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University Advice ❱❱ Writing a Student CV

Writing a Student CV

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Your CV is a necessity for any job. A CV is a way for employers to see all the things about you that make you unique and what actually sets you apart from the competition. There are plenty of different ways to create your CV and all templates are valid for you to use. There will be software that you will use at university that can be used on your CV, programmes like Grammarly would be a massive help in writing a perfect CV.

With writing a CV this is less about selling yourself and more about informing people about you and what you do. The charming of the interviewer comes more in the actual interview itself, like your university interviews or a university admission interview.

CV’s are usually split into a number of different sections, these generally tend to include: an introduction, any previous work experience that you may have, your formal education background, your interests and any references that you may have. Although many different CV templates will have things like additional skills or key skills, however, these can often be summarised in your opening introduction as well.

Your CV should almost always be tailored to the company that you’re applying for. Many people get this confused with having your CV tailor-made to the position that you’re applying for, but this can be fraught with complications as many companies have different ideas about what the job position is, what it involves, what it looks like and how much you can be paid for it. This means that your CV, should always be bespoke for each company, always make sure that you have the company’s name on your CV and that you have also made the necessary changes that reflect the policies and philosophies of the company that you’re applying to.

With your CV you have to take great care that everything you include is both relevant and factual. All companies find out if you have lied on your CV, you cannot bend the truth or try to embellish things. Companies find out very quickly and you can be penalised for lying on your CV, so be careful with these things out easily.

Introduction:

Your introduction is possibly the most important part of the overall CV. No matter what else is actually in your CV, your introduction – your opening gambit, if you will – is very important for people. This is often a summary of you as a person and the various different skills that you possess. The best thing to do is to leave the person reading your CV wanting more. They have to want to know more about you and the best way to do that is by writing short and attention-grabbing sentences. A person reading your CV has to be intrigued by you and hooked enough to read on in your CV and see more about you. Make sure that you mention your strengths, where you see yourself in five years time and what makes you such a great candidate for the position. We generally recommend that you try to summarise in as few a words as possible, generally between the sixty-five and the one hundred mark is a good place to get yourself to. One thing to remember is that this is not a chance for you to reveal your political allegiance or for you to share personal information about yourself, this is for you to describe yourself in a professional manner that will appeal to readers and will not distract from the content.

Previous Work Experience:

This section obviously speaks for itself. This should contain a selection of places that you have previously worked. However, when writing this section think about what is and what is no relevant. The inclusion of work that you did when you were sixteen and doing some work for a family member, probably isn’t all that relevant, that’s not to say that it isn’t, but you will only ever need to include professional work where you have been employed for a long term position. In this section, you will need to list all of the various roles that were undertaken in your time there, all of the work that you did, the hours that you were contracted to work or what your work involved exactly. This will allow employers to see what you can do, whether or no you can take the lessons that you have learned and apply them in a new scenario that will allow you to work well for your new company. This will always be fact-checked as well by a company when they go through your references (See below) and they will know if you have embellished elements of your CV and that will significantly damage your chances of employment Be sure as well, to include your length of employment and include the positions that you held at the company as well; if you have had multiple positions at a company then it is best for you to list all of them and the time that you held them and what led to the promotions. If you have participated in a student internship, be sure to include this on your CV as well. It is also good in this section to list why the experience that you learned from one place would benefit the work that you’ll be doing in a new place; if the company you’re working for values good interpersonal skills, demonstrate a time where you have needed to use this in your last company and then explain how this would benefit the new company. If you have a gap in your work placement and its down to gap year, then mention it, although it’s important to mention what you done on your time away.  

Education:

This section is a list of all of the places that you have studied. It is also worth pointing out that this section should only really include a list of secondary education onwards. High school to university should be included here, because most, if not all employers will not care about what you did during your infants’ school years. This section should be relatively bare, what school/college/university did you attended, who was the headteacher, what qualifications did you get and how long you were at the institute for. This is really all you need, any more than that and you will just end up overloading people with information that really don’t need. Also as well, you have to have the ability to backup the qualifications that you’ve earned. If you have GCSEs in certain subjects, if you have A Level qualifications or indeed a university degree, make sure that you can prove that. It could be that you will be applying to one of the UK universities, so mention what degree course you will be studying and why, they will want to know your choices. Most employers won’t ask to see your certificates, but you will be caught out almost immediately if you don’t have them. Any time that you have spent studying abroad has to be mentioned, these unique experiences will be appreciated by any potential employees. 

Interests and Hobbies:

This is what employers really want to see for you. They want to see what your interests are, what your hobbies include and how they define you as a person. The more that is here, the more likely you are to actually have people’s interest. This section should include why you like the things you like and why they actually help you. For example, if you play sport at university, say you like football, you can say that this teaches you a lot about teamwork and about the importance of following instructions. This can help you a lot too because this section also shows that you actually have a life outside of your work and outside of your studies. The more interesting your habits are the better. Or if you enjoy living a healthy university lifestyle then you should mention that! Even if you’re into things that are a little niche, people will want to hear about it, if you’re the head of the local film club or you run a book club then it shows everyone that you can run things or that you take your interests seriously. This is is the best thing to include, again don’t make this section too long, because you want to leave the reader with enough questions at the end of it for your interview. Always leave them wanting more…

References:

You need to make sure that your references are spot-on. These references need to be one for character and one for previous employment, ideally. However, it is possible to just use previous employers. These references can be the difference between getting a job and no getting a job, so make sure that you use a good reference and someone that can show potential employers just how good a candidate you are. It is generally best if the referees that you use are closely related in some way to the job that you’re applying for.

Those are the most important sections for you to include in your CV. This is a chance for employers to get to know as much about you as possible, but one of the most important parts of this will be the act of providing just enough information to inform people and also leaving enough to talk about in an interview so that you don’t sound like a broken record. This will also be a good opportunity for you to perfect your writing style too.


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