How To Write a CV – Article by an Angus Young Person

How to Write a CV, by Ashley fomr the Angus Youth Media Group

Probably a term you’ve heard an awful lot but not necessarily something you know that much about. It’s important for jobs and applications, but what exactly is it?

Well, according to Oxford Learning Dictionaries Online, ‘CV’ stands for ‘curriculum-vitae,’ which means the ‘course of life’ in Latin. It’s described as “a written record of your education and the jobs you have done that you send when you are applying for a job.” A more simple explanation I cannot think of. A CV is simply something you send to companies you want to work for, explaining why they should hire you.

Now that we’ve thoroughly established what a CV is, let’s turn to how to write one. The first thing to put is your first and last name, ideally in bold and in the centre of the page. The next line is your address. The last line consists of your phone number and your email address. So, in short, it should look something like this:

 Jane Smith

1 Made Up Street, Fantasy Land, Post Code

01234567890 | madeup@pretend-email.com

With that clarified, let’s move onto the next part of the CV. First, you should have the title Personal Profile, ideally in bold and on central alignment. Beneath this should be roughly 4-6 lines about you. It doesn’t have to be particularly in-depth but just enough for your employers to get a flavour. It’s here you should mention what your current status is (i.e., ‘I am a Sixth Year high school student studying Higher English…’). That should be the first line.

Next, you should talk about some of the skills you have, ideally mentioning the ones that correspond with the job description. Remember, transferable learning skills are very attractive to employers. It should read something like this.

‘I am a Sixth Year high school student studying Higher English and Higher Maths. I am a natural leader, with excellent teamwork and communication skills picked up from years of being a Girl Guide. I am comfortable with public speaking and capable of working with a deadline.’

The next section to move onto is Skills and Qualities. Like the personal profile section, this title should be in bold and on central alignment. Here, you’ll be going into further detail about yourself and how the qualities and skills you have make you a good fit for the job.

First thing to do is look at the specific criteria for the job listed on the candidate profile/job application, since this section is about proving how you have the skills you say you have and how they match up to the job. List the skill or quality you have that the employer wants and then write about how you have developed this skill or quality or how you have used it in the past. For example, it should look like this:

Confidence: I developed my confidence from becoming a Prefect, as it requires me to speak to people often and enforce school rules. This in turn helped me to become more sure of myself, which I think will be useful for the social aspect of the job.

Be sure to only mention a few key skills or qualities, about three or four in total. It might be tempting to write an entire sonnet about how you fit the job in this section, but the aim of the game is to keep your CV detailed but brief.

The third section should be about Education. This is simply about letting your employer know where you went to school and listing the qualifications you got while you were there, as well as the grade you got from it. You can also list qualifications that you are in the process of getting. If you’re a university student, you should say what degree you are pursuing and what modules you’re studying, if you have the space for it. It could look something like this:

Student at Made Up High School: 2015-2021

Qualifications: Higher English – B…

Make sure the layout isn’t messy. Employers want your CV to be neat and tidy. Tip: Google Docs and Word Documents often offer CV templates that are useful for getting started! The next thing to turn to is Work Experience. Don’t panic if you have little work experience to speak of, or have never had a job before. Work experience can come from almost anything – volunteering, academic skills, your hobbies. The key here is showing how the skills you learned from this experience links to the job you’re applying for and how this will be useful. For example, if you volunteer, you should list the title you have, where you volunteer at and how long you’ve been volunteering there for. You should then move onto explaining some of what you do there and how this will be useful to the job you are applying to:

School Captain at Made Up High School (2017-2018): Learned how to create rotas and manage a changing schedule from week to week, which would be useful in a role such as Shift Leader.

Try to go into as much detail as possible but not too much, as you have a limited amount of space to write your CV on. If you have enough space, here would be a great place to list any Additional Achievements you might have that could be interesting to employers, such as the 100 hours Saltire Award or the Baden Powell Award for Girl Guides.

Now we move onto Hobbies and Interests. As the name implies, this is the section where you talk about the kind of things you like to do in your free time. This is a great chance to let your employers learn more about you! Try to mention some of the skills you’ve learned from these interests that will help you should you get the job. For example, if the job requires you to do photography and you’re an amateur photographer, mention that!

The last thing you want to have on your CV is References. Ideally, you should have two references. They should not be relatives or friends. Rather, they should be people you know from a professional context such as a teacher from school, an employer, the leader of a group you attend, etc. Above all, it should be someone who knows you well and who will say positive things about you. You must always ask someone for permission to put their name down as a reference before you do it. Once you’ve got it, list their title, first name and surname. Then you must state their job title and include the address of the place where they work. Finally, you list their work number and work email address. It should look like this:

Reference 1

Prof. Georgina Henderson

Lecturer at Made Up University 1

2 Made-Up Address, Post Code

gh@made-upemail.co.uk / 0123456789

Reference 2

Mr. Peter Dun

Business Manager at Made-Up Shop

1 Made-Up Address, Post Code

pd@madeupemail.co.uk / 098765432

Tip: If you don’t have any room for your references, you can put ‘References are available on request.’

Now, here’s some technical stuff for ya. Your CV should:

  • Be no more than 2 pages long
  • Be in a size 11 or 12 font –
  • Be in a simple to read font like Arial or Calibri –
  • Be neat and orderly –
  • Be tailored for the specific job you are applying for (i.e., don’t just copy and paste!)

And that’s pretty much all there is to it. As with most things, a CV is something that gets easier to write the more you do it. Practice makes perfect! Below is a list of CV examples to consult if you’re still stuck on how to start, but the most important thing to remember is to be positive about yourself! Don’t put yourself down or sell yourself short. If you’ve got the skills, showcase them. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the job. Sometimes that just happens, even if you’ve got an amazing CV. Just remember to keep applying. Something will turn up sooner or later.

Best of luck! Written by: Ashley

Helpful Links

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/careers-advice/cv-sections

https://www.dundee.ac.uk/guides/writing-cv

https://uk.indeed.com/career-advice/cvs-cover-letters/how-to-write-a-student-cv

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