Careers Advice Blog

A guide to creating the perfect CV

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A good CV is the first stepping-stone to landing your dream job, but knowing what to write can be tricky. For the majority of positions, the initial sift is where most applicants are rejected, so it’s essential that your CV stands out from the crowd and gets you past the first stage.

This guide will talk you through the most important elements of a CV, and help you to nab that interview.

  1. Do your research

Different sectors will have their own idea of what a perfect CV should look like. Arts and media jobs will often view colourful, individual CVs favourably, whereas they may be seen as unprofessional for a banking or law application. A quick search for standard CVs in your sector will go a long way towards helping you format your résumé. It’s important to keep length in mind as well – for jobs with a high volume of applicants, keep it short and sweet. However, for jobs with fewer applicants, you can afford to go into more depth.

  1. Tailor your skillset

It goes without saying that a job in media and a job in accountancy will be looking for very different applicants. If you’re applying to different sectors, make sure that you highlight the appropriate skills. It’s worth having different CVs for different sectors – a covering letter won’t make up for an unfocused résumé!

  1. Stay relevant

The general rule is that you shouldn’t put more than the last ten years of employment on your CV, but for students, this is far too much. Your year 10 work experience week is probably irrelevant (unless it’s something niche that you’re now applying for) and if you’ve done several different retail or office jobs, you don’t need to mention all of them (especially if you’re looking to condense your résumé). Prioritise relevant, recent work experience – this is the stuff employers will care most about.

  1. Layout is important

Put your name and contact details in big, bold letters at the top of your CV. If you hide them down at the bottom, you’re making it harder for your prospective employers to contact you! Your CV should also have well-defined sections separating different information to make it as easy as possible for employers to understand your skills. Education, past employment and special skills are just a few examples of information sets that you should consider separating out.

Creating a good CV isn’t all that hard – if you’re positive, concise and show passion for your chosen sector, you’ve won half the battle!

With a good layout and an understanding of your sector behind you, you’re sure to get the job of your dreams.

Do you have any more CV tips for students? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: The Italian Voice / Flickr

I’m Helena, a 21 year old recent physics graduate from Warwick university. In September I’ll be starting as a project management graduate with Transport for London. I love cooking, video games and writing, and I’m looking forward to taking the first step in my professional career!
Helena MorettiA guide to creating the perfect CV

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