CV CONSTRUCTION KIT
A Curriculum Vitae is an important tool.
Treat it as such and you will be more successful.
BEFORE YOU ACT!
1. What are the things you would most like an employer to know about
In other words, what are your most marketable achievements and
2. Can you identify your unique selling point?
Something which wil attract the selectors attention and differentiate you
from the other applications. Your degree should not be taken for granted,
can you also offer evidence of skil s in leadership, communication, team-
working or a specialised area?
3. Are there items you do not wish to draw the employers attention to?
For help in thinking about the skills and qualities you may have to offer,
see the exercise that fol ows this page, which fol ows.
4. How can you arrange the layout of your CV to draw attention to the
points you wish an employer to notice?
(The examples of Chronological and Functional CV styles which follow
wil help you in deciding on layout.)
5. How can your choice of words make your CV more powerful and
See page for help with this.
Project – presentation
Any experience helping people of taking complaints
Article for newsletters/newspapers
Published letters of similar
Evidence of flexibility
Experience of working with others
Team games or sports such as rock climbing
Any group project work e.g. young enterprise in school, field course
Organised groups such as Guides / Scouts, D of E, outward bounds courses
Management of People
Organising a trip / expedition / visit / travel arrangement
Work experience with the public, particularly if dealing with complaints or
Examples from persons relationships with friends, relatives or col eagues
Some work experience could provide examples, e.g. sales when price iw not
Asking for a pay rise
Reaching agreement on apportioning work loads or tasks
Negotiating a change to your course or other details of attendance or work
Negotiating a discount on something
Get on wel in a particular group – evidence could involve being asked to carry
on ding something for people or being elected to represent a group, being
invited back to take part in something, having been successful in gaining
Examples could be drawn from personal life, work experience, academic work or
Examples from project work
Meeting deadlines either in academic work or work experience or any leisure
activities and interests
Managing to cope successful y with several demands in your life at the same
time (mature students)
Balancing work and leisure activities
Problem Solving Skills
Project / dissertation
Personal experience examples e.g. having wal et stolen on holiday and
managing to get home
Voluntary work / work experience
Decision Making Skills
Decision on course options
Examples as in leadership and management section
Any examples when you have had to make and important decision under
pressure and reasons as to why you made the right choices
Element of degree course
Work experience – sales / bar work / accounts
Word processing for projects, work, essays
Entering and analysing data for academic work
Creative writing (articles, stories, poems)
Performing (acting, music, dance, verse recital)
Artistic (graphics, painting, photography)
Organisation and Planning Skills
Academic project work / research work
Exam revision / assignment deadline
Interest – planning and organising holiday / travel arrangements
Examples from management and leadership
Lab work / field work / project work
Holiday jobs / Guides or Scouts
Managing to balance requirements of work with other interests
Meeting deadlines on work assignments
Achievements of personal goals, giving up smoking, keeping weight down,
exercise routine, turning up to evening classes
Coping with study and family commitments
Putting time aside for a specific activity in order to achieve something
Ability to Work Independently
Self directed study – language / music / IT / extra qualification
Interest / hobby – something you’ve done successful y on your own – e.g.
published articles, model buildings, piece of research, travel ing on your own
Work experience / voluntary work
Showing enough commitment to achieve at a chosen activity
Devoting energy to sports, clubs, societies or individual interests
Physical, mental, emotional
Seeing a demanding project through to completion
Coping with long hours of work or study
Coping with competing demands
Success in studies / projects
Evidence that you have planned a career route over a number of years with
evidence of relevant experience gained
Management of family commitments and study under a difficult circumstances
Success in studies / projects
Evidence that you have researched the career progression route
Interest in training and continuing personal development
Qualifications obtained outside academic study
Relevant work experience
Capable of Hard Work
Success in academic field
Combining study with family commitments / voluntary work / part time or open
Self – directed study
Vacation work – demanding physical y – time consuming
Science / research / project / approach to general studies
Computer skil s
Some leisure pursuits / hobbies – model building, research work, conservation
Leadership / Responsibility
Evidence of trustworthiness
Any of the above where you took charge or had responsibility
Chair / secretary of any group / committee
Any example where you have been the spokesperson
Any supervisory or management experience in vacation work or work placement
Entrusted with funds / equipment / property
Examples of community responsibility e.g. children, special needs
Most of the examples under Oral Communication
Being able to successful y relate to a wide range of people – work experience /
voluntary work / leisure
Coping easily with a position of leadership or management
Examples can be drawn from travel abroad or in this country – generally coping
on your won with demanding situation
CV Profile Content
Who you are!
