General advice

We recommend that you produce and regularly update a “master” CV where you record all those activities which reflect significant challenge, commitment or achievement on your part. This document can be as long as the content dictates.

When you send a CV to an employer, draw on your “master” CV for relevant sources of content. Your “application” CV must be clear, concise and completely aligned with the job you are applying for. The desired length will vary: term-time jobs should be one side only, UK graduate or internship vacancies will normally be two sides, and a US resume one side. Refer to the examples, linked from this page, for layout and other advice.

Here are some important guidelines:

  • The font should be no smaller than size 10 and contemporary in style eg Arial or Calibri.
  • Headings should be highlighted in bold type rather than block capitals.
  • Use bullet points to highlight your key skills and experience in the work experience and extra-curricular sections.
  • Don't include a photo (unless requested), or your date of birth or marital status on a UK CV.
  • Make sure you spell 'Driving licence' with a 'c'! Spelling must be flawless throughout.
  • If you're given the opportunity to upload a CV with an application, do so.
  • Careers advisers regularly run CV and application workshops, - check events for details and for how to register.

How to make your CV irresistible to employers!

It’s vital to ensure that the content of your CV demonstrates that you have the skills and experience that the employer has listed in their criteria and is not just a summary of everything you’ve ever done.  This will involve phrasing the bullet points in the work experience and extra-curricular sections, to ensure that the content mirrors what is being asked for.

Use the ‘CAR’ approach, ie Context (C), Action (A), Result (R).  For example:

(C) Summer 2018      Red Triangle Ltd (Small brand consultancy)    Marketing Intern

  • (A) Designed and implemented a marketing plan to attract more customers
  • (A) Incorporated extensive use of social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter
  • (R) Resulted in increased traffic to the company website of 40% in four weeks

Apply this method to all those activities, from both work and extra-curricular contexts, which allow you to evidence the skills and experience that the job requires.  Then briefly summarise the other activities in your life to evidence your ‘roundedness’ and energy.  Focus on activities which demonstrate achievement or commitment or which are interesting and quirky.  Eg ‘An interest in making sushi led me to set up a series of popular evening classes to introduce the activity to a wider audience’ is more powerful than ‘Interested in making sushi in my spare time.’