Getting your CV right

Your CV is designed to do one thing: get you an interview. However, on average your potential employer will only spend between 20-30 seconds on your CV. That's why it's crucial to get it right from the start.

To help you see what kind of information to include on your CV here is our guide.

You can also download an example you could use to create your own. Simply replace our example details with your own using this word document (64KB).

Our CV Guide

YOUR NAME

Address: 99 Example Street, Example Town, EX4 3PL
Email: yourname@hotmail.com | Tel No. 07712 345678

Find out more about which personal details you should include.

PERSONAL STATEMENT


Your personal statement can be a very powerful thing. It’s the first bit of information that tells the reader about your skills and approach to work. Use this to show why you'd be a great member of staff.

Mention things that relate to the job advert i.e. being a good team player, working to deadlines, being a good communicator and explain how your skills can help them and their company.

Use no more than 50 words and make each sentence a strong selling point. Employers want to know what you can do for them. Think about it as a TV advert that's selling you.

For example, for an office job you might write something like this:
"If you're looking for a team member who can help organise your office and paperwork my experience as an office assistant for 3 years will prove invaluable. Organising and planning comes as second nature to me and I take great pride in the detail of tasks".

Listen to more tips on getting your personal statement right.

QUALIFICATIONS & CERTIFICATES


Having qualifications can improve your chances of getting a job.

  • Include any relevant qualifications here – list the name of the qualification and the date when you got it.
  • Make sure you put the best qualifications first.

If you haven't got the qualification the job asks for see if you can do a course with learndirect before you apply. Some courses can be done in a few hours, and they might even be free.

EDUCATION


You don't need to write much here, just list where you went to school or college along with the grades you got.

  • University/College Name, Location - Course Title, Grade
  • School Name, Location - Grades

Briefly explain how the courses you took have led you to your chosen career path.

EMPLOYMENT


Put your most recent job first, unless this isn't the most relevant to the job you're applying for. If there's a more relevant role put that at the top, even if it was a few years ago.

Job title:
Company name:
Company website: www.examplelink.co.uk
Location:
Dates of employment:

You should give a brief introduction to what the company does and explain what your job involved. 

Key achievements:

  • Mention things you're proud of from your last job to impress your employer
  • List results and successes - Make a real impact here
  • Only list things that are relevant for this job

KEY SKILLS


This is where you show the skills you have that will suit the job you want.

Before you rush to write a list of all the things you’re capable of, make sure you understand what skills are important for the job you’re applying for. Refer back to the job advert.

Here’s a list of skills popular with employers. These could be good to include if they're relevant to you:

  • Communication 
  • Teamwork 
  • Initiative 
  • Problem solving 
  • Flexibility 
  • Computer skills 
  • Technical skills

PERSONAL INTERESTS


Interests outside of work help employers get a more rounded picture of you. For example, if you play a team sport this shows you work well with others, or if you like to travel this shows an interest in other cultures.

Look at what the job ad mentions about the type of person they're looking for then see if your hobbies can relate to this.

REFERENCES


85% of employers will check at least one of your references so make sure you give details of people who can confirm your skills and experience.

You can either give details of your previous employers here (their name, job title and phone number) or just write 'References available on request'.

If you put someone's details here make sure you've checked with them that they're happy with this as your potential employer could call them without telling you.

 

Now you've done your CV make sure your cover letter is up to scratch. Use our template to get you started.

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Thanks for your help,
The learndirect team