Writing a successful CV

Getting your first job in such a competitive industry as ours can prove to be a very hard and daunting experience. You may have the best qualifications, a friendly and outgoing personality and the latest pair of trainers, but unless your CV is informative and interesting, you're not going anywhere.

To help you, we've put together some of the main points to consider when writing your CV. This is probably one of the most important documents you'll ever write and needs to create a lasting impact to ensure you get that interview. You may only have 20-30 seconds to grab the reader's attention, so consider carefully what information you want to put down. Here are some things to think about:

Choose a clear and logical format

Ensure that you don't clutter your CV with too much information in no apparent order. It's best to select a few headings to split your information into. For example:

  • Profile – this is a chance for you to blow your own trumpet. What are your strengths? Do you work well as a team? Are you reliable, hard working and punctual? Take time to write a couple of sentences to 'sell' yourself. Apart from your name, this will be the first information your prospective employer will read about you.
  • History – beginning with the most recent, begin to list your employment history. Include the dates and job title, along with a short description of your duties. If you have been responsible for other staff, handled money or worked with the public, put these down. Even if some of your previous jobs have been doing something completely different, these are skills which are always welcome.
  • Qualifications – again, start with the most recent or what you consider to be the most relevant. Include the year you gained the qualification and what was covered within that qualification. As mentioned earlier, be sure to keep it relevant. You may be proud of your Cycling Proficiency certificate but it has no place on your CV!
  • Personal – it's good to include a couple of lines about yourself in this section. List any hobbies you may have, your interests and what you enjoy doing outside of work. Don't forget to include your personal details such as contact address, phone number and e-mail.

Include a covering letter

It's a good idea to include a letter with your CV of no more than one page to introduce yourself to your prospective employer. Include a brief description of what you do and why you're applying for the job. These days, CVs are often sent electronically – but always check with the prospective employer for their preferred method.

Presentation

Invest in some good quality paper to write your CV, choose a colour such as white or cream. Do not use bright colours as they do not create a good impression and are hard to photocopy. As a finishing touch, if you're sending your CV via the post, you could bind it using a plastic wallet and spine and send it in an A4 envelope.

Ensure you send your application in plenty of time and remember to check the spelling before posting it. We recommend that your CV consists of no more than 2 pages - any more and you will begin to bore the reader.

Remember, your CV is your ticket to getting that interview. For more information visit www.bradleycvs.co.uk


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