Whether you are straight out of school, have just left college or university, have been out of the job sector for a long time or have never had a job for whatever reason then you may be wondering about CV’s. When you apply for a job you will usually be requested to submit a CV which is short for curriculum vitae - a latin term - and can be translated to ‘course of life.’ What the CV predominantly gives a potential employer is a snapshot of you as a person and your skills, strengths, experiences and achievements in relation to the job for which you wish to apply for.
So where do you start if you are feeling unsure and overwhelmed? Firstly, if you feel like you need someone else to help you with formatting your CV, many job centres, libraries and community centres offer specialist assistance where they can give you advice and of course, you often have permission to use their printers if you do not have one at your disposal at home. Templates that are tailored for CV formats can help you navigate through the different sections of the CV, which can appear daunting if you have never used them before.
It is a good idea, especially if you are feeling a little out of your depth, to research who and where offers this help. It shouldn’t be too tricky to locate somewhere as the government is committed to getting people back into work and has recently invested billions of pounds in support. So, if you are feeling a little worried, rest assured you are not alone.
The CV should be neat and preferably printed in a normal black font, on quality white paper but you can use italics or bold lettering to emphasise important details. The information should have bullet points and headers, adhering to the same style throughout. It is not necessary to have new pages for each heading as this could make the CV bulky and appear lengthy. Your aim is to keep the CV flowing as well as ensuring it stays neat, tidy and to the point, telling the prospective employer only information that is relevant to the job.
You should firstly put your personal details including name and contact details. It is not necessary to include your date of birth. Include your telephone number and email address. Links to social media accounts should not be given unless it is purely from a professional perspective and is relevant to the job and highlights your achievements. A good example of this would be LinkedIn but only if applicable to you..
A small personal statement should follow this where you introduce yourself and your attributes. You can mention any skills or qualities which you think may make you an ideal candidate for this job.
List your educational background with more recent first, naming the institutions in which you studied, what qualifications you gained and when.
Then list your work experience in the same way - the most recent at the top of the list. Not everyone has work experience and employers understand this but if you have done any volunteering work, you can highlight this. You may mention any projects or completed coursework that you feel is relevant too.