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Update your CV

015 Update your CV

Review CV and Cover Letter information in Step 2

A CV is a marketing tool to present your skills, qualifications and experiences to potential employers.

Your CV should be concise, well-structured, up-to-date, and relevant to the organisation or role that you’re applying to. 

You need to tailor your CV

The most effective CVs are tailored to the specific role and organisation that you’re applying to. This ensures that the recruiter or employer reading it can easily imagine you in that role. When it comes to CVs, one size does not fit all.

The advice on this page is only a guide and there is more than one way to do a CV - make sure you are selling the best version of yourself as appropriate to any role and employer you approach.

Before you start

Find out as much as you can about the job role you are applying for and highlight key points to cover; the job description or person specification will usually detail these:

If this is not possible (eg. if you are making a speculative application) refer to the job profiles on the Prospects website (www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles) which give general requirements for various job roles.


Remember: All experience counts. Many roles will give you skills that can transfer to many different roles. Use these to your advantage


Deciding on a CV Style

Reverse Chronological

A common CV style that goes through each section in reverse chronological order - your most recent qualifications and job roles are listed first to give them more focus and attention. This style of CV is useful to demonstrate a variety of experience and is the one you will most likely use.

Skills Based

A specialised style of CV which focuses on the specific skills employers are looking for, using these skills as headings to demonstrate you relevant experience. This requires matching skill headings to those the employer is looking for. This skills section fills at least your first page and the remainder of your CV can be used to briefly explain your education, employment dates and descriptions. This style of CV is useful when applying for positions not directly linked to previous job roles. 

In most cases, a reverse chronological CV is preferable for a student or graduate

Format and layout

Unless instructed otherwise by the employer, your CV should be no more than two sides of A4 sized paper. Your CV should be concise, but also shouldn’t have too much empty space. Be creative with formatting.

Fonts should be clear and professional - think Verdana or Arial instead of Comic Sans. Font size 11 is ideal, anything smaller can be difficult to read.

Avoid using colours on text other than headings, and unless appropriate for the job you are applying for (for example, Graphic Designer), avoid using images or tables. If you are going for creative roles, however, you may want to use this space to display some of your skills.

Horizontal rules, bullet points, and headings are a useful way of presenting information clearly. If you decide to use any of these, they should be used consistently throughout your CV.

Ensure all text is lined up or in columns and that spelling and grammar is correct.

References

You should not provide the details of referees until requested. Simply write ‘References available on request’ at the end of your CV.

You should have two referees arranged, one should ideally be your current or previous employer, and one can be an academic or personal reference such as a lecturer or a senior member of a club you are involved with. Ensure to ask for permission before providing their details.

Make final checks

Check your CV against the job specifications and description. Have you met every requirement, providing evidence and examples?

If you need some extra help, give your CV a boost by reviewing our CV Builder video. We recommend doing this to help you build up your CV before visiting us with your CV in the Careers & Employability Centre.


Find the CV Builder on the 'My Careers' tab on Blackboard


What to include

This template assumes you are making a Chronological CV, but the methodology used to build each section can be applied to other kinds of CVs as well.

1. Personal Details

Keep this section brief and include:

  • Name (This should act as a heading)
  • Address (ensure you will be contactable at the address stated)
  • Telephone numbers (including mobile)
  • Email address (ensure this looks professional, eg. your name, not imastronaut@email.com)
  • Online portfolio, website and/or LinkedIn profile (if appropriate)

You do not need to include a photo, date of birth, nationality, gender, relationship status, religion or the word ‘CV’.

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Johnathan Patch

11 Fake St, Lincoln LN6 7TS | Mobile: 0711 111 1111 | Email: j.patch@email.com
LinkedIn Profile: linked.in.com/in/johnpatch 

2. Personal Profile

Your personal profile is a space to highlight the qualities and skills that are most important to the employer and the role you are applying for. Write in the third person and between three to five lines is recommended. Include your key strengths, as applicable to the role and evidence these with an example.

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A high achieving Business and Finance BA (Hons) graduate from the University of Lincoln. A thorough understanding of the accounting and finance sectors, a passion for well-crafted marketing campaigns and strong communication skills will help 123 AccountingFinance reach new audiences and maintain relationships with current clients


Education

For a student or graduate CV you will usually  place your Education above Work Experience as this is the most recent and relevant experience that you will have. Consider how your degree has prepared you for work.

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Education

UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN - Lincoln, UK
Business and Finance - BA (Hons) - 2015 - 2018

  • Average of 75% (First Class Honours)
  • Relevant modules include (among others: Principles of Marketing, Financial Management, Strategic Marketing Planning, Crisis Management
  • Collaborated on major group project to outline strategic marketing plan for a small Lincoln-based business, with the group receiving first-class honours for the project

LINCOLN COLLEGE - Lincoln, UK

  • A-levels: A-grades in Maths, English and Business Studies

Work and other relevant experience

Evidence is key: you may have communication skills, but you'll need to prove it by giving an example of how you have used them to assist you in a work situation. Keep sentences short, relevant and in third person (eg. 'This role involved...' rather than 'I was responsible for....'). Use professional and technical language, including positive sounding verbs and phrases with key words from the employer's role requirements.

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Relevant Experience

DEJUNER ACCOUNTING - Lincoln, UK
Marketing and Sales Intern - Jun-Aug, 2016

  • Assisted development of key delivery strategy - succeeding in securing a number of contracts, including three worth an annual £15K each - using a range of statistical techniques including regression modelling.
  • Maintained client base using interpersonal skills, supported expansion with prompt and accurate responses to client enquiries.
  • Analysed relevant industry information to create and distribute a bi-monthly newsletter.

BANKING, INVESTMENT AND TRADING SOCIETY - University of Lincoln, UK
Marketing Officer - 2015-2016

  • Increased membership by 100% during term by initiating, developing and implementing a social media marketing campaign.

Additional Experience & Achievements

LINCOLN AWARD - University of Lincoln, UK
Completed 2017

  • Awarded by the University for completing a Careers & Employability programme developing teamwork, problem solving, IT skills (social media), communication skills, commercial awareness, leadership & management, organisation, work ethic, confidence and emotional intelligence

PRIMARK - Lincoln, UK
Retail Assistant - Feb 2014-Present

  • Provided tailored customer service to diverse range of customers
  • Handled customer complaints with problem-solving skills including negotiation and escalation where necessary.

References Provided Upon Request


Your CV will usually be 1-2 pages long, depending on experience


Further Reading

Get this article, along with advice on covering letters and our Word Bank, as a PDF.

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