C.V Writing

Writing a C.V can be confusing and hard, especially if you haven’t created one before. Here are some guidelines to follow, though there are numerous websites that provide templates that can act as a good guide for when you’re writing your own CV. Shop around for a style that suits you and the types of jobs you are applying for.

What to include in your C.V:

  • At the top of your CV place your first and last name slightly bigger than the rest, followed by your address, mobile contact number and email address.
  • A personal statement or profile that lets the employer know what you can offer. Try and briefly draw on previous skills but keep to a minimum without leaving anything important out. Try and aim for 2 – 3 sentences that show your personality. You could also include future goals, where you want to go with your career and why.
  • A list of your key skills should come next (maybe 4 to 6) along with evidence of how you developed or attained those skills. For example you are well organised as you managed the school netball team. You could also list your strengths here too.
  • Let the employer know your education history, start with the highest level of achievement first to the least, for example NCEA level 3, NCEA level 2, NCEA level 1. Include other relevant education such as defensive driving courses, outward bound courses and any on-the-job training you have received.
  • Include your work history or experience, start with the most recent and work backwards. This doesn’t need to be only previous employment, if you have no employment experiences think of work you have done that has been informal or voluntary - anything that has given you skills.
  • You can also include an additional section that contains things such as your hobbies, any extra-curricular activities you have been involved with like committees and debate teams, if you can speak different languages or know sign language, or if you have been on an exchange or travelled to different countries. Some employers look at this section to get a feel for your personality and how well you will fit in with their other employees.
  • Finish with your referees - you only need one or two. If you supply more than one there is a chance they will contact the first referee you put down and stop there – so put the one you think will give you the best reference first. For your referees state their name, job title, where they work and contact details (so an email and a contact number).

What not to include in your CV:

  • Unless stated, there is no need to include a photo on your CV. In most circumstances you will never need to provide a photo, unless there is genuine business reason for the employer to expect one, such as you are applying to a modelling agency.
  • You do not need to include your date of birth, nationality or health on your CV. It can give employers a chance to judge you without meeting you.

Presentation tips:

  • Make sure to keep your CV short and concise – one to two pages with the most important information on the first page. However, don’t miss anything important out for fear of it being too long. Create a list of all you skills and qualities and pick the best ones to place on your CV.
  • Use easy to read modern fonts like Calibri, Arial or Verdana, with headings being clearly presented as well as bold and slightly bigger than the main text.
  • White space between the key sections will help create a clean and easy to read page.
  • While it is good to have a professional looking CV, employers are also interested in your personality and attitude. Be creative while maintaining a professional look and let your personality show. If you can create a CV that is different from the rest employers will pay attention.
  • Be positive in your language and focus on what you are good at. Avoid words that are associated with unsure connotations. For example instead of using ‘I think I am good at…I feel that I am able to..’ say ‘I excel at…I am exceptional at..’.

Things to remember:

  • Your CV is a document for marketing yourself - you want to get the best results you can.
  • Although you need to include the same things as most other people, try and let your personality shine through – employers read a lot of CV’s, make your personal statement stand out from the rest.
  • When thinking about your skills, try and use ones that are transferrable between different roles, so a skill like excellent customer service can be used in a variety of roles such as retail, hospitality, reception work, gyms and so on