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Your CV should showcase your experience, its purpose is to convince the person reading it that you’re right for the job.

There are two main ways to layout a CV; reverse chronological (most recent experience first) and skills based. Reverse chronological is the most common, but if you’re changing careers, new to the workplace or have had a career break you might want to consider using a skills-based CV.

To write a skills based CV, group your experience under broad skill categories, it’s a good idea to take these headings from the job description of the role you’re applying for, or you could use the CILIP PKSB if you’re writing a general CV for a recruiter. You’ll still need to list your employment and education history, but do this briefly at the bottom.

Top tips for writing a good CV

  1. Think about the layout. You want your CV to be readable, so avoid long blocks of unbroken text and weird formatting. Stick to an easily readable font and make sure it’s not too small to be read on-screen.
  2. Keep it relevant. Your CV should be no more than two pages long, so don’t waste that space by including information not relevant to your ability to do the job. You don’t need to list every duty you ever performed in every job you’ve had – look at the description of the job you’re applying for and try to stick to information relevant to that.
  3. Don’t just list your skills, demonstrate them. A clear example is much more powerful than a simple statement, so don’t write “works well in a team and individually” try to think of something you’ve done that demonstrates that skill instead.

It’s also worth noting that some large employers use ‘application tracking systems’ to filter CVs they receive (usually employers who receive very high volumes of applications for each post). An application tracking system filters CVs based on keywords and phrases from the job description, so it’s a good idea to make sure that the language you use in your CV reflects that of the job description. It’s another reason why tailoring your CV for each job is a good idea.

Take the first step in finding a new job, write your CV and figure out where you want to go.

Everything you need to know about making a good impression with your application.

How you present yourself to potential employers can make all the difference.


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