The Art of a Good CV

Now I am not an expect, I have spent months and months sending my CV out and the only jobs I have managed to get are ones that I can talk myself into, the ones where a CV is irrelevant. However, recently I did a few things and rather than a straight rejection, or not bothered to get back to me I have a number of phone interviews lined up, and one face to face interview. Cover letters are the bane of my life, so I try and look for jobs that don’t need them, I have a great cover letter which is for admin jobs, but in the field I actually want to go in it, it’s just a blank space.

So what are my tips, I only changed a few things and it seems to have worked rather well. The first might seem pointless but I actually understand why it might help. Often people put the dates of the jobs before the company and your roles, now that’s fine but it makes it harder for people who read the CV to actually scan for the important information. Now the way I have my ordered is the company name goes first, this does depend on your experience though. For example this is how mine looks.

Sky Vision, Parthenon • Assistant • September 2013

Before I had job first, then the date and lastly the company, by having it this way you can see who they worked for, what they did and when. It makes it easier for those looking at CV’s to see if you have experience in the relevant field, dates are pretty irrelevant unless you have massive gaps.

Another thing I changed is rather than saying what I did in my role, I did what I achieved. I mean honestly when someone told me that, I was like what? It still tells you what I did, but rather than saying I tidied up dresses, it says I have a great eye for detail. This is what I wrote for the summary for my job in retail.

In retail your customer service skills greatly improve due to the nature of the job, which includes greeting and assisting customers, while equally giving advice and answering queries. This particular store had many outfits over five hundred pounds, so it’s absolutely crucial to have a good eye for detail. Personal appearance and the ability to run around on my feet all day is highly regarded. Equally, being friendly, engaging and having confidence is an absolute must when dealing with people from all walks of life.

My first draft was very different, I am not going to lie I spent hours looking at other people’s CV’s to get that written down. Writing does not come to ease with me. So I am saying what I learnt at this job, rather than what I did, I think that’s the best way of putting it. I am currently trying to cut my work experience description down, because frankly at the moment it is a little too long, my Cv is just over two pages, and really you should try and aim for less than two.

Another thing I changed was the order of my experience, making the most current things at the top. I also got rid of anything that I couldn’t explained. I removed my work experience for a local oprea company and moved it into a volunteer and interest section. People may not look at that section but it shows that you do have interests outside of work and that you contribute to society in other ways.

Before I changed my CV I started with a personal statement, and then have a list of technically and other skills below it, let’s just say it looked very messy. I still have both the sections but my CV now looks like this.


Below the Personal statement section is a list of skills. As you can see from the personal statement it’s not really a personal statement. I feel like the cover letter often does what a personal statement can do. Mine just quickly talks about my love of media, that i studied and some of the key companies I have worked for and how the experience helped. At the top you can see I have a number of links to this blog, my youtube, my instagram and my linkedin, all which show that I am tech savvy. I have blacked out my email, mobile number and I did have my address on the CV. I however always add that I am willing to relocate to london if needs to be, even though I live closer to Bristol.

After my work experience I have my education listed, and all qualifications that I have, it is only a little section and I haven’t gone it to detail about what I have done. Like the work experience I have listed school, qualification and then years. I never had my school name because well I had been informed that due to the school I had been to their was a certain about of people who would reject me base on the school, I am privately educated you see, and not everyone likes us. I then have the volunteer and interest section that I mentioned above. Before saying references on request, but make sure that you have at least two work references and two personal references before sending the CV out. I use two of my mums best friends as personal references because they have known me my whole life, if you want any suggestions, often young people struggle with the personal ones because our friends are all new and we haven’t known them long.

This might help, this might not, but it helped for me and now I’m passing on what I learnt.