Creating a Winning CV Careers Advisory Service www.imperial.ac.uk/careers
This session will cover:
The basic do’s and don’ts
Ideas on content
Ideas on layout
Some thoughts on specialist CVs
Ideas on where to get more help
An opportunity to ask questions
The basics before you start
Research the industry sector and job area first.
Know what you are applying for and to whom.
Make sure you know what a potential employer is going to be looking for in terms of qualifications, skills and experience.
Employers spend an average of 60 seconds looking at each CV. Yours must be clear, relevant and targeted to get into the shortlist pile.
Your CV is your selling document so you decide the final look and content.
Content and headings
The following headings are a guideline:
You need to think about your own information and adapt or add as necessary
Name & contact details
Education & Qualifications
Career Details (Work Experience)
Additional Information (Hobbies & Interests)
First name: Elizabeth
Home Address: 35 Ridgeway Road, Isleworth, London, TW17 5TP
Term Address: Flat 3, 54 Northanger Road, London SW7 4RT
Telephone Number: 020 7854 3905
Mobile Number: 07989 3475895
E mail: [email_address]
Nationality : British Sex: Female
Status: Single Date of Birth: 24 September 1983
Your details - an example
Make an impact with your name and details.
Avoid unnecessary labels
Keep contact details simple
Just one reliable address & telephone number
Consider first impressions
Inappropriate email addresses
Unprofessional messages on answer phones
If in shared accommodation ensure people are primed to take messages
Keep details to minimum and only those of direct relevance at point of application
You may wish to include nationality in order to clarify need for work permit
Elizabeth Jones Flat 3 54 Northanger Road London SW7 4RT 07989 3475895 [email_address] Improved example
Education 1994 – 1999 Isleworth School, Ridgeway Road, Isleworth, Middlesex TW5 4DL GCSE's gained in: Maths (A) Physics (A) Chemistry (A) Design & Technology (A) Geography (A) English Language (B), German (B) Art (C) English Literature (C) 1999 – 2001 Isleworth School, as above A-levels gained in: Physics (A), Mathematics (A), Computer Science (C) 2001 – 2005 Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ MEng in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, expected 2:1 Education section – an example
Make sure that most recent qualifications come first.
Highlight what you have done, degree title in bold and first.
Give the most detail to the most relevant qualifications.
Identify the work related skills gained from your degree.
Avoid long lists of modules and subject areas but for technical jobs include those that are of particular relevance.
Include any work related projects or assignments and remember to describe the achievements and outcomes.
Don’t include full addresses for institutions.
Optional whether to include GCSEs – after first degree level these would not usually be included.
Education & Qualifications 2001 – 2005 MEng Electrical & Electronic Engineering (expected 2:1) Imperial College London The degree course provided me with a sound base for the application of mathematics to real-life problems as well as practical hands-on skills development in computer-aided design (CAD) of industrial quality for integrated circuit layout and design and microprocessor development systems. The courses included a range of technical subjects, and I developed excellent written and verbal communication skills, presentation skills and worked in teams on a range of project. Also developed sound analytical and problem-solving skills. Final year project work investigated challenges for modern manufacturing techniques for optical communications in the 21st century. End of project report received ‘best of year’ award sponsored by BT. 1994 – 2001 Isleworth School, Middlesex A-levels: Physics (A), Mathematics (A), Computer Science (C) GCSE's: 9 Grade A-C, including 5 A's Improved example
Star Jewellers 2004-05
In the summer of 2004 and then part time while studying I worked as a sales assistant selling costume jewellery to customers.
GEC Marconi 2003- 4
I did an industrial placement and worked on various projects. We built and tested prototype circuits for may different applications.
Onkar Fashions 2002 -3
I had a Saturday job here working on basic sales work mainly fashion accessories.
Work experience - an example
Use headings with more impact – Career Details/Work Experience/Engineering Experience.
Highlight job roles rather than companies
Use sub headings to allow you to bring relevant work to the top even if out of chronological order.
Think about achievements and beneficial outcomes not just duties.
Use part-time work to indicate valuable transferable skills.
2003- 2004 Electronic Design Engineer
6 month fulltime Industrial placement
Designed and built digital circuits using CAD
Tested prototype systems making recommendations on further development
Selected and approved military specification components suitable for use in specific equipment
Monitored and controlled project budgets achieving considerable cost savings
Member of multidisciplinary team, producing results within deadlines
Wrote and presented written reports to senior management team.
2004 - 2005 Sales Assistant (part time)
Star Jewellers, London
Customer Service Trained
Negotiated sales and dealt with customer complaints
Liaised with suppliers about the ordering of goods
Implemented new computerised stock control system
Organised displays, promotions and point of sale material
Skills – an example
I have a driving licence. I am computer literate, being familiar with a wide range of packages and systems. I have also recently started evening classes in German.
Use sub headings to separate out different types of skills.
Give adequate detail for technical packages.
Check to find out what software is used for the job applied to.
Don’t forget languages, driving licence, health & safety, first aid etc.
Software: Proficient in GNU C, JDE, Microsoft Visual Studio
Programming Languages: Conversant with C++, Java, Assembly, SQL, Haskell, Prolog
Operating Systems: Competent in use of Linux, MS Windows
Currently learning German
Driving Licence - Full clean UK Licence
Hobbies I enjoy all sports including Tennis and Cricket; like reading; and Travelling; have done some voluntary work. I have been a prefect at school and at college I have held some positions of responsibility in the International Societies Additional information section – an example
Use positive headings such as:
Interests and Responsibilities
Responsibilities and Achievements
Give a range of interests and bullet or bold each one.
Avoid one word interest lists.
Use key words and phrases to say how involved you are.
Demonstrate your enthusiasms, personality, how you get on with people, how you fit into different environments through what you chose to do.
Quantify your achievements where possible.
Interests and Responsibilities Tennis Enjoy playing doubles in tournaments at my local club Cricket Member of school and College teams Travel Enjoy independent travel and have visited Germany, Canada, east coast USA; plus several visits to India and Kenya International Societies Vice-Chairman Member of negotiating team to achieve budget from Student Union Responsible for organising the Society’s 2004-05 social programme Have held the following posts - Publicity Officer, Events Chairman, Chief Treasurer Main Achievements Increased membership by 10% and attendance at events by 25% Managed a number of events within budget Negotiated good value for money for catering, flyers and disco Motivated teams through clear communication to meet strict deadlines Improved version
Two is the norm, one academic, one from work environment.
Give name, job title and contact details, full postal address, email, telephone number.
Make sure you check with referees first.
Provide your referees with details about the types of jobs you are applying for, copy of your CV and any other relevant information.
If you are very short of space leave the details off and indicate that references are available on request. Have them ready to provide when asked.
For certain career areas it might be important to include slightly different headings
Publications, conferences etc
Membership of Professional Bodies
The more technical and subject related the job the more detail you include on the content of the degree.
There are some variations on CV format for different parts of the world, research what is the norm for the region you are applying to.
The covering letter – why have one?
To sell yourself by making links between your education, work experience and interests and the job role you’re applying for
To demonstrate your motivation (say why you’re interested, show enthusiasm and personality)
To provide other information, e.g. about availability for interview
The covering letter – key points (1 of 2)
Normally one side of A4
Preferably to a named person:
“Dear Mr./Ms. Smith,” (Yours sincerely)
“Dear Sir or Madam,” (Yours faithfully)
The covering letter – key points (2 of 2)
Four key sections:
What you are contacting them about?
Why you want to work in that job for that company?
Why they should be interested in you – i.e. what you have to offer