Writing a good CV is difficult. Writing one when you don't have a lot of work experience can be a real challenge. Fancy some advice?
Rick, Katie and Debbie are three of our senior recruiters. Between them they look at a LOT of CVs - and they know what a good one looks like. We asked for their advice on what students should consider when putting together a CV, and the best way to stand out from the crowd.
Rick: "Resist the urge to open Microsoft Word and just get stuck in. Your CV is important. It has the potential to change your life. So do your research. Ask friends and family for advice. There are countless online forums offering CV advice and plenty of copywriters who will offer their services (for a fee). Most people don't need to use a third party. A bit of homework and some common sense will usually do the trick."
Katie: "There are three basic areas you'll need to include: your education, your work history and your contact details. For the most part, everything else is superfluous!"
Debbie: "We see all sorts of strange things on CVs: date of birth, marital status, NI numbers, religion, health status, photos, and family information... Our advice to all our candidates is to leave this off your CV. It's highly unlikely to have any bearing on your ability to do the job. Leave space for the important things instead."
Katie: "In mainland Europe, it's quite common for people to include photos on their CVs, but in the UK it's not expected, and trust us when we tell you it's a bad idea – even if you happen to look like a supermodel. We're interested in your skills and knowledge – what you look like doesn't come into it!"
Rick: "A lot of people are very attached to idea of including hobbies and interests on their CV. If you want to do this, make sure they add some value. There is no point in putting "reading, shopping and socialising with friends". That might be true, but it doesn't tell us anything useful."
Debbie: "if you want to go down the hobbies route, make them count. "I volunteer at a local animal shelter" is ok. "I volunteer 2 days a week for a local animal shelter where I manage their website and helped them launch an online fundraising campaign that raised £5000 in 4 weeks" tells us a lot more."
Katie: "Recruiters really like facts and figures, so always be specific. If you had a summer job working in telesales tell us what you were selling, how many calls you made each day and what your sales targets were. The details bring your experience to life. But don't go overboard. If your CV is over two pages, it's too long."
Debbie: "We really like evidence of people trying to make things better. So include examples of times when you've introduced new ideas, found solutions to tricky problems or helped a colleague learn something new."
Rick: "Avoid trying to "get creative" - it can backfire! What recruiters look for is a clear, concise layout and comprehensive and relevant content. A well written CV will stand out without any theatrics."