Top tips for writing a CV

If you are writing a CV for the first time or giving your existing one a refresh, check out our top tips here :-

Always use a professional font such as Arial, Times New Roman or Garamond. Make sure this is of a reasonable size, 11 or 12 is usually sufficient. Don’t increase the size of the font to ‘pad out’ the CV.

Do not use clip-art on your CV or covering letter – even if you think this displays your IT skills.

Always use a good quality paper for printing and print each CV individually rather than photocopying. Photocopying reduces the quality of the print.

Don’t include any unprofessional sounding email addresses e.g. hotstuff@hotmail.com. Set up a new email account using your full name to email CV’s across to companies e.g. amysmith25@hotmail.com

Include as many contact details as you can. Home phone, mobile, email and postal address is usually sufficient.

When applying for your first job it will be a good idea to list the grades achieved at GCSE/A-level. It’s not compulsory to do this but will help employers get a better perception of you. If you prefer not to do this you can just add that you achieved, for example, 6 GCSEs including Maths and English.

List work experience in reverse chronological (time) order, this will mean the most recent comes first.

Make sure you give good detail about your most recent job and your responsibilities and achievements in that role. However if a previous job is more relevant to the one you’re applying for, detail that one too. Otherwise a brief description of your responsibilities will suffice for jobs over 3 years ago.

Keep the CV to a maximum of 2 pages of A4 paper where possible.

Always use the spell-check on your computer and proof-read the CV thoroughly, spell checks don’t pick up all typing errors, such as from/form. Remember to check punctuation too.

Make sure the CV is professionally presented i.e. everything is lined up together.

Include your interests or extra-curricular activities, to help the employer build a picture of you.

Briefly detail your computer skills and the kind of experience you’ve had using different packages.

Always enclose a covering letter. This should be no longer than 1 page of A4 and should detail why you are applying for the job and what skills you think you can offer.

There is no need, unless you are specifically asked, to handwrite the covering letter.

Make sure the covering letter is addressed correctly. If a contact is named in the advert make sure you address it to them rather than Sir/Madam.

Make sure the covering letter is signed off correctly. If you are addressing the letter to a named person i.e. Mr Employer, the sign off should be Yours sincerely. If you are addressing the letter to an unnamed person i.e. Sir/Madam, the sign off should be Yours faithfully. Remember Sir/Madam doesn’t go with Sincerely – the 2 S rule!

Make sure the covering letter is tailored to the position you are applying for – don’t send a generic letter just changing the name and address. Make sure you point out why you want that job and why you’d be good at it.

Don’t cram your CV into a small envelope; use an A4 size to maintain the professional look.

Good luck!