CVs, LinkedIn & Interviews

Curriculum Vitae

Your CV (also called a Resume on some sites) is a single sheet of paper listing key facts that are of interest to employers.  The easiest way to create one is to open a Word template (shown here) and start writing.  The main sections you need are:

  1. your name

  2. your contact details so they know how to get back in touch ( you could include your social media links if relevant - employers will search you online before inviting them for interview, so make sure they are directed to the online profile you want them to see!)

  3. personal statement - a couple of lines about how brilliant you are and why you are just the person for this position (you will probably need to adapt this for each application).  The Word template does this in 2 sections - skills (what you are brilliant at) and objectives (why you are applying).

  4. your education including name of school, when you were there and what GCSE/A-levels you earned

  5. work experience, especially if relevant to the application; you might like to give this section the title Relevant Experience and include examples from the workplace and your hobbies or extra-curricular activities

  6. other skills or hobbies that demonstrate your skills.  If you know the key skills needed for the job you are applying for, you can create headings for each skill such as Leadership, Communication, Teamwork and write a few bullet points on each to demonstrate how you have developed these skills

  7. Digital Skills - these can be worth highlighting under a separate heading; most students can accurately state they have worked using both online and blended learning techniques throughout the pandemic!  Knowing how to store and retrieve lots of computerised information is really helpful at university and in the workplace.

Now your CV's done, you'll need a covering letter.  If you are sending the CV in hard copy, make sure you use all the traditional rules of letter writing (google them if you've forgotten where to put addresses and when to use sincerely/faithfully etc).  For an online application, use formal language but don't worry about putting address headers and dates on your email.  Remember to flag the email so you know when the person has opened it.  Give them a chance to read it and then ring them up to see if they want to offer you an interview.

One more thing....ask a couple of people to read your CV and covering letter before you send them off.  Spelling and grammar must be perfect!  Save your final version in pdf format so it can be read on any device.

For more ideas on how to lay out a CV, go to https://www.visualcv.com/cv-templates/. I also recommend www.canva.com for designing your CV as it lets you easily change font sizes and the positions of blocks of text.  You can use one of their templates (which are much more eye-catching than the Word template) or start from a blank A4 page if you're feeling creative.  The downside is Canva won't spot your typing errors, so you'll need to double check everything really carefully.  Once happy with your design, download and save it in pdf format to share with potential employers.

Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a good place to hunt for work experience, internships and jobs.  Use the same ideas as you would for a CV - you want to create a profile that encourages employers to take you seriously.  What are you good at? What job would you like to do?  In many firms the Human Resources manager will be hunting for suitable candidates online; a number of young people I know have found fantastic jobs this way - simply create your profile and your dream job might find you!   

Note: Avoid including too much personal information online.  Employers need to be able to contact you by email, but they don't need addresses too.  

Interviews

A good starting point for interview advice is the Prospects website, www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/interview-tips/how-to-prepare-for-an-interview .

Research the institution or organisation you are being interviewed by thoroughly, prepare a few questions and see if you can find out about the person interviewing you.  If possible, arrange a practice interview first - ask someone who works in a similar field or industry if they can help.  The internet is full of helpful advice from people about questions they were asked at interview too!