Writing a CV

A CV (also known as a Curriculum Vitae), is a written overview of your skills, education, and work experience. There is no official CV structure, but a CV needs to be well presented and clear.

Here are some tips on how to create a professional looking CV.

Tailor your CV to the job you are looking for
If you adapt your CV to match the requirements of the job description, you will stand a much better chance of being shortlisted. Employers look at a lot of CVs, so it is easy for them to see who has taken the time to adapt their CV to their company/industry, and who is sending generic CVs that try and cover all bases. You don’t have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details that are relevant.

Use bullet points
Recruiters spend very little time looking at CVs. They don’t want to read paragraphs and blocks of text to find information. Use succinct bullet points when writing your employment history and skills to make it easier for them to see you are the right candidate.

Use action verbs
Instead of using the ‘I’ pronoun, such as ‘I did this, I did that’, use positive action words to lead bullet points e.g. ‘Initiated, demonstrated, created’, which will seem much more dynamic.

Provide evidence to substantiate your claims
You need to prove you have what they need. So instead of your CV saying you have ‘good communication skills’, give an example of where you demonstrated this to good effect e.g. ‘wrote monthly blog on developments at our sixth form as part of our social media strategy’.

Ensure your spelling and punctuation is correct, and your formatting is consistent
If you want to demonstrate that you are professional and have a good eye for detail, it is imperative that your CV doesn’t have any basic mistakes or oversights on it.

Keep your CV to one page
A concise and well-presented CV will always be more appealing to an employer than a lengthy one. You can go on to a second page if you really need to, but you should avoid going on to a third page. Margins can be widened and font size 11 can be used to help keep the length down.

Make the most of skills
Under the skills section of your CV, don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills; computer skills; problem solving or even speaking a foreign language. Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you’ve done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group – it’s all relevant.

Make the most of interests
Under interests, highlight the things that demonstrate the skills you’ve gained and what employers are looking for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you ran your sixth form newspaper or if you started a weekend league football team that became a success. Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Don’t include interests like watching TV or playing video games as this won’t show off your skills. Make yourself sound interesting.

Here’s a CV template you can follow. 

  • The Lloyd’s IntoWork Mentoring programme could not have picked a more suited pair to work together. We learnt a lot from each other over the months of the programme and have since established a firm friendship that has and will continue to extend into the future.

    Brokerage Mentor