CVs and applications
Navigate through the drop-down tabs below for our top tips on CVs and job applications.
For more advice, you can contact the Employment Support Service on 0300 123 1745, or by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.
Keep your CV relevant and to the point. Think 'TCP':
- T is for Target
Always bear in mind what the job, the company and the reader needs from you – check the job advert and see if you can get hold of the job description and person specification.
- C is for Content
Sticking to point one will keep your CV relevant. Write about what’s important to that job in that company. Be prepared to re-write your CV for every job you apply for.
- P is for Presentation
Use clear headings, bullet points and plenty of space between sections to make it easy to read. It’s better to spread your CV over two pages than cram it into one.
Put a bullet-point summary of your skills and experience at the top of your CV, under your contact details – the reader will see this first and want to read more.
- Leave it out
Nowadays, you don’t need to include your age, date of birth, nationality, national insurance number, marital status, level of health or care commitments. You don’t need to include any exam failures. Hobbies and interests can be left out (saving you space), unless they are relevant: see point one again!
As a returner to the job market, you have a lot to offer employers.
- Check out our standard guidance for CVs
This will give you a good overview of how to lay out your CV.
- Leave out specific dates
Instead, state the length of time you were in previous jobs.
- Be positive
Your experiences both in employment and elsewhere are all valuable. Focus on what you have learned and can do, not what you think is missing.
- Use your hobbies and interests
There may be things you do in your spare time that give you transferable skills, e.g. helping a neighbour, taking part in local community activities.
- You're in charge
Remember: you control the information in your CV and how it's presented. No one is expecting you to say anything you're not happy with.
- Do a rough draft first
That way you can check and correct mistakes before uploading/writing out in neat.
- Follow the instructions carefully
This shows you’re paying attention to detail and helps the employer to assess you more easily.
- Keep it relevant
Try to provide as much information on every aspect of the person specification as you can.
- Fill in all the boxes
If a question doesn’t apply to you, write ‘N/A’ to show the reader you haven’t ignored the question.
- Keep a copy of your application
You will need this when preparing for your interview.
When you send an employer your CV, include a short email/letter to improve your chances of getting a positive response. Four simple paragraphs will make a good impact:
Briefly say why you are sending your CV and include the job title and reference number. If sending your CV by email, mention these in the subject line as well.
- Draw attention
Tell the employer about the skills and experience in your CV that you believe make you a good match for the job. They’re then more likely to look at your CV.
- Make it personal
Tell them why you are interested in working for their business. For example, you could refer to something you have seen on their website or tell them about your own personal experience as a customer of theirs.
Tell them you look forward to hearing from them and give them your contact number.
- Then remember…
Make sure you attach/enclose your CV!