Penning the Perfect CV
You’ve been reading job ads, narrowing down your shortlist of schools and agencies, and are now ready to apply with your CV. Keeping in mind that a CV is the first impression an employer gets of you, it’s important to impress, be clear and concise and ensure that you present yourself in the best possible light.
Chances are that the person reading your CV will be reading 50 others. The best way to strengthen your CV is to ensure that the important information is all there in an easy-to-read format. If your CV doesn’t look professional, the recruiter will quickly move on to the next applicant.
Following are some hints and tips to make sure that your CV stands out from the crowd.
- Keep it simple but professional; a potential employer will want to ensure you tick the boxes before delving into the meat of your CV.
- Divide your information into sections, then flesh out the information from there.
- Use headers for each section and feel free to use lines to break up your information.
- Make sure that you list your experience in chronological order, with the most recent experience first.
Some sections to include are: Personal Statement, Education, Relevant Experience and Referees
This is a brief paragraph at the beginning of your CV to provide more information about your career goals (relevant to the position you’re currently looking for). Keep it to a few sentences. The rest of your CV is for providing detail about your strengths and experience.
Include professional qualifications only. Your employer doesn’t really need to know your GCSE details or which primary school you attended. They are concerned first and foremost with whether you are qualified for the job, so all you need to include is relevant qualifications. Do include any university degrees, CPD, or other professional qualifications (like a PGCE or QTS).
This is the most important part of your CV. Employers want to see relevant experience from the past five years, if not longer, and will probably ask for references from your most recent positions. Include dates, employer and position, then flesh out the information with bullet point details of your responsibilities. Feel free to use italics or underlining to help draw the recruiter’s eye to the important points.
Do use professional language and terms to describe your responsibilities. The person recruiting you will have a very strong background in their field, so write your CV as though you are speaking to a colleague or manager. If you come across as patronizing, your CV will leave a bad impression and may be binned. Do mention any leadership responsibilities, experience with exams, planning, and assessments, and extracurricular activities or clubs. If you are an NQT, include your placement schools. Remember, you probably gained quite a bit of experience from these posts. Highlight that!
You will be asked, so why not include two or three referees from your most recent positions? If you are shortlisted, this will save you and the recruiter time in organising relevant references. Provide the names, positions, and contact details of previous supervisors or senior leadership members. Only include personal references if the recruiter asks for them. Always speak to your referees before providing their details to an employer. If the employer calls and your referee is not aware you’re looking for work, it will not reflect very well on you.
Provide honest information and be positive! This document is meant to capture your employer’s attention and ensure that you show them you are the best possible candidate for the role. Don’t be afraid to point out your strengths. If you started a public speaking club in your school where there wasn’t one before, mention it! If you have a strong background in a certain subject area, get it written down!
Do ensure that the information you provide won’t be misconstrued. If that public speaking club was a team effort with another colleague, don’t state that you were the sole leader. Details will be asked about your experience at the interview and if you’re found out, it can reflect very poorly on your professionalism.
- Keep the font easy to read (try Times New Roman, Arial, or Franklin Gothic Book).
- Use standard spacing and a font large enough to read easily.
- Feel free to use bullet points to describe responsibilities
- Don’t use over complicated wording – you want to streamline as much as you can!
- Proofread, proofread, proofread
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