An outstanding CV must be both eye catching and concise.  Employers see hundreds (sometimes thousands) of CVs per vacancy and on average spend  between 30 – 60 seconds reviewing each CV. You have a limited time to make a great first impression.

Think quality over quantity.  Ideally your CV should be no more than two pages so keep it short and sweet but effective!  Don’t be tempted to overcompensate for lack of experience with lots of writing that will not be relevant to employers.  This will reduce the impact made by your CV.

Structuring your CV is also important.  You need to aim to make it as easy as possible for a prospective employer to identify that you have the necessary skills and experience for the advertised role.  A good CV should include the following:

1.     Personal Details Make sure your personal details are up to date and accurate!

Full Name

Current Permanent Address

Mobile number, landline number

Email address

2.     Personal profile

This should be an introduction to who you are as a person e.g. “I am confident communicator and have displayed this whilst being the Captain of the Football team at school.” What your career aims are e.g. “I am looking to gain an Apprenticeship qualification in the fitness industry because this is an area I am extremely passionate about, and I want to gain real life work experience.”  It is great to use this as a platform to show how enthusiastic you are about the industry you are applying for and to make a great impression!

3.     Key skills

In this section, you can include up to 5 key skills. For the most part try to make them as relevant to your Industry of interest as possible.  If you are interested in the IT sector, say if you have built your own PC from scratch/do you help friends and family with IT issues at home?  If you are running low on Industry specific key skills then include softer skills.  For example, if you did Duke of Edinburgh or something similar whilst at school, you will be a good team worker.


4.     Education/training

For your education and training you could include a table such as the one below.

 Archbishop Sentamu Academy/School, Hull, September 2011 – June 2016

GCSE / A level Subject Grade
GCSE Maths Predicted C
GCSE English Predicted C
GCSE Computer Science Predicted B/C
GCSE Film Studies C
BTEC Level 2 Media Pass

 You should include level of qualification, the subject it was in and the grade you received.  You can include predicted grades if you have not received your results for certain qualifications yet.  You should start with the most recent qualification you have studied and always include key qualifications such as GCSE English and Maths.


5.     Employment & work experience (Include voluntary experience)

Include any work you have undertaken, whether part-time or voluntary, highlighting your responsibilities and the skills and experience acquired. This helps demonstrate your willingness to work hard, and how the experience helped develop your skills: time management, team work, customer service. Start with your most recent first.  If you did a work experience placement whilst at school you can also include this.

6.     Interests and leisure activities

Include hobbies that are relevant to the job or highlight a relevant skill.

7.     Referees

“References Available Upon Request”

If you have never had previous employment, you could use school college teachers as references.  You could also get a character reference from a family friend or neighbour.  Or if you did a work experience placement then you could use them as reference.

Tip: Don’t include names and contact details on a CV (although application forms may ask for this.) Always seek permission from a reference before passing their details on to a recruiter or potential employer. 

For further information on creating employment opportunities head over to our blog discussing the benefits of LinkedIn.