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CV Preparation

CV Writing

‘Curriculum Vitae’ translates directly to mean ‘the story of one’s life’, and the way in which you choose to tell it makes all the difference in landing your first job.
We have put together a few helpful tips to assist you with writing your CV.

Structure
Title - some CVs have a title which says the job that you are looking for or qualified in, for example “Graphic Designer” or “Joinery Apprentice”.
Personal details - name, address, home and mobile number, email address if you have one.
Personal Profile – A short introduction to your CV. Who you are, what you would bring to the company and why you are applying for the role.

Education/ Qualifications - set these out giving your most recent school/college first. List the qualifications you have gained at each stage (if you don’t have them yet either put a predicted grade or 'pending').
Work experience – add any volunteerwork, work experience or part time positions where you have gained experience.
Interests – add any extra-curricular activities that show teamwork and leadership skills.

Keep it Simple
Each of your sections should be detailed but brief, and your CV should never exceed two sides of A4.
Before you begin, it’s a good idea to look at some different templates of how a CV should look.

Content
Keep sentences short and to the point, but make sure that you provide as much information as possible in each section. If you haven’t worked before, Include notable achievements, such as participation in extra-curricular clubs or societies whilst in education.

Your interests section should be short and brief. Ideally, you should tailor this section each time according to which of your interests are most applicable to the job.

Tone
You should write your CV in clear, professional language that’s easy to read – so resist any temptation to show off your extensive vocabulary.

Getting Personal
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’re ready to consider ways to stand out from
the masses of applicants. Your personality should shine through in your CV. One way of doing this is to put a short personal profile after your contact details. If you choose to do this, make sure that you maintain your professional tone and be sure to include information concerning what kind of role you are looking for.

For example, are you looking for a people facing position or do you work better independently? Are you searching for a hands-on role or an office job?

Rules of thumb

Your CV is a professional document and it must look professional. Don’t use bright colours or jazzy formatting. You should use a straightforward font, such as Calibri or Arial, and a font size between 10 and 12 points, keeping spacing consistent.


Include the details of at least two referees; for a school leaver, it’s acceptable for these to be academic, but you should try to include a professional contact if possible. Alternatively, if you don’t want prospective employers contacting your referees without your knowledge, it’s perfectly acceptable to put a line at the bottom of your CV simply saying, ‘references available upon request’.

Double Check
Finally, you must double and triple check your spelling and grammar. Get at least one other person to proofread your CV before you send it off to any potential employers.

Cover Letter

How do I write a school leaver cover letter?

Every school leaver cover letter you write should be tailored to the company and the school leaver programme you are applying for. Sending off the same old cover letter to everybody won’t impress.

To construct a tailored cover letter, you’ll need to do your research. Find out exactly what the company does, what it values and what makes it different.

You can look at its website, follow the company on Twitter or Facebook, and read any articles you can find about the firm. 

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