.
Once the introductions are out of the way, the employer will mostly want to see what experience you have. So if you've worked before make sure you outline any jobs you've had here.
If you're applying for your first job and don’t have any experience, you can instead list some other responsibilities you have had: perhaps you have helped to look after a family member or been a delegate at school. Be sure to highlight any voluntary work or other training you may have had too. If it’s still difficult to add any of this you can address this in your profile; be honest, but don’t highlight any negative experiences.
It can be hard to decide what skills and experience to include. Regardless of your work experience, you can list some of the skills you have developed through your own life. These might include things like; being in a sports team; going on a work experience placement; helping on school/college open days; volunteering; or taking part in any extra curricular clubs. Now think about what skills and experience you gained. Things like leadership, teamwork & communication are all important to employers.
Check out the bullets below to see examples of some of the skills you might want to include:
Example skills to highlight
- Problem Solving
- IT & Digital
- Social Media
- Team Work
In this next section, you should list your complete education, including the places you studied, the years you were a student and the qualifications and levels you studied to. Only include grades in which you passed. Be sure to arrange your places of study chronologically and all of your courses alphabetically or numerically according to the grade you received.
If you have a higher level qualification such as a degree or above, you might find it sufficient to simply list your degree level and the required qualifications to gain access to the course (such as A-Levels or equivalent). Remember, if you list a qualification, certificate or award, have copies of them to hand as an employer may request to see them.
Interests / Activities
After your education, you should list some hobbies and interests to help demonstrate more about you as a person. By listing these interests, you show that you are active and may highlight some other skills you have: perhaps you compete or practice in a sport, or maybe you enjoy doing something creative.
This is a good place to list any voluntary activities or projects you have been involved in, but certain activities like watching TV, partying or listening to music won’t interest employers.
- Make sure your CV is clean and simple to read. Using lots of different fonts and colours actually makes it distracting. You can find lots of free templates online to help with your layout.
- As a rule, keep your CV to no more than two pages long
- List your previous experience in order of relevance to make it easier for the employer to shortlist you.
- Inconsistent formatting, typos, and uncommon file formats are all quick ways to present yourself in a negative light. Check and check again!
- Don’t include things just to fill out the CV; every item on your list should be relevant to the job you are applying for.
- Most CVs are too descriptive, whilst they should be achievement orientated. Take a look at each bullet point on your CV and see if you can make it achievement based.
If you follow all of these steps, you’ll have a great CV. It can take some time, but it is important to get it right.
Get some CV inspiration!
Visit creativebloq.com to see some FREE CV templates
It's not always easing starting to write a CV from scratch. These templates might help give you some ideas.