CVs – What to Add and What to Avoid

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Curriculum Vitae, meaning ‘record of your life’ can pressure students to cram in every little achievement onto a single sheet of paper. But when it comes to CV’s, less is definitely more. Research reveals employers spend an average of 60 seconds looking at a CV before making a decision. So with a lot of detail to squeeze into that time frame, it’s time to learn the do’s and don’ts to secure that all important interview.

What to add…

  • A well presented page: if your CV looks cluttered with no gaps between sections, even the most conscientious employers can get tired eyes. Make sure your sections are spread out and divided clearly. 
  •  Keep it short, strong…and spell check!: With the clock ticking, employers don’t have hours to trek through a mountain of pages. Make sure you only include what is essential and appeals to the employer. And lastly do not forget to spell check! Those little mistakes could cost you an interview if an employer thinks you’ve been lazy writing your CV.
  • Be aware and adapt: When applying to jobs from different sectors it’s important to adjust your CV to tailor the needs of the position. So if you have relevant experience for a job that isn’t on your CV yet…add it on!
  • The right references: Picking the right references is vital as again, this could cost you a job. Make sure you choose people that have seen you use your skills to maximum potential, as they will be the ones passing on the praise to the next boss!
  • Stay up to date: If your mobile number or email address changes, if you gain more experience or if you get degree results back…don’t forget to update them on your CV! Your CV needs to grow as your experiences does!

What to avoid…

  • Photos: avoid adding a photo of yourself to the front of your CV. It will only take up vital content space and…let’s be honest…pouting won’t get you that position!
  • Bad font: employers don’t want to have to crack the code of wingdings font before finally realising what your CV actually says! Keep the font simple, size 12 and black and white.
  • Stick to 1 piece of paper: going back to the ticking time bomb of 60 seconds, keep the CV on one piece of paper. Anything more could make an employer give up before they’ve even started!
  • Informal language: Keep your approach as professional as possible. When e-mailing your CV make sure you include a few sentences rather than just sending an attachment. For example: ‘Please find attached to this e-mail, a copy of my CV for your consideration.’
  • No porkies: Telling fibs on your CV can only lead to disaster. Some employers keep a copy to hand when interviewing you. So to avoid questioning, just be honest. If you haven’t trekked up Mount Everest or joined NASA on the latest expedition…that’s okay!

These 10 points should help you to start or tweak your CV. If you are still struggling, the National Careers Service CV building tool acts as a great platform to build your brand new CV! https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/tools/cv/Pages/default.aspx

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  2. CVs – What to Add and What to Avoid
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Editor of Wessex Scene 2014-15 Features Editor 2013-14 Writer 2012-2013 I have been involved with the publication throughout my time at university. As editor, I have worked with my team to redesign the magazine, the website and even create special editions on top of our monthly issues. I primarily write news, features and lifestyle pieces.

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