Writing a Curriculum Vitae
A CV is a personal document and everybody’s CV is different.
CVs are widely accepted by employers as a method to apply for their vacancies, albeit part time, full time or an Apprenticeship. These documents are useful as they are a great way to record and quickly access a student’s education and employment history. Initially CVs will have limited information but this can be added to over time and show how their skills and experience have grown and ensure that it reflects the qualities and qualifications that an employer is looking for.
Some do’s and don’ts before you get started
- There is no minimum or maximum CV length, however, they should be no longer than 2 pages to avoid unnecessary waffle. Students need to ensure it’s professional, accurate, targeted to the job that they are applying for.
- Students are ill advised to include a photo…even if it’s a good one. A person’s employment prospects shouldn’t be affected by what they look like.
- Students should produce a word document in size 12 in a font like Calibri, Verdana or Arial.
- The information included must be honest at all times. If the information is false, an employee could lose their job and, even worse, in some cases they might be liable for criminal prosecution.
- They need to be easy to read and understand and give the employers a clear idea of whether a person’s written communication skills are up to scratch.
- They should not be too fancy or too informal.
- They need to be specific to a particular job or recruiter.
There is no one right way to put together a CV. However, there are some standard headings that could be used and there are some common errors that should be avoided. Students can adapt the format to suit them and the job that they are employing for to reflect their strengths.
- A person’s full name, address and postcode needs to be visible at the top of page 1.
- A person’s email address should be underneath their name and address. This has to be professional! If an email address is not professional, students are advised to create a new one.
- All phone numbers (mobile and landline) should be on subsequent lines. Applicants need to have a good phone manner because employers will be calling them and it is worthwhile getting your voicemail set up correctly.
This is a quick way for someone to talk about themselves and why they should be considered for a particular vacancy. Everyone writes things like – ‘I am a hardworking / a good time keeper / I can work own or as part of a team’. It is important to say something new; the following questions could be used as prompts:
- Strong IT skills. If a person is under 20 years old, they will mostly have twice the level of IT skills than anyone over the age of 20.
- Time keeping and prioritising. At school students work hard every day to get assignments completed on time. They balance the work load of several different subjects.
- There are many skills that can be appropriately selected, including, customer service skills, being physically active, attention to detail, etc.
This section will be short if a person is still in education. It should begin with a statement of which school is being attended. Brine Leas School is a good school and Brine Leas Sixth Form is an outstanding sixth form and this should be stated.
- A person should list the grades in subjects that have already been achieved.
- Give honest predicted grades of the subjects that are still to be achieved should be given.
A list of relevant training courses and dates that have been undertaken.
This is a great opportunity to talk about things that a person has been involved in, at school or outside of school, and ones they may be proud of. The following questions could be used as prompts:
- Do you play music?
- Are you a member of any groups or clubs?
- Have you ever received any awards or special recognition?
This section will also be short if a person is still at school. Therefore, it is important to be as detailed as possible. Students should:
- List their year 10 , 11 experience of the work place, year 12 work experience, where and when they worked, and what they did.
- List any work they do to support their family like babysitting, DIY, shopping, cooking etc
- List any part time work, who it’s with, when it took place and what the job entailed.
Within this section, a person should state any special recognition that they have received in their work, anything within their work that they are particularly proud of.
Interests and activities
This shows employers that a person is a real human being! This is a great way for a person to show they are interesting and awesome to prospective employers. The following questions could be used as prompts:
- Have you undertaken any voluntary work? If so, what did you gain from this activity? Look to include specific skills such as teamwork and communication.
- Do you take part in any sports? Which sports and what have you achieved?
- Do you listen to music? If so what do you listen to?
- Do you read? What do you like to read?
- Do you watch films?
- Do you collect something?
- Do you cook?
- What do you do outside of your studies?
This is really important, a person’s references will be contacted by their next employer to find out whether they should be hired.
- Students should ask their Progress Tutor (Form Tutor) or Progress Manager (Head of Year) to be their first referee.
- The second referee could be a student’s work experience employer or someone else that they have undertaken work for. Again, the second referee should be asked for permission.
Once a Curriculum Vitae has been completed, it should be checked and checked again to ensure accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar. It should also be given to someone else to check. Employers spend 30 seconds on average scanning a CV, so make sure there is no reason for it to be rejected. The CV should be saved to a laptop/PC and a memory stick, copies should be printed off and one copy should be stored in a safe place. Furthermore, the CV should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis with new grades, work experience, skills and interests as they are gained.
Further information on the content and format of a CV, including examples, can be found on the internet. Useful websites include: