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CV writing tips

How to get noticed

How do you write a winning CV?

The million dollar question – how do you write a winning CV that grabs the attention of a potential employer? A CV that makes them pick up the phone to invite you to an interview?

Whether you’re applying for an Apprenticeship or job role, your CV is often the first impression you will have on the recruiter, so it’s got to be right. Here are some top tips to get you started.

1. Layout

Your CV shouldn’t be hard work to read – the last thing you want is for an employer to take one look, sigh, and put it to one side. Lengthy CVs that aren’t divided into sections aren’t as welcoming to read as one that is concise and has a clear structure. Try not to use long paragraphs – instead try shorter sentences and bullet points to help simplify your selling points.

Stick to one font, use consistent headers (e.g. all bold or underlined) and try to keep each section similar in length. A CV is not an essay, so put it together with the employer in mind – they want to digest the information quickly and easily as they are likely to be inundated with applications.

Keep your CV simple – colour, imagery and unusual fonts don’t really have a place in CV-writing – at least not for non-creative roles. Impress with your experience, not your use of Clip Art.

2. Must-haves

There are certain elements that your CV just can’t be without; like toast without jam or cheese without crackers. This checklist should help you hit all the essentials:

  • Personal details: full name, address, email address, telephone number
  • Education, training and qualifications.
  • Work history, with your most recent or current position first
  • Personal profile: your ambitions, key achievements and interests
  • References

3. Less is more

Ideally, you should aim to keep your CV within two pages. Of course, if you have lots of experience your CV may be longer, but ask yourself, is it all relevant to this job role? The temptation can be to include all experience and achievements, but keep it relevant to the role you are applying for.

An overly-long CV doesn’t scream ‘read me!’, so keep wording concise and include only the most applicable experience and achievements. An interview may be your opportunity to expand on the information in your CV, so it only needs to provide the essential information.

4. Tailor

In addition to only including the most pertinent information, you must also ensure you tailor your CV to the position you are applying for. Generally, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to CVwriting, so tweak it to emphasise your suitability for that role.

For example, adding key terms appropriate to that industry or role, or emphasising your most important skills to that role over other skills. Each CV should portray your enthusiasm for that individual opportunity; like you’ve got your heart set on the job and it’s the only one you are applying for.

5. Accuracy and detail

It goes without saying that spelling and grammar are of utmost importance in a CV. Mistakes can indicate you have rushed or not taken your application seriously. Portraying laziness or sloppiness isn’t the best impression to give, so be sure to read through your CV several times before submitting it, and request a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ from someone else, too. It is vital to research the employer or company you are sending your CV to. Including or omitting certain words or phrases that are associated to that company shows attention to detail.

Application form tips for success

Filling in an application form can seem daunting, especially if you haven’t completed one before, or you’re really keen on the job. They can look complicated and extensive, but ease the pressure by following these simple tips to get you started on the road to application success.

How to write a winning cover letter

A cover letter usually accompanies your CV and/or application form and acts as an introduction of who you are and why you wish to apply for the role. They are a formality, and as such, can simply be ‘short and sweet’ – leave the detail for your CV and application form.

How to ace your interview

Now you have written your CV and completed your application, the next stage is an interview. This can be the most daunting part as it’s in ‘real-time’ and is unpredictable – not to mention the deciding factor for the employer. Follow our tips to help you prepare.

Have you considered an Apprenticeship?

Learning and earning all in one as a way into an industry could be the ideal option for you to kick-start your career.