Write a successful CV!

When to applying for a new job, your CV could be just the ticket to secure you an interview. But, how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than thrown straight in the bin?

Putting together a successful CV might seem a little daunting, however, it’s just a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you’re applying for. But, what if you feel that you don’t meet the right criteria? Well, we’ve put together the following tips to help you get started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) job.


The basics

There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; education and qualifications, work history and/or experience, relevant skills, own interests, achievements or hobbies and some references.

Look the part!

A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented. The layout should always be clean and well structured and CVs. Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there. Here at Opportunities Workshop, we have our own CV building software in house to ensure your CV looks great!

Keep it short

A good CV is clear, concise and makes every point necessary without waffling. You don’t need pages and pages of paper! A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer, it’s a chance to tick the right boxes. And if everything is satisfied, there’s a better chance of a job interview. Also, employers receive a lot of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. We advise you keep it to a maximum of 2 pages.

Know what you’re applying for

Read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. With the areas where you’re lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. E.g. if the job in question requires someone with sales experience, there’s nothing stopping you from using any retail work you’ve undertaken, even if it was something to help pay the bills through university. It will demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they’re transferable.

Tailor your CV

When you’ve established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role so don’t be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it won’t. Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don’t have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they’re relevant.

List those skills!

Under the skills section of your CV don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills, team working, problem solving or even speaking a foreign language.

Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you’ve done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group – it’s all relevant.

Your interests are their interests too

Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you are part of a sports team, focus on how you work in a team/lead a team.

Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. There is no need to include interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting!

Your experiences

Remember, use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organised” or “achieved”. Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions, even if it was just working in a restaurant. It all helps!

Remember your references

References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you’ve never worked before then it is more than acceptable to use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Try to include up to two if you can!

Update, update, update!

It’s crucial to update your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. If you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they’re on there – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.

We offer CV guidance and support here at our office at Opportunities Workshop. If you require any help then just get in touch with us: 01473 857140

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