How do I write an impressive CV?

My tutor keeps telling us we should improve our CVs to help us get work. I’m not going to do well in my courses, so wondered if there’s anything I can do to make my CV look better?

Many students worry about their CVs, especially if they’re unsure how they’ll do in their courses, so it’s great you’re proactively looking to improve your CV.

Employers look for more than just qualifications; they’re interested in your personal qualities and transferable skills, such as time management and communication. You don’t have to learn those things in paid work — the skills and experience you develop outside work are just as useful.

Have you decided what career path you’d like to take yet? Even if you haven’t, there are a number of things you can do in order to improve your CV. Firstly, make the most of what you’ve done, this way employers won’t only concentrate on any low exam results.

If you’ve worked somewhere part-time, you can use this as an opportunity to mention team work, punctuality and anything else that you might have learnt within this role. It’s good to focus on the positive things you have achieved.

It’s also a good idea to tailor each CV you send out slightly to suit the company or organisation that you are applying to. A good way to do this is to add a personalised covering letter to each application.

It could also be worth speaking with your education provider’s careers advisor. Your school, college or uni should have a careers advisor or careers centre where you can get guidance with your CV and job applications. Your personal tutor should also be able to help you out with this, especially as they seem quite keen to help you in this matter.

There are a number of things you can add to a CV to make you sound more appealing to potential employers. Although grades do count towards job roles, it’s good to include information about who you are. It’s important you let your character shine through in your CV – employers are interested in the whole package, rather than just your course results. Big up the skills and experience you do have and maybe mention your hobbies to them as well, so they can see how rounded a person you are -(although avoid the usual cliches of socialising with friends and going to the cinema).

If you are a member of any academic groups, sports clubs, or other societies, it’s worth mentioning as this shows you are sociable and able to work effectively in a team.

It’s good to mention any work experience you’ve done, any previous employment or any academic achievements that you’ve met. These are all great ways of showing that you’re dedicated and motivated, which can give you an edge over your potential competition.

Voluntary work also looks fantastic to organisations that you are applying to; it shows them that you have dedication, drive and initiative. If you’re looking to get into a certain area of work, volunteering can be a foot in the door, giving you the chance to learn about the job and pick up vital skills. Even if you don’t have a particular career in mind, voluntary work always looks good on a CV or job application. You can find details of a whole variety of volunteering opportunities to suit you on The Mix’s sister site

If you need further careers advice, you can contact learndirect, who provide careers and training advice to people of any age. You can call their helpline on 0800 100 900.

Answered by bss on 25-Sep-2012

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