Top tips for writing your first CV

Written: 06 May 2020

Person writing at desk in front of laptop

Writing your first CV can seem like a daunting task. This is the document you will use to showcase yourself to future employers. It can often be the first contact you will have with an employer, so you need to sell yourself in the right way with an amazing CV.

Below are some handy tips to help you write your first CV. Good luck, we’re sure you’ll do great!

1) Proofread

Make sure you proofread your CV. You don’t want the first impression of you to be spelling mistakes that could have been fixed with spell check and a final proofread.

2) Tell the truth

The chances of getting caught out in a lie on your CV are pretty high with the use of the internet and background checks. Even if you don’t get caught straight away it will catch up to you at some point. So please don’t pretend you have skills that you don’t. It’s much better to be honest and let employers know that you are eager to learn and develop any skills you don’t have.

3) Use our handy template below:

Header
The header should only include:
Your full name, address, phone number and email address.

Personal Statement
Your personal statement is a short paragraph about you, your goals and what you can offer an employer. This should be no longer than 200 words. Any extra should be included in a cover letter instead.

Skills
This is the main part of your first CV so make sure you sell yourself as much as you can. Include any skills you have that would be suitable to the job you are applying for. These can be specific such as ‘knowledge of Microsoft Excel’ and more general skills such as ‘skilled at both written and verbal communication’. Discuss this part with a friend or family member if you need to – they might be able to highlight skills you have but don’t see in yourself.

Education
This should be in chronological order with the most recent first. Don’t include anything before your GCSE’s.
For each section include:
• College/school name
• Dates of study
• Number and grades

Work experience
This section is optional. If you have work experience or volunteering you’ve done that’s relevant to the job you should include it.
Include the following:
• Your job title
• Dates of employment
• The organisation’s name and location
• Key duties and accomplishments

Hobbies/Interests
This is also optional but if you don’t have work experience you can include hobbies or interests that show an employer more about your personality.

References
When you apply for a job, you will usually be required to supply two references. Usually this would include your last employer, however if you are still at school or haven’t had a job before, this can be your personal tutor, teacher or even a character reference from someone who knows you well. You don’t have to put the names and contact details of your references on your CV. If you need some time to work out who your references will be, you can simply say ‘References available on request.’

Once you have a completed CV, you can tailor it for any job you are applying for and add in your work history along the way.
If you need more help with your CV you can access support from one of our employment advisors.

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