Help writing a CV
Writing a CV for the first time can seem like an impossible task. You just don’t know what to put in or what to leave out. You may feel you’ve done nothing and achieved nothing that’s relevant.
Getting started is the hardest part. However, by talking it through with someone they might be able to help you identify your achievements and skills.
Types of CV
There are basically 2 types of CVs (Curriculum Vitae):
- Chronological CV – this is the most common one and puts everything you have done in date order – finishing with the exams you have just taken or your most recent employment.
- Functional CV – is more about your skills and achievements – starting with what you think is most important or relevant.
It will be for you to decide which you think is most suitable for the job you are applying for – it may be that a combination of both is appropriate.
If you are disabled, you will also need to decide if you are going to disclose your disability. You are only obliged to disclose your disability by law, if it may cause health and safety issues for you or others.
By disclosing your disability you will enable your organisation to understand any additional requirements you may have because of a disability or health condition.
You may be concerned that by disclosing your disability you are putting yourself at a disadvantage during the recruitment and selection process but if you follow a few simple guideline this shouldn’t be the case.
Disclosing your disability is obviously a very personal thing and no-one can tell you how to do so, but here are a few tips to help you:
- Be confident, clear and honest.
- Be positive- emphasise the skills, abilities and experiences you have gained.
- You don’t have to discuss your disability apart from how it affects your work and you should be prepared to discuss it in this context.
- It’s a good idea to think of examples before hand where your disability hasn’t stopped you from achieving your goals.
Most employers prefer you to disclose your disability as it helps them to monitor their equal opportunities policies and to make sure that they are accessible.
Many employers operate a Guaranteed Interview scheme for disabled candidates where you are guaranteed an interview if you meet the minimum job requirements.
Along with your CV you will need to send a covering letter. Remember to sell yourself in the letter – tell them what job you are applying for and why you think you would be right for it.
You must be precise – a CV that is too long or too many pages will probably be disregarded. You can expand on what is listed in your CV if you are successful enough to get an interview.
Make sure that your CV is:
- Typed – if you don’t have your own equipment, use school, college, Connexions Centre or try your local library.
- Clear – don’t try to be fancy keep it black print on white paper in an easy to read font such as Arial 12.
- Logical – start with your name and contact details, work through your school, college and any work.
- Accurate – proof read it and make sure it makes sense and there are no spelling mistakes.
- Concise – keep it short – 2 pages if possible.
- Above all be honest in your CV – remember you will have to support anything you have written if you get an interview!
Volunteering for your CV
As well as being a great opportunity to give something back and contribute to the community, volunteering looks fantastic on your CV and is an excellent way of improving your employability for any job you apply for in the future.
In addition to showing your generous side, volunteering can demonstrate that you have a wide range of interests, are self-motivated and are a sociable person – all impressive points to highlight on a CV!
As well as this, it’s great work experience and could help you decide what you want to do in the future; giving you a kick-start into your eventual career.
Who can help?
GreatCVs is a unique reference point for anyone wanting to create a new CV or update an existing one. Written by experts it offer tips and advice for writing any type of CV, from targeted to performing arts and much, much more… http://www.greatcvs.co.uk/.
The Connexions careers database, www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u, can also help you to get an idea of what different employers expect from their employees. This can help you plan voluntary and part-time work to improve your CV for a particular career.
Job Centre Plus can help you with a whole range of careers and job-seeking services – from help finding a job, to improving or updating skills, advice and support if you’ve got a health condition or disability, and even financial help with your rent.
Mentoring and befriending are great ways to give something back to the community, as well as improving your employability and enhancing your CV. Find out more in the volunteering section on the Mentoring and Befriending Foundation website.