How to Write a Simple CV


There is an art to applying for jobs and these rules apply to all types of jobs whether a part-time or a graduate position. Depending on the position and economic climate, certain sections of your CV will change such as relevant skills and experience. This post will help you tailor your CV to get you that interview.

The CV is more suited to those who are recent university graduates. Treat this as a rough template for a first draft CV.

  • There is no one cv that fits all.
  • Tailor it to the position that you are applying for.
  • Recruiters judge your CV by their list of required skills and experience.
  • Do some focused research on the company and position you are applying to and feed it through your CV and cover letter.
  • You have about 30 seconds to a minute to make a good first impression.
  • Employers assume what they see is what they get, they don't know anything about you except for what is on your CV, therefore, make it count.
  • Breakdown the requirements and how would you use them in the job you are applying to e.g. 'communications skills' - will you need to do presentations, hold meetings etc.
  • Try the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis on relevant skills and experience. It will help your USP (unique selling points) and your gaps and/or problems.
  • A simple CV is 1-2. You should try not to start off with more than one page unless you have at least a couple of years worth experience.
  • Select a basic theme. Black and White are seen as more professional, however, if you are applying for a position within a creative sector you might be expected to have a certain flair to your CV.
  • There are basic headings you can use shown in the diagram below, however, you can get creative with your headings to show off your best selling points such as education and awards, positions of responsibilities etc.
  • Put relevant experience and qualifications higher on your CV (reverse chronological order).
  • Show enthusiasm, interests, achievements and challenges that you have gained and faced.
  • Don't just state what you have done.
  • Quantify major achievements and skills (e.g. using all Microsoft packages vs. intermediate use of Final Cut Pro or won a year 9 spelling bee vs. raised £300 setting up a booth to raise the money for a nationwide charity etc.)
  • Discuss how you may have overcome challenges such as overcoming a disability or mental health illness.
  • Remember to add "references available upon request", employers normally do not contact references until after the interview has taken place. I personally like to have a list of references on a separate document readily available in soft and hard copy when needed and would also bring it with me to an interview.
  • Limit use of chunky paragraphs and long sentences and make use of bullet points.
  • Avoid generalisations and cliche phrases that describe the majority of people (e.g. "I have excellent communication skills") and back up everything with examples and work experience achievements.
  • Make sure everything is clear and concise to read. Formatting - Font type and size, bold headings, good use of quality paper for hard copies, PDF copy for electronic soft copies, best use of margins, good use of proper grammar and finally do a spell check before sending it off.

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