How to Update your CV
Writing or updating your CV can be very daunting, and often we put off job-hunting because of it. However, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you stop procrastinating and achieve your dream job!
CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which loosely translates to ‘the course of life’, so it should contain a brief overview of achievements and roles you’ve had throughout your life so far.
Begin your CV with your personal details; your name, phone number, email address and home address. This is so your potential employer can easily respond to your application.
Write a very brief paragraph outlining yourself as a person, including your soft skills and interests, but remember to keep it professional! For example, whilst you can mention that you enjoy an active social life, avoid saying anything that could imply you are unreliable when it comes to turning up for shifts.
Next is your employment history. This doesn’t have to be just paid employment; you can also include work experience and voluntary jobs you have done. Begin with your most recent job title and work backwards. Include the dates of your employment, the address of the workplace, and the responsibilities you had whilst working there. If you haven’t held many job positions or are just out of school or college, you can put your education first.
Education can include your school, college or university qualifications, as well as any training courses you have undertaken. As with the previous section, you’ll need to include the name of the school/body that supplied your qualification, the date you received the qualification and the address of the school you attended.
Now is the time to boast! Your achievements come next and can include both work and non-work-related accolades. If you’re stuck with what to put for this section, you can move onto the next section.
Your references conclude your CV. Make sure you choose two people who aren’t related to you, but who can verify your conduct within the workplace. Some examples of people you can choose are previous managers, team leaders, supervisors or recent university or college leaders who know you well. Make sure you ask your references first before you use their details! You’ll need their name, position, contact details and their relationship to you. Your prospective employer shouldn’t contact your references without informing you first, and this usually comes after the interview portion of the application process. Therefore, it is not always necessary to put the contact details of your references on your CV. If you’re running short of space, you can simply write ‘references available on request’, but make sure you have at least two prepared in case they ask!
That covers what needs to go on your CV, but there are a few extra things you should do before you submit it.
Spellcheck! This is so important; you need to proofread your CV at least three times before you’re ready to submit. One of the most common (and preventable) reasons an employer will reject a CV is poor spelling. Remember that this is the first impression your prospective employer will have of you, so make sure it’s perfect.
Is your email address professional? We all have embarrassing usernames we chose for our first email accounts, but if you’re still using yours, it’s time for a change. A simple method for choosing a new, professional email address is to use your first initial and your surname followed by a number, underscore, or hyphen.
For instance, firstname.lastname@example.org sounds a lot more professional and less embarrassing than xx_bbyJS_xx@example.com.
Keep it brief! Nothing bores an employer more than a lengthy, over-egged CV, and they’re likely to stop reading long before the end. All the information in your CV should be kept short and sweet, avoid trying to make your sentences sound too extravagant. Simple, well-written plain English is perfect. Additionally, some of your employment history or qualifications may not be relevant to the position you’re applying for so it’s best to remove this. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a labourer, a food hygiene certificate you received a few years ago probably isn’t relevant.
Format your CV in a clear style. Employers are looking for specific information in your CV but if they can’t easily locate it, your application will likely go in the bin. If you’re unsure of how format your CV, there are plenty of free templates online that can help you to arrange your information in an easy-to-read and accessible manner. This also includes using a sensible font and size; a font size too big says that you haven’t achieved enough to fill a CV, a font size too small indicates that you have too much irrelevant information. Size 11 or 12 is best to use.
Finally, ensure all the information on your CV is correct and it includes no false or misleading information. This is a sure-fire way to lose out on your dream job; if your CV contains false information, you’re communicating to your employer that you are not trustworthy.
Job-hunting is tough, but hopefully these tips will help you to update your CV successfully and reflect the best version of yourself. Good luck!