Helpful hints for your CV
Your CV should include your education and employment history, it is also a good idea to include a personal statement. Here are some tips on writing these.
A commonly used structure for a CV would be:
- Name and contact details
- Personal statement – including your career objectives
- Employment history
- Leisure and other information
Name and contact details
Your name should head your CV, not the words ‘ Curriculum Vitae’. Ensure that your name stands out by using a larger font, bold and/or upper case. Make sure that the email address you use, something like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ would not give the right impression! Similarly, make sure that the answerphone message on your landline or mobile is suitable.
You do not need to include information such as your date of birth, ethnic origin, gender or marital status as employers are not allowed to ask these questions on application forms.
Giving a two or three-line introduction targeted to the type of employer and role in question is a good idea; it helps the employer grasp the essentials of what you are looking for.
- Introduce yourself e.g. “Recent student at…”
- Mention the type of job you are seeking (“sandwich placement” or “apprenticeship”)
- Which field – e.g. geological technician or medical laboratory technician. Emphasise your commitment to the relevant area of STEM and give reasons or examples
- Type of company – obviously the kind of company you are applying to!
- Where your aims lie e.g. to gain Chartered Engineering status
- Summary of the skills you would bring to the post.
- Use reverse chronological order
- Clear presentation of dates in a separate margin on left or right hand side
- Course title, institute name, location (full address not necessary)
- Indicate key modules studied which relate to the role/your career objective, possibly including good grades
- A2/AS levels or their equivalent and institute/school name and location
- GCSEs or their equivalent, but summarise, as your recent qualifications are more important
- Include school/college name and location.
Even if you do not have direct experience in science, technology or engineering, any jobs you have done such as part-time work, vacation work, volunteering etc. could enhance your application. They show the employer that you can work with people and take financial responsibility for your studies. They help you develop skills, even in jobs you haven’t enjoyed!
- Use a layout that is consistent with the Education section
- Use reverse chronological order
- Clear presentation of dates (as under Education)
- Job title, employer name, indicate location
- Summarise duties and responsibilities.
- List your key achievements with each employer
- Explain any gaps in your education or employment history
- Describe your responsibilities in any references to work experience, voluntary work, part-time or holiday jobs or any other positions you may have held.
You need to be able to list you most relevant skills and provide examples of how you developed and used them. You can use all kinds of experiences – school or college projects, part-time work, extra-curricular activities, industrial placements, voluntary/community work, sports and interesting leisure activities. For example you could say that by working part-time in your local nursing home you have developed your interpersonal skills and have gained confidence in communicating with people of all ages. Or, as a school prefect you have proved yourself to be reliable and dependable and have improved your leadership skills, especially when faced with an uncooperative team!
Make sure this section highlights your abilities in the most interesting and memorable way possible.
Leisure and other information
Many people do not realise how important this section is and so do not pay enough attention to it. Your leisure and any voluntary activities give the employer an impression of what you are really like as a person. So, if you’re a member of a sports club, a school/college society, a junior member of a professional body or active in the community, describe what you enjoy about them and your achievements. For example, as a member of the school rugby team you have developed your skills as a team player.
Draw out the skills that you have developed through these activities, so that the recruiter can add them to the ones you have identified earlier. This may give you the opportunity to add one or two skills you haven’t included previously.
If you are working at the moment and don’t want them to know you might leave, you may not wish to include your current employer or manager as a referee. If this is the case, then write ‘References available upon request’. If you are not working, and have enough space, then you can include two people here who can support the statements on your CV.
- Two referees – one academic (i.e. school or college) and one professional (current/previous job or work placement supervisor)
- Provide their name, job title, address, email and telephone number
- Write side-by-side or use one line for each if space is tight.