CVs are a crucial part of the selection process. It is your first contact with an employer and the impression made by the CV can make the difference between progressing to the next stage (interview or assessment centre) or not. It is essential, therefore, to think carefully about what should go into your CV - and what could be left out.
Essential First Steps
Step 1: Create Your Evidence Checklist
The first step in creating a CV is to determine precisely which
qualifications, skills and personal qualities the job you are applying for
You will often find out what the recruiter is looking for by reading the
job description and person specification details in the advert.
However, these criteria are not always explicit and so you may need to
do a bit of research to find out what the role might involve.
Only ONCE you know what the requirements are, can you then create
the CV that demonstrates you meet the requirements.
This is now your evidence checklist!
Step 2: Identifying your Evidence
You should now identify evidence from your background to meet the requirements of the organisation and job. Remember, you can use evidence from all aspects of your life, such as University, Employment, Volunteering, Clubs & Societies, Extra Curricular Activities and Travelling.
It is important that you use the strongest evidence you have to meet the criteria each employer is seeking.
Remember it is your own personal story and, as such, should reflect your individual suitability for the position you are applying to.
Contact Details Section
Name; Address; Email; Phone (This is all you need!)
16 Anywhere Street, Anywhere Town, Somewhere. CL22 3BC
Tel: 07264 698315Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
University Education Section
You need to provide: Dates, University and loction, programme, predicted grade/current average
- Provide a brief overview of your course to allow context for the evidence
- Evidence from relevant courses that provide an insight into your understanding of the subject.
- Evidence from individual projects and dissertation that show how you meet the job description
- Academic Awards/achievements
Employers aren't just interested in what you know, but also how you learned it. Projects that involve applying your knowledge to real problems, compleng research tasks, working in teams and making presentions can all be used to show that you have the skills that employers want.
Add in any pratical skills learnt from lab or field work or time spent studying abroad.
2012 –2016 MA (Hons) Your Degree, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Current average 66%
The content of my programme provided an in-depth study of the theoretical and practical aspects of Electrical Engineering, involving practical electronics labs as well as multi-disciplinary team design projects.
Relevant areas of studies included:
- Renewable Energy Technologies, where I developed an insight into creating energy efficient solution to problems typically encountered when implementing renewable energy systems and the supply of electrical energy in general.
- Using Excel to carry out cross factorial analysis of UK student work experience data
Devised and prepared a survey of patients' attitudes to care services for the elderly as my final year project. I interviewed 70 elderly patients and obtained a substantial amount of data.
Created a database to analyse and interpret my findings. Completed this project two weeks ahead of schedule and achieved a 2.1 grade.
Awarded the KPMG Prize for outstanding presentation skills in 2nd Year.
High School Education Section
High School Education
This section might include:
- Dates, School and Location
- List Higher/A-Level or equivalent (Subjects and Grades)
- List of Standard Grades/GCSEs if subjects are a requirement
- International Qualifications—just state exams used for university entrance
- Highlights of any significant academic achievements
This section might include:
- Dates, Company, Location, job title
- A brief overview of your role to give context for the evidence
- Evidence of your impact, added value, skills and insight developed
- Technical and non-technical skills demonstrated
You could consider splitting your experience into different sections such as: Relevant Experience; Further Experience; Volunteering etc. Remember, the more relevant the experience the bigger the space and the better its position on your CV.
May 2014—July 2014 Project Management Assistant (Summer Placement) Pepsico, London
- Leader of a team of four interns responsible for designing and implementing a computer based inventory control system for production line parts.
- Was responsible for gathering the information on all the change parts of the production lines, and interviewing the production line workers in order to compile an electronic guide to changing parts of the machines on the production lines.
- Created an inventory of all the parts of every machine involved in the production lines. I achieved this by working with the engineers one machine at a time and logging all the possible parts needed in the case of a breakdown.
- Was also in charge of producing weekly breakdown reports where I gathered brief breakdown reports from the engineers and then formed computer generated reports which were presented at the end of the week. I learned quickly how to use a complex system and integrated quickly into the established team of engineers
May 2012—June 2014 Sales Assistant , Zara, Edinburgh
- Promoted to a supervisory position, liaising with management on behalf of shop floor staff and delegating tasks effectively to ensure all elements of the shift ran smoothly.
- Successfully trained new recruits to be multi-skilled in line with store competences.
- Was selected to travel throughout the UK to assist in team training for new store openings.
Optional Additional Sections
Following on from the Core Sections these Optional Sections are your opportunity to enhance and add value to your CV depending on your own experiences.
Examples could include headings such as: Additional Technical Skills, Extra Curricular Activities, Achievements & Responsibilities, Professional Accreditation, Awards, Community Projects and Additional Information.
September 2011-June 2012 Brownie Guide Leader, Edinburgh
Took a lead role in the organisation and delivery of activities for young people aimed at building their knowledge, confidence and team skills. Currently training to be a leader, and taking on further responsibilities.
Before sending — Final CV Checklist
- Check your CV meets the criteria you identified from the job description/person specification
- Use your best examples to demonstrate you meet the job criteria
- Ensure it's well presented (2 full A4 pages is usual for a UK Graduate Style CV)
- Ensure consistency of font size, headers and formatting to show off your information clearly
- Check for any spelling/grammar errors
- Include a Motivational Cover Letter (Unless the employer specifically instructs otherwise)
Have your CV checked by a member of your Careers Service (to make the feedback more effective, please take a copy of the job description/person specification with you if you can).