As an A-Level student preparing for the next phase of your academic or professional journey, crafting a compelling curriculum vitae (CV) is essential. It is the first opportunity you have to impress employers and a platform to showcase your skills, experiences, and achievements.
Read on for some valuable tips and guidance on how to create the kind of CV that will catch potential employers’ eyes and maximise your chances of securing that interview.
When writing a CV, it is crucial to tailor it to the specific position or opportunity you are applying for.
Research the role! Familiarise yourself with the requirements and responsibilities of the position. This will enable you to align your skills, experiences, and qualifications with the needs of the employer. Also, don’t just see the ad and click apply. Run a few searches on the establishment you want to work for. Check them out on LinkedIn and look at their website. Find a few details about them that firstly will indicate whether it’s the kind of place you want to work and secondly give you the chance to find a few details about them you can work into your application to show that you have done your research.
Emphasise your accomplishments that directly relate to the desired role. Not everything you have done will be relevant to the role, so don’t put everything in there. Employers will give your CV no more than a few seconds of attention. Don’t waste that with irrelevant information. Whether it’s academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or work experience, focus on what is most applicable to the position.
Customise your personal statement: Craft a compelling personal statement that summarises your key strengths, career aspirations, and why you are the ideal candidate for the role. Tailor it to reflect the organisation’s values and mission, showcasing your alignment with their objectives (this is where that research comes in).
The structure and formatting of your CV play a crucial role in ensuring clarity and ease of reading.
• Clear and concise: Use a clean and professional format with clear headings and subheadings. Aim for a well-organised document that is easy to navigate.
• Ideally, keep your CV to one page. Two at the absolute maximum. Be selective in the information you include and focus on quality rather than quantity. Present your experiences and qualifications in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. This allows employers to see your progression and current relevance. It’s okay to omit things that aren’t relevant, even if that causes a gap in your CV. During the interview, simply explain that gap was an omission to save them time.
• Typically, a CV includes sections such as personal information, personal statement, education, work experience, skills, achievements, and references (optional). Adapt these sections to fit your specific circumstances and prioritise the most relevant information.
To make your CV stand out, emphasise your skills and achievements effectively. Consider the following strategies:
• Skills: Identify and highlight relevant skills that are sought after in the field or industry you are pursuing. These can include technical skills, transferable skills, and soft skills. Provide specific examples to demonstrate how you have utilised these skills in various contexts.
• Achievements: Showcase your notable achievements, such as academic awards, leadership roles, projects, or initiatives you have undertaken. Quantify your achievements whenever possible to provide tangible evidence of your accomplishments.
• Action verbs: Use action verbs to describe your experiences and responsibilities, such as “managed,” “led,” “created,” etc. This creates a strong and dynamic impression and helps to convey your capabilities effectively.
Crafting the perfect CV is a vital step toward achieving your academic and career goals. By tailoring your CV to the position, organising it effectively, and showcasing your skills and achievements, you can create a compelling document that grabs the attention of employers or admission committees. Remember to regularly update and refine your CV as you gain new experiences and qualifications. With a well-crafted CV in hand, you can confidently pursue the opportunities that lie ahead.
If you’re still struggling or feel yours doesn’t quite have enough, Indeed has a great article on writing a CV with limited experience. Good luck!