Your CV is supposed to be a snapshot of who you are and what experience you have, but it’s incredible how this vital document can turn out bland and boring. In this environment, with technology at our fingers, there really is no excuse not to be able to create something memorable, so we’re going to show you how you can write a killer CV.
Your CV is your chance to give potential employers a professional snapshot of who you are, even if you’re straight out of university and your working experience is minimal. This makes it even more important, while you literally have a blank canvas to demonstrate your intangible skills, like motivation, attitude to tackling projects, determination and how you will fit nicely in their team.
Make your CV Stand out
Just imagine how many CVs an employer receives for each job they advertise, and imagine if they’re all the same formula: traditional Word document, list of jobs, education grades, and a list of (fake) hobbies. How does anyone expect to stand out amongst that?
Find a template online
Have you heard of CANVA? If not, make yourself familiar with it immediately. This website has templates for everything you can imagine; presentations, flyers, posters, business cards, social media banners, social media posts and hundreds of documents. There is a free account which gives you plenty of templates without paying a penny.
Choose a style that fits the job
It has to be said, that each industry has a style, so it’s best to prepare your CV to suit it. Keep it professional!
Here are a few examples of what’s available on CANVA.
What to say on your CV:
- Your Bio
Aside from the typical name and contact details, write a nice bio using the third person voice to introduce to the reader what you have been studying, what extracurricular activities you’re involved in and any part time jobs you had. Use this section to demonstrate your use of language and turn this section into the story of you.
A quick side note on bio’s: Choose a style of writing that tallies up with the job… so if you’re going for a sales job, don’t be shy to mention any awards you have won, e.g. ”Salesperson of the month” for three months running, show them how proud you are and it also gives them insight to your competitive nature.
Justin Bieber is a third year Graphic Design Student at the University of Winchester, where he will major in Graphic Design and Art Science in June 2020. When Justin chose this route for his studies, he was really impressed by the opportunities this major created for him, where he has even used his skills straight away in helping design posters and flyers for the local sports centre.
Always keen to complete projects and assignments, Justin tackles each project with enthusiasm and determination to present well thought out ideas that have given him excellent grades towards his degree. He is proud to have finished first place as “Design student of the Year” in 2019.
Busy on and off campus, Justin plays in the local football team as defender and has a go at entertaining friends at the ‘open mic night’ once a month, much to everyone’s amusement!
List any jobs you have taken part in first, as employers will be keen to see whether you had any type of work experience. List everything, even if it was washing the neighbours car on the weekend or doing a paper round after school. It all adds up.
- Sept 2019 – Feb 2020: Shelf Stacker – TESCO
In this job, I was responsible for receiving daily deliveries and placing new stock onto the shelves, checking use by dates and rotating stock. Mostly shift work, before and after opening hours. Was awarded Sales person of the month for 3 months running.
University has been a big part of your life as you mature into an adult, so give this section some time and talk about your studies and the activities you achieved during your time there.
Include your secondary school and list the GSCEs and A-Levels you took. I always prefer a short list with grades is sufficient. Got a bad grade? Exclude it from the list 😉
This area is supposed to give the reader a snapshot of your personality and how you spend your free time. Including sports gives the impression you’re a team player, listing musical instruments says you’re of high intellect and being good at art and design shows you are creative and think outside the box.
Be careful not to create a fake personality when you prepare yours, otherwise you will break the trust of your new employer!!
How many pages should you write?
As your experience grows, so will the length of your CV, so in the first instance, make yours fit nicely on two A4 pages, using spacing and write a few more words on each element to showcase your studies, work, hobbies and achievements, this will make a nice amount for the employer to read. Over the years, you’ll most likely increase this to a nice 4 page portfolio.
It’s your turn to write your killer CV
Now we’ve shared our (20 years of experience) in writing CV’s with you, go and work on yours to make it stand out amongst the hundreds that you will be competing against. There is no excuse not to write a killer CV! Good luck!
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