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Find out how to write a cv

If you are reading this article, it is probably because you need to know how to write a cv. If you keep reading, you will learn:

If you are looking for a job and have had no success or you are just about to embark on a job search, it will have come to your attention that you need to know how to write a curriculum vitae. Don’t look at this as extra work that is being piled on you to stress you out, view it as a chance to showcase your worth. This is why you need a cv.


The job market can drain the life out of you as the more you search the more you begin the think that employers expect you to be superhuman to do the most basic of jobs. Actually this is where an outstanding cv will help you. The reasons are not simply that it will help to catch a potential employer’s eye but when you truly start highlighting your skills, qualifications and experience, it will give you confidence.

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  • This may seem obvious but stress makes folks want to get jobs out of the way. Often the most important tasks are the ones that get the least time and effort from us. For some reason, people searching for jobs rush their cv out and it actually makes them appear less employable than they are. Take your time and make sure that your cv is the very best that it can be to showcase your talents.
  • This also goes for checking that your cv does not have spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. It makes you look inefficient if you send out something that is littered with mistakes.
  • Don’t think writing a full list of hobbies that have nothing whatsoever to do with the position on offer will make you look like a busy go getter, it doesn’t. It will simply make you appear to not understand what the job entails.
  • Don’t send out a cv that is two years old. This is something that needs to be updated regularly.
  • Many people spend time writing a cv and they are happy with the results and then they use the same cv to send to every job which they apply for. This would be a good method to use if every single job that you tried to get was identical. However, they are not and this is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when applying for jobs. Don’t send out a blanket cv, tailor each one that you send out to match the situation you are applying for. It truly is worth the time and effort because essentially, it means that you will probably find employment quicker.
  • Don’t think that more is better and have a cv that is ten pages long. Your potential employers would assume that you cannot differentiate between what is relevant and what isn’t. Your cv would hit the rejection pile quicker than a politician does a u turn when they are trying to save face.

The good news is that the first part of writing a cv is easy. The reason for this is that it is quite simply your personal details. Quite often, folks forget to add this because they are so worried about not having enough qualifications or skills to impress a potential employer. In essence, if you are staring at a blank screen worrying what to write you can make a start by typing in your name, address, contact telephone number and email address. There – you’ve started and it was quite painless.

After filling in your personal details, you need to write what some call a profile but others refer to it as a personal statement. It is really important that you get this right because it is the first item that your future employer really takes notice of. In other words, if they are impressed by your profile they will continue reading your cv but if they aren’t enthralled, you will be on the rejection list. This may sound cruel but often employers have literally thirty seconds to decide whether to put you into an interview pile or one of rejection.

Earlier in this article, it was mentioned that it is not a good idea to send out a blanket cv to every single job that you apply for. Essentially, this specifically means that your profile should be tailored to each job application individually. Before we explore why this is the case, you need to understand exactly what your profile or personal statement should be. Let’s investigate what you need to put into your personal statement.

  • You need to make it clear why you have chosen to work in the particular field that you are applying for.
  • Highlight the skills, qualifications and experience that you have that make you perfect for the position that you wish to get.
  • Describe your career aims and keep it focussed on the company and career that you are applying to.
  • Read it through, does it clarify who you are, what you expect from the company and most importantly what you can contribute in return?
  • Once you have checked that you have covered the relevant points, you need to make it concise. Basically, if you can keep all the information that has been mentioned in but have slimmed it down to approximately one hundred words, you have cracked it. Obviously, for certain professions that need to go into much more detail that is acceptable but, on the whole, one hundred words will suffice.

The best way to demonstrate how to do it is to show you an example. This is a bad example:

I am applying for a position at your college to teach EASL (English as a Second Language). I have got lots and lots of experience and am fully qualified. I like talking to people a lot and this makes me perfect for the job. My friend works at the college and she said that I would fit in nicely. I live in an area where lots of people that don’t have English as a first language live so I am used to helping people understand English.

Notice how the applicant continually generalises. She tells the potential employer that she has lots and lots of experience and is fully qualified. To someone who doesn’t know her that means exactly nothing. The psychology behind the writing is that the applicant assumes that the reader will see her experience and qualifications further down the page. However, if the reader is not impressed by the profile, the chances are that they will not get as far as the later sections which hold these details.

A good example:

I have taught EASL for five years in a secondary school whilst studying for DELTA. Now that I have qualified, I feel that I am ready to demonstrate my skills in a further education setting. My interest in helping older students grew when I worked as a volunteer helping refugees speak English at the city drop-in centre. Seeing students’ confidence grow as they learn to speak English and pass exams is what makes me interested in the profession.

Can you see how she is specific? She manages to bring in her latest relevant qualification whilst talking about her experience. She also mentions getting students to pass exams. This is what colleges are basically for and so she demonstrates that she understands the business that she is applying to.

Earlier in this section, it was mentioned that it is particularly important that this part of your cv is specifically designed for each individual position that you apply for. Let’s imagine then that Megan is the name of the applicant that applied for the aforementioned teaching job. Megan desperately needs to get employment so on the same day, she also applied for a job with a company that publishes English language lessons as a salesperson. In that case, Megan would promote her qualifications but she would also highlight a previous position in sales more than the teaching experience. Can you see how it works? You highlight the experience that is most relevant to the position which you are applying,

Work experience

In this section, you should list all your relevant work experience. You need to begin with your most recent job and work backward. This should include:

  • The job title.
  • The name of the company.
  • The length of time you were employed by that company in that particular role.
  • A list of your key responsibilities.

Incidentally, if you have little work experience, you should put the Education section first. It is a curious fact, however, that often people believe they have less work experience than they have. For instance, there is a situation where a young mother, Lucy, spent ten years at home bringing up her children. When asked to write a cv, she said that she had no work experience. However, on closer questioning, she had spent six years working in a playgroup on a voluntary basis. Over the period of six years, she had various duties to attend to and those could be added to her cv.

The same situation often applies to students as they often forget about the work experience that they have got through holiday work. It may seem irrelevant to add working in a bar when applying for a job as a trainee manager, however, if you had to perform duties such as stock taking etc., these might actually be relevant to your job application.

Skills and achievements

The trick to this section is to demonstrate not only that you have plenty of skills and achievements but that they are relevant to the position that you are applying for. The desire to throw everything in here can be overwhelming because we all like to boast about our mud wrestling accomplishments but that probably wouldn’t go down well if you were applying for a job as a reception class teacher in a private school.

If you remember, earlier in the article, it was discussed that each cv that you send out needs to be tailored to the particular job that you are applying for. It is really important that you do that for this section, if you are applying for a variety of positions. If you don’t, you may find that you have added skills that are not relevant to the post that you are after and the potential employer may question why you have added it. In other words, they will automatically assume that it is a generic cv that you send to every potential employer.

The trick here is to think out of the box. For instance, if you spend your weekends practising historical cookery (this is making recipes from old cookery books) and you are applying for a job as a history teacher, you could state that you intend to do historical cookery lessons with your class to help them get a perspective of food eaten during the English Civil War. You can bet that would get a second look on your skills section.

Again, do a list and put everything down and then work through the list and only keep in what will impress and also be relevant.

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