Student jobs: CV writing - 9 ways to the perfect CV

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Writing a CV is the first step towards getting any job and so here's our guide to putting together a killer resume.

Keep it short (sort of)

Keep it short...ish. Your CV shouldn't really be any longer than two pages of A4 at most, and some suggest one page should be enough if you do everything right. If you find yourself struggling to fit everything in - and as a student it's not like you'll have lots of employment to write about - you've gone wrong somewhere.

Don't ever lie!

This one (should be) obvious but it still needs to be stated.

Show off!

A CV is about selling yourself so don't hold back by highlighting all of your achievements and best attributes, this isn't a time to be modest.

But don't dump everything...

Perspective employers won't care about that 100 metre doggy paddle swimming certificate so only put in what's relevant. For example, in terms of education, if you've got a degree you don't need to go on to list all your GCSE subjects, a simple line such as "Attained 8 GCSEs at grades A*-C including English, Maths and Science" will suffice for most applications.

Back up your claims

Don't just trot out cliches such as being "a good team leader", back it up with examples such as when you previously had to lead a team. Support claims with facts and figures so turn that "degree in Computer Science from a University" into "Excelled at University with a degree in Computer Science, achieving an average mark of 92%."

Tailor your CV for each job

When it comes to CVs one size does not fit all. Read the job description carefully and tailor your CV to highlight the exact attributes, skills and/or qualifications that the employer is after.

And make it personal

The CV needn't be just a bland list of grades and employment, add a bit of your personality by adding a short paragraph on yourself, your motivation, activities and hobbies - but try to make them relevant to the employment opportunity on offer.

Keep it simple

Being fancy with your CV can - sometimes - pay off but it's better to play it safe and keep it simple. Stick with paragraphs, columns and bullet points. Choose a standard font (e.g. Arial) and colour and stick with both throughout: this isn't an art project. Also beware of using acronyms or jargon that may not be understood or misinterpreted.

Finally, check it before you send it

The last step is to give your CV a thorough read through before you send it and then get someone else to check it over too. Getting a third person - ideally a professional - can never hurt. From typos to grammatical errors, the CV is your chance to make a good first impression so make it count.

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