Writing your CV isn’t exactly the most popular task in the world, but it is one of the most important parts of your job hunt. On average, recruiters and hiring managers will only scan your CV for 6 seconds before deciding whether to continue reading or skip to the next. So spending some time perfecting your CV really should be at the top of your list of priorities!
Read on to find out the answers to your most burning CV questions:
- What is a CV?
- How long should a CV be?
- What sections should you include in your CV?
- What are the top skills to include in your CV?
- Should you include your references?
How to write a CV in the UK
What is a CV?
A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is a document outlining your professional and academic experience. This document is sent to hiring managers as part of the job application process. Hiring managers will then use your CV to decide whether to progress your application to the next stage of the process.
How long should your CV be?
Your CV should be as concise as possible, and most recruiters agree that your CV should not exceed 2 pages in length. The aim of the CV isn’t to give every last detail of your life story. You need to make the hiring manager’s job easier by condensing your experience down to the most relevant parts. You can provide more details in your cover letter or in the interview.
Sections to include in your CV
To make your CV easier to read, divide it up into clearly labelled sections.
- Personal details
- Personal statement
- Work experience
At the top of your CV, include the following personal details:
- Full name
- Email address
- Contact number
Below your personal details is your personal statement. This should be 2-4 eye-catching sentences that captivate the hiring manager, and give them a reason to want to read the rest of your CV. Include some key words from the job description here, and outline your most relevant work experience.
- List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent job first.
- Title each job with the job title, company, location, and dates
- List 2-5 bullet points per job (use 4-5 bullet points only for the most relevant jobs)
List your education in bullet points, stating the qualifications and grades you achieved. Don’t worry about listing each individual GCSE. You can simply write ‘9 GCSEs grade A-C including english, maths and science.’ This will help to save space!
Your hobbies section gives you the chance to display your personality. List 3 hobbies, but make them interesting! Instead of simply writing ‘Travel’, you could write ‘Travel – 6 months backpacking in South East Asia’. Similarly, instead of just writing ‘Sport’, you could write ‘Sport – local tennis champion’.
What are the top skills to include in your CV?
Your CV should be tailored to each job to reflect the skills that are described in the job advert. Highlight all the key skills from the job advert and incorporate as many of these as possible into your CV to grab the hiring manager’s attention. This should mean your CV skills will look slightly different for each job you apply to!
Should you include your references?
You can omit your references from your CV to save space. The tendency is for people to write ’References can be provided upon request’, but even this sentence is unnecessary since it is generally implied that you’ll be able to provide references.
- Bullet points – bullet points make your CV easier to read. So avoid long paragraphs and just use bullet points to describe your work experience.
- Uniformity – presentation is important in your CV as it says a lot about your attention to detail. Make sure all your jobs are titled in the same way.
- Bold text – Write all of your headings in bold font to make your CV easier to scan
- Font – use a professional font in size 12 like Arial or Times New Roman
Create a CV in minutes!
Ready to create a professional CV but don’t know where to start? When you download the SonicJobs app, we create a CV for you for free in minutes. So head over to the app store and install our app to get started!
Got an interview coming up? Don’t miss our top interview tips!