Get the basics right
There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and some references.
Presentation is key
A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented, and printed on clean, crisp white paper. The layout should always be clean and well structured and CVs should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope to post your applications. Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter's eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.
Stick to no more than two pages of A4
A good CV is clear, concise and makes every point necessary without waffling. You don't need pages and pages of paper – you just keep things short and sweet. Also, employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it's unlikely they'll read each one cover to cover. Most will make a judgment about a CV within sections, so stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper.
Understand the job description
The clues are in the job application, so read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can't. With the areas where you're lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have.
Tailor the CV to the role
When you've established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role so don't be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it won't. Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don't have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they're relevant.
Making the most of skills
Under the skills section of your CV don't forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include: communication skills; computer skills; team working; problem solving or even speaking a foreign language.
Making the most of interests
Highlight the things that show off skills you've gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Don't include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.
Making the most of experience
Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as "developed", "organised" or "achieved". Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you're applying for.
References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you've never worked before you're OK to use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Try to include two if you can.
Keep your CV updated
It's crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that's missing.