CVs : advertise your value
Your CV and covering letter is your chance to show an employer the best of what you've got. It's about selling your skills and experience, and showing them you're the right person for the job.
Why a CV matters
Employers choose who they want to interview from what is contained on your CV. Therefore, it's really important that it's easy to understand and shows you in a positive light.
Spelling mistakes, poor grammar and missing information on a CV looks really bad. If it's incomplete or doesn't make any sense, employers may discard it
There's no right or wrong way to set out a CV, but there are some standard sections that they should contain. These are:
- personal and contact information
- education and qualifications
- work history
- skills relevant to the job
References should be from people who know you well and can tell an employer about what you have done in the past. They are usually your last two employers. If you haven't worked before, you can use a teacher or a tutor from school or college.
When you're describing your interests, highlight the things that show off the skills that employers look for. Some really good things to include are:
- any examples of working in a team
- relevant voluntary work or work experience
- positions of responsibility
- any activity that shows off using initiative
Keep your CV to a maximum of two sides of A4 paper. Employers receive a lot of CVs, so it's unlikely that they will read each one from start to finish. In fact, most will make a judgment about a CV after a few seconds, so keep it short.
Remember that employers won't expect teenagers to have lots of work experience. The key is to think about anything you've done at school, what you do in your spare time or your interests. Is anything that you've done relevant to the job you're applying for? If it is, make sure you put it on your CV.
Don't be afraid of promoting yourself. That's what CVs are for after all
It's important to include a section dedicated to your skills. The ones that you mention will depend on the job you're applying for, but some examples of key skills can make you really stand out, for example
- computer skills - including using commonly-used programs, writing a blog or knowledge of web design
- communication skills - if you're confident in speaking in front of groups or calm and friendly on the telephone
- team working - if you've ever worked in a large group of people like a sports team or a drama group
- problem solving ability - think about any problems you have overcome and how you did it
Key Skills qualifications always include your formal qualifications and relevant training courses you've attended
Matching your CV to a job description
Different jobs need different sets of skills. Whenever you apply for a job, alter your CV so that it relates to the role you are applying for.
You don't have to re-write it completely, but you may want to re-draft or re-order some of your interests and skills so the most important ones are nearer the beginning of the document.
You might also want to remove things that you don't need to mention for a particular job.
Keeping your CV updated
It's really important to review your CV regularly