When it comes to application writing, you might be surprised about what you're able to do. Let’s get your applications ready for 2020.
1. Omit your home address if you don’t think it’ll benefit your application.
2. Leave out your personal profile if it seems generic. There are options here. If you are just beginning your career you can frame it as a ‘career objective’. See Helen Moore-Elly’s article on CV Tips: To profile, or not to profile? for inspiration on whether to do a personal profile, a career objective, or neither. If you do write something, Saiyada Fazal offers a useful list of phrases to avoid. Keep in mind, if you are writing an academic CV it may be worth including an objective outlining your research interests.
3. Include your not-yet-finished degree course. Even if you haven’t finished your degree course, you can still add it to your CV as your most recent qualification. Remember to add the date you started and the date you will finish. If you like, you can even put down an expected grade or the grade that you are aiming for. If you are not thrilled about your grades, check out Molly Norton’s article called CV Tips: How do I display my grades?
4. Delve into your education. You can list your modules, projects, and software skills in your education section if you like. If they’re relevant to what you’re applying for, don’t leave them until the second page. Boost them up. Debbie Pye’s blog post on Not-so-secret tips for your super CV puts this into context. If you’re constructing an academic CV, give this section special attention.
5. Showcase your technical skills. If you have some useful software that will be relevant to your future job, you can take it out of your ‘hard/technical/software skills section’ and put it on the first page either in your education section or in a separate section all on its own. You can even describe how you have applied your technical skills. Did you use them on your degree course? On placement? On a personal project?
6. Be selective about your modules, i.e. you can have a mix of first year, second year, and third year modules all in one line. You don’t have to categorise it into the year you completed it.
7. Summarise your GCSEs; don’t list them all. This can use up a lot of space that would be better reserved for your more recent qualifications. If you want to include some detail you can put (including Maths and English).
8. Section up your work experience. If your most relevant experience is being overshadowed by more recent but less relevant experience, you can take it and put it in a separate section above entitled ‘relevant experience’ or ‘Engineering/Marketing/Clinical/Research Experience’. This can be whatever you feel is an accurate description. If you are looking for more experience or want to make the most of the experience you do have, check out Aste Dahl’s blog post on job-hunting or Anne Cameron’s selling your part-time work experience to employers.
9. Create a skills-based CV if you don't have any relevant work experience. This would enable you to draw on skills from all areas your life including your education, extracurricular activities, hobbies etc. See our CV guide for examples.
10. Don’t worry. As long as you include your contact details, education, and skills, it’s up to you how you order your CV!