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The Ultimate Guide to CVs

The Ultimate Guide to CVs

What is a CV and why do I need one?

A CV is basically a sales pitch about you on paper. It is the first thing that an employer is likely to see in regards to you. A CV gives an overview of a person showing the employer within a few seconds if you have the relevant experience, qualifications, attributes and qualities for the job that they are looking to fill.

First Impressions

Your CV needs to be:

  • Clean and tidy.
  • Easy to read (clear, standard sized font; not too big or too small).
  • On good quality paper (if printed).
  • Saved under an easily accessible name on your computer and saved as a PDF and Word document for uploading.
  • Complete with good spelling and grammar.
  • A max of two pages long.
  • Clear on the message you are trying to get across.
  • Donít over complicate it with pictures and clip art etc.

Get a friend/family member/professional with good spelling and grammar to look over your CV and advise changes Ė and then make these changes!

What to Say

Just like any other first impression, what you say about yourself will ultimately lead to success or failure. Therefore you need to make sure that they have all the things right in front of them that they will need to make a decision.

Contact Details


  • Your Full Name:Should be at the top of the page (non nicknames).
  • Home Address: There is varied thought about if you should include this or not, some people say it might affect an employerís choice so if in doubt leave it off but if you are going to include it make sure it is your FULL address with postcode!)
  • Mobile Phone and Home Telephone Number:If possible give both because itís always good to have more than one way to contact someone and if you lose or break your mobile you donít have to miss out.
  • E-mail Address: Make sure that it appropriate and try not to put anything in it that refers to your age or personal taste, just your name is fine.
Donít Include
  • Driving License: You donít need to state you have one unless it is a job that may require driving for the job role.
  • Photograph:They donít need to know what you look like to make a decision and it may lead to you being unfairly discriminated against.
  • Date of Birth: Unless the job requires you to be a certain age
  • Ethnicity: This is personal information that could affect an employerís impartial judgement.

MiniProfile/Personal Statement

  • Make yourself stand out from the rest! Avoid statements anyone could say and focus on what makes you special and right for the job.
  • Keep it to a short paragraph.
  • Ask someone to check it and ask them how you can sell yourself better.

Key Skills and Achievements

  • List notable things that you are proud of achieving. This could be passing your driving test, getting an award at school or in the community/nationally or a certificate from a class you have taken outside of school/college such as food hygiene. (Remember to include date achieved).
  • If you donít have any relevant information for this section. Donít worry, just leave it out.

Career History

  • List your most recent job, work experience or voluntary work and then work your way back.
  • Write each job title and the dates you worked there from and till and under each title list your main responsibilities for each job.
  • Make sure that all dates match up. Make sure that you can explain any gaps.
  • Donít make things up because you will get caught out in the interview.

Training and Education

  • List your education (most recent first). Include your school/college/university,date attended to and from and what awards you gained e.g. GCSE/Entrylevel/AS/A-Level.
  • If you have done training at previous employment, voluntary or experience list this here as well.
  • List any outside work skills from things that you are involved with in the local community for example public speaking.

Interests and Hobbies

  • Make sure they are all genuine interests because you may be asked about them during an interview.
  • List relevant hobbies to the job.

The Little Extras

People are always asking us what they can do to make themselves stand out. Sometimes we lack confidence in our skills and abilities or donít even realise that we have them. Writing a CV is the time where we need to put our opinions of not wanting to show off aside.

Lots of people who come to us also worry because they donít have lots of work experience or they havenít been in employment for a long time but this doesnít that you canít succeed and donít have something to give to the business that you are applying for.

Here is a list of things that you might think about including to stand out from the crowd:

  • Were you part of a club or group at school/college/university where you had responsibilities?
  • Have you organised events at school/college/university or in the community?
  • Have you taken part in something like the Duke of Edinburgh award?
  • Have you ever done any voluntary work?
  • Have you been part of a society such as girl guides?
  • Have you worked in a local charity shop or religious group?

All of the above will not only show that you have extra skills and abilities that make you stand out but they will also show that you have a well-rounded life where you take initiative.

Final Thoughts

  • Having more than one CV: Itís okay to have more than one CV because different employers will be looking for different things to be highlighted.
  • Is it relevant?: Take out unnecessary skills.
  • Keep it specific: Use the job description when crafting specific CVs to make sure you know exactly what they are looking for.
  • Stand out: Think about what you have to offer that makes you stand out. If you find it hard speak to friends or family or one of our advisors.
  • You confidence shines through: If you write a CV where you donít believe in yourself then an employer will be able to tell. You need to show yourself as a positive, friendly person so start to believe in yourself.

If you would like any more information, advice or guidance about writing CV or applying for Apprenticeships/Jobs call us on: 0121 707 0550, book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors or e-mail:info@apprenticeshiprecruitment.co.uk

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