Careers Advice

How to write a CV

Writing a CV when you’ve not got much experience can be tricky. Don’t worry, the people looking at your CV were in the same position too once. Include all the important things and you’ll be fine.


What to Include

There are no set rules on what to include, but you can’t go wrong with the following:

  • Contact Details – Email and mobile number (no need for your address)
  • Education – The name of each institution, your qualifications, and the dates you attended. If you've completed any projects then be sure to include details of these.
  • Experience – Jobs, internships, work experience, and positions of responsibility like being head of your science club.
  • Prizes and Scholarships – If you’ve received awards you can either list them in a separate section or include it with details of your education.
  • Skills – Relevant skills such as proficiency with programming languages and software packages, knowledge of foreign languages, and first aid training. Break these down into ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’, ‘advanced’.

It can be tempting to fill that white space with every paper round you’ve ever done, but this isn’t always advisable. The rule of thumb is to include only relevant things.

If your work at Tesco involved teamwork and management then absolutely include it. It doesn’t matter that it’s not directly related to space, the transferable skills are what is important. On the other hand, if your work was just stacking shelves alone in aisle seven it’s probably not worth mentioning.

Whatever you do, don’t lie!


Writing Style and Layout

Keep it simple, keep it short. Your CV will be one of dozens that get looked at, so make sure the most important points are clearly highlighted. Don’t bother with flowery language or long sentences, clear bullet points will do fine.

There are many CV templates online, though many will need adjusting to make them more relevant to students.


Writing About Your Experience

For each item give two or three bullet points. Describe what you did and what you learnt. Back up statements with evidence and quantifiers like ‘Redesigned pipe flow software improving efficiency by 60%’, ‘Organise a committee of 10 and handle a budget of £1k’’.


Before Sending

Double check all your spelling and grammar. Get a friend to read over it to check for mistakes, and also to see whether the important items are clearly highlighted.

Author

Joseph Dudley

Joseph studied Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London, and created SpaceCarers.uk.

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