Top 5 CV tips for beginners

…I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand
Ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you…

This is not just an iconic Natasha Bedingfield song, it’s a familiar torment for CV-writers – which, unfortunately, will be all of us at some point. Even if you’re not currently in the Action stage of your career planning, once you’ve Discovered what careers are possible, and Focussed down on a role you would like, you’ll have to come back to CV advice, so the more you’re aware of now, the easier your future Action steps will be!
Remember, the Discover, Focus, and Action stages of career planning are cyclical, so you will be at each stage more than once – that’s totally normal! If you’re not sure what stage you’re currently at, check out our Keats pages for more detail.
To alleviate some of the pain of CV writing, Andrea Espinosa Carvajal, one of our talented Application Advisers, is sharing her top tips. So, grab your coffee, grab your pen, and get ready to craft that CV! Over to Andrea…
Image of coffee cup and notepad on desk
Photo by Jessica Lewis from Pexels

 

Writing a CV is not an easy task. You have to think about starting work, fulfilling your personal expectations and showcasing your attributes and disadvantages. Although it sounds daunting, the process of writing a CV will help you identify your strengths!

Here are my top tips as you start writing:

 

1. Look at example CVs 

Especially when you start CV writing, you need as much information as you can get, so have a look at some example CVs. Be aware that conventions for CVs are different in different countries, so make sure you’re reading CVs crafted for the UK job market. Check out this example on Prospects and look at the examples on the Careers & Employability Keats pages.

Whilst you’re reading these examples, think about what you want your own CV to look like. In particular:

  • Which the format fits you best (eg.. do you need a technical CV or a chronological one? How might you organise your own subheadings?) and
  • How should you talk about your skills?

 

2. Value your experience.

At this point in your career, you might not have a lot of formal work experience, and that is fine. You are writing the CV to start building your career path, and the employers know that. What is relevant now is to recognise all the experience you have gained from participating in different activities like internships, shadowing experience, volunteer work or extra-curricular organisations.

You can also use your academic experience –  every essay, report and presentation is an example of your ability to analyse, write, and present data.

Remember, your employability is made up of Knowlegde, Attributes, Skills and Experience – find out more here.

3. Use your language 

To write a great CV, you need to think about what language you use. Be clear and concise, use bullet points, and keep your sentences short. Make sure you use active verbs (in the past tense) to take ownership of your development and provide evidence for any claims you make. This will make you sound authoritative and capable.

 

4. Use job descriptions as a guide

Each CV should be created for each individual job you apply for – so that means tailoring it to the job description. Sending around a generic CV to a lot of different jobs just won’t get you an interview.

 

5. Proofread (again, and again, and again)

A CV is an important document, so double-check your spelling, grammar, and clarity. Ask someone you trust to take a look and give you feedback.

Building your CV can be really exciting and you’ll be forced to focus on your accomplishments, so allow yourself to be excited for the future, and proud of what you’ve already achieved.

 

We’ve got tons of CV-writing advice on our Keats pages. You can also attend a CV-writing workshop or an Application Advice appointment – sign up for both on King’s CareerConnect.

 


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