CVs

Whether you are applying for graduate jobs, placements, work experience or further study, it’s likely that you’ll need to submit a CV (curriculum vitae).  

Your CV needs to effectively  showcase what you can offer the employer, with key content succinctly demonstrating why you are their perfect fit. Employers will only take 30 seconds on average to read your CV so getting your content right is important!

It should provide a summary of your academic history and work experience as well as your extra-curricular activities and achievements.  It needs to be well written and targeted to the position you are applying to and accompanied by a personalised and focused covering letter.


Top tips

  • Research the employer before you start writing to ensure that you understand exactly what they are looking for. 
  • Present your CV using a consistent font style and font size. Pay particular attention to your spelling and grammar so that your CV reads well and is free from errors.
  • Organise your content using informative headings and subheadings to help employers easily find the information they are looking for. You decide the categories to include so be specific to your offer e.g. a Graphic Design student could have a section, 'Design Skills'; a Fashion student could have a section, 'Visual Merchandising Experience'. Don't feel that you have to stick to the categorisation detailed below. It is your document - you have ownership of it.
  • Be succinct and to the point and avoid large paragraphs of text. Employers will want to see how you meet the criteria in a clear and concise way. Try not to exceed two sides of A4.
  • Tailor your CV & Cover letter to clearly evidence the skills and experience you have that demonstrate your suitability for the role. 
  • Make your content RELEVANT, create IMPACT in how you layout the document and present your information, and demonstrate PROFESSIONALISM through specific content and attention to detail.

Writing your CV

Example:

CVpersonaldetailsimage

Advice:

Personal / contact details

  • Use your name as a heading – no need to write 'Curriculum Vitae' at the top.
  • Use your term-time address, or other UK address where you can be contacted.
  • Use a sensible professional email address.

Example:

CVprofileimage

Advice:

Professional profile

  • Customise your personal statement to match the job or placement you are applying for.  
  • Think about your key selling points and give a brief summary of relevant skills and experience.  
  • You could also indicate your career aim or focus (if it ties in with what you are applying for).

Example:

CVskillsimage

Advice:

Skills

  • Match your skills to the job/placement.
  • To do this you need to be clear about the role you are applying for and the employer’s requirements.  
  • Provide evidence of these skills in the body of the CV.

Professional Membership

  • Indicate membership of professional bodies.  
  • If your course is accredited by a professional body indicate this too.

Example:

CVed4imageCVeducation3

Advice:

Education

  • Detail your most recent education first.
  • Include degree classification, or anticipated result.  Alternatively indicate module results.  
  • Give details of major projects giving the title and a brief summary – include methodology/process and outcomes.
  • Give previous qualifications including the UK equivalent if an overseas student.

Example:

CVworkexperienceimage

Advice:

Work Experience / Employment

  • Detail all of your work experience, including part-time jobs and volunteering.
  • Start with the most recent first and the dates you worked there. Include details of your duties, your achievements and the skills you developed whilst you worked there.  
  • Focus on the skills that the employer is looking for.  
  • Even if your part-time jobs aren’t directly relevant you can still highlight the relevant transferable skills you developed through them.

Example:

CVinterestsimage

Advice:

Interests & Achievements 

  • Keep this section brief and highlight the skills and personal qualities your interests have helped you to develop.
  • Don’t just list your interests, indicate your level of involvement and avoid writing about your social life.

Example:

CVreferencesimage

Advice:

References

  • Two referees are normally required preferably from employers or lecturers.
  • Make sure you ask their permission first.  
  • Alternatively state ‘supplied on request’.
  • Remember to give your referees a copy of your CV.

Resources

Prospects - CV advice, common mistakes, video CVs.
Target Jobs - Engineering, IT, Law and Business CV examples.
Creative CV Guide - Create impact through imagery, colour and branding.