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  • laurenjelliot

How to Structure a CV to Get Noticed

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

According to Wikipedia, the definition of Curriculum Vitae is a summary of academic and professional history and achievements. A CV is a concise summary of your education, skills and experience which should successfully sell your qualities and highlight why you are the best fit for the job.

I’m sure you’ve heard the alarming statistics concerning the time employers actually spend looking at CVs. (6-8 seconds). Subsequently, the top quarter of your CV is undoubtedly the most important part as it is the first thing a recruiter will see. You must optimise this section and make a big impression to keep them interested.

Writing your CV is probably the most difficult part of finding a job today. It has been widely suggested that you should submit your cv alongside a cover letter. 86% of executives surveyed said that cover letters were valuable when evaluating job candidates.

This is the start of the recruitment process and therefore is important you get it right.

CV tips

Check it

Proofread your CV, then proofread it again and again. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because of a silly, avoidable error. This could include spelling mistakes, incorrect contact details or dates with conflict with one another.

Keep it up to date

Sending off an old CV will look unprofessional, so even when you aren’t actively looking for a job you should be regularly updating it. Your CV should include everything up to the current date.

Use a template

Choose a clear, professional font to ensure that your CV can be easily read. Using a template will allow you to express yourself whilst also being easy to read and covering all the most important aspects of your work history.

Keep it brief and simple

As aforementioned, the employer only spends minimal time reading your CV and therefore it’s important to keep it precise and to the point. Two sides of A4 will almost always suffice and you should avoid jargon and abbreviations.

Tailor it to the role

You should tailor the CV using the job description to the potential employer's preferences and fit the job role you are applying for. You should ensure you are using the same ‘language’ and cover all key responsibilities and competencies. You want to stand out, your CV should demonstrate your unique set of skills and experience.

What to include

Personal details

Your name should act as the title of your CV, followed by your address. Don’t forget to include your email and mobile number so that your prospective employer has options for how to contact you.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is an opportunity to personalise your CV. It is the first thing your employer will see, it is an essential part to help you stand out from the crowd. This is a couple of lines summing up who you are and what you hope to do. You should write this with the type of job in mind.

Education and qualifications

This is a powerful section of your CV; it should include any education you’ve completed in chronological order. You may want to include how your qualifications and relate to the job and prove why your professional experience makes you the right fit for the role.

Work experience

You should start with your current or most recent experience. You should include your job title, the name of the organisation, time in the job and emphasise your key responsibilities and achievements. Leaving gaps looks bad.

Nice to haves

Key skills

Often in the job’s description, there will be a list of ideal skills and proficiencies, to improve your chance of being noticed you should write a skills section tailored to what you know the employer is looking for

Hobbies and interests

If you're low on work experience, you can utilise this section to delineate how your personal interests fit with the type of job you’re applying for.

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