Sooner or later we all need a job - and this usually involves writing a CV. Your CV is the first impression a new company may get of you, so make sure it gives the right message...
Whether you're looking for employment after your A-levels, or just a period of holiday work, a CV is always handy to have around.
The CV is usually the first thing employers use to find good staff, so its essential to make the maximum impact. Remember, you may know how well-rounded a person you are, with a great personality and charming manner, but the person who reads your CV has never met you, so make sure this message gets across in your CV.
Your CV is basically a list of your academic and personal achievements it is not the application for the position, so avoid making it too specific, although you may want to change it slightly for different jobs.
Setting out your CV
There are many ways to set out your CV, none are wrong, but it is important to concentrate on the content rather than the style. Most employers are rather conservative in their tastes, and may not be impressed by a fluorescent orange CV. If it looks professional, it will be read, don’t make it too cluttered. For this reason, your CV must be typed - preferably word processed - as then it is easy to produce a CV that is well laid out.
Use one or two pages, if it is any longer, there is too much information, or you have begun to waffle!
The layout must be clear and easy to read - divide your CV into clear sections so all the information is easy to find. Remember that the person reading it has probably looked at hundreds before yours had even arrived on their desk!
Ensure every year is accounted for. If you have taken a year out, make sure you have explained what you were doing.
When writing about previous jobs or interests, make sure you include a short note of any specific skills you acquired, or any positions of responsibility.
Sections of your CV
The following sections are recommended in most CVs:
Contact telephone number
Date of birth
Usually reverse chronological order
A-Level results (or expected results)
If you are applying for a job that will make use of a subject you have studied, state any projects you've been involved with, or coursework you have completed that may be relevant.
Generally, it is best to list any jobs you have had in reverse chronological order - the most recent first. This is to keep the style the same as your education section.
Don’t worry that you have not had any jobs except for a paper round. Mention it, as it will show that you can handle commitment.
Again, mention any particular responsibilities you have had, did you handle money, give customers advice, or develop any new skills?
The idea is not to make up experience, but to ensure that your future employer knows what you have done, and that you are flexible and reliable.
This is the fun section, where you can tell the reader what you do in your spare time. This section can show that you are an active and social person that should be able to get on easily with others, always use positive language.
Include school groups you have been involved in: Music, Drama, Sports, whether you compete in competitions or not. Memberships of any clubs or societies, do you have any positions of responsibility, have you been on field trips, or expeditions.
In this section, make sure you include details of any achievements. Rather than stating you received a Duke of Edinburgh award silver level, say where your expeditions were, did you do any voluntary work, and any other information that shows that you can work as a group as well as by yourself.
This is the dump section, anything else you want to add?
- Do you speak two languages?
- Can you type, or do you have good computer skills?
- In short - anything half relevant that didn’t fit in previous sections.
Usually include two people that can comment on you - in a good light! One should be academic - maybe your tutor or a subject teacher you get on with. The other should be an employer or someone else who knows you - your sports coach perhaps.
Give your referees a copy of the CV and let them know what jobs you are applying for, keep them in touch because you never know when you might need them.
Here are two sample CV's for you to look at for the type content. You can lay them out as you wish, but bear in mind that they need to look professional and uncrowded.
Example CV 1
Stephen Richard Salmon
36 Edward Court
Date of Birth:
2004-2010, Ermintown Comprehensive School.
A Levels (Expected): Biology B, Maths C, Physics C, General Studies A.
GCSEs: (Grades A - C) Art, Biology, Chemistry, English, Geography, German, History.
October 2009 - Present, Sales assistant at local sports retailer (Mr Sporty). Responsibilities include, cashing up, serving customers and displaying point of sale material.
September 2008 - Aug 2009, Evening paper round (T.W News).
Travel. Last year in June I cycled to Spain to raise money for a local charity. This experience has taught me self reliance and has helped develop my organisational skills. I enjoy meeting new people and visiting new places.
Conservation. I have recently been involved with creating a wildlife pond in my school grounds. I worked as part of a team, together we designed and produced a successful wetland area that has attracted many species of amphibian to the school.
I also enjoy reading a wide variety of books, going to the cinema and playing badminton.
Computer literate, Microsoft Word.
Own transport, and clean driving licence.
Mr Victor Hoggins
124 High Street
Thank you for taking the time to read my CV.
I look forward to meeting you soon.
Example CV 2
CV for Heidi Dobson
76 Evendon Crescent
North London College (2008 - 2010)
Art C (expected)
English B (expected)
As part of my art A-Level I have taken part in a project to improve a derelict playground. A team of students painted a mural after speaking to local residents and agreeing on a design. This involved a commitment in the work to ensure that it would be a feature the community would be proud of.
Foreman House School (2002 - 2006)
GCSE's (Summer 2009):
Dale Computers (August 2006 - September 2008)
My original position was as a junior secretary, as I gained more experience with computers progressed to sales person, so I have excellent interpersonal and good presentational skills.
Skills and Qualities:
Excellent verbal communication skills gained from dealing with customers in a busy retail environment.
Full Driving Licence for both cars and motorcycles.
Involved as a volunteer in a local animal centre.
Founder member of a local band, in which I play lead guitar.
Mr. G Dale
Senior partner, Dale computers
Mrs. K Turner
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