A Human Resource Specialist
An Experienced Plasterer
What type of person!
What are you offering?
What do you want?
Development within the Company
Skil s to be chal enged
All above points to Justify the Abilities and Skills
Where did these attributes come from?
How did you get them? Ie. Communication during my employment with Jones &
Never leave a skil hanging
Which leads the reader on to your Experience or Qualifications
But if the documents worded correctly, the reader has been thinking back and fore.
Experience and qualifications can be sectioned in the order dictated by the Advert.
In YOUR order of importance.
If speculative place them in YOUR order of importance based on research.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR CV MORE POWERFUL?
Having decided on your format, the words you use in your CV need to be chosen
careful y ….
Find the Right Words
Your aim is to suggest to your potential employer the benefits of employing you!
Choose words with a strong impact which wil convey your ability to achieve. The best
words to use are ACTION WORDS which give a sense of participation, involvement
ACTION WORDS sound like this :
Avoid ‘lead in’ phrases such as “My duties included …” or “I was in charge of the
section which …..”.
Start straight in with the precise ACTION WORDS and benefits, e.g. “Organised a
charity event, which raised over £600”.
Whenever possible try to use an Accomplishment Orientated CV rather than one
which is purely Information Orientated, e.g:
a. Information Orientated
“I was assistant to the editor of the Students Union newspaper where I was
involved in handling day to day issues and general queries as wel as in printing
and distribution arrangements. I also prepared the agenda for meetings and
b. Accomplishment Orientated
“As Assistant Editor of Students Union newspaper, organised printing and
distribution, using new outlets which increased sales by 10%. Handled queries,
day to day problems and organised agenda and minutes of editors meetings.”
Both sets of data are valid but the second transmits the feeling of action and something
Accomplishments statements are much better for sel ing you.
CHOOSING THE FORMAT / LAYOUT OF YOUR CV
THERE ARE A VARIETY OF WAYS OF ORGANISING YOUR CV, DEPENDING ON
THE IMPACT YOU WISH TO MAKE:
Traditional y the most widely used and easiest to write, but can lack
Jobs are listed chronological y starting with the most recent – (which
usually occupies the most space).
Dates of employment given first, fol owed by name of employer, job title
and accomplishments in that job.
Easiest to prepare
It emphasises a steady education / employment record.
It starkly reveals serious gaps in study or employment
It can put emphasis on job / study areas you prefer to ignore
It makes it more difficult to highlight particular areas of skil s and
This style of CV categorises your work into specific categories of experience or
skil that you wish to highlight for a specific job target.
Employers increasingly like to see a CV with focus and impact
It stresses selected areas of accomplishment which you feel are most
It can help to camouflage gaps in your work / study record and to play
down items you wish to de-emphasise.
COMBINATION OF FUNCTIONAL / CHRONOLOIGAL STYLES
This format begins with a short ‘career statement’ or ‘profile’ followed by a list of
‘key skil s’ or capabilities’ to which you particularly wish to draw an employers
attention – thereby creating an impact in the first paragraph!
THE STRUCTURE OF THE CV
There are some traditions and expectations about the structure of CV’s, but is more
important that you develop a structure of your own, which shows off you and your
talents to their best advantage. There are no rules on CV’s only general principles –
about layout, contents, etc. – so feel free to experiment.
The traditional structure properly known as ‘tombstone’ is as fol ows :-
Marital Status / Children
Interest / Health
Employment History (in chronological order)
We have not found this structure as successful as :-
Career Statement or Profile
Careers and Achievements to Date (in reverse chronological order) Last – First
Professional Qualifications and Training
We think this structure achieves more interviews because it delivers information to the
potential employer in the order that it is required to make the decision whether of not to
interview, because employers are more concerned with your most recent experience /
training – not what you did two years ago.
Employers are going to be more interested in what you can do in terms of skil s and
experience before you can tell them how old you are or indeed what your interests are.
We advocate, for those with recognised and job-related qualification, that these are put
after the individual’s name, on the basis that the employer can see immediately that
you are a graduate or that you enjoy an appropriate professional qualification. The
education section can then go after your career because the reader already knows
what you have achieved in this area, (except in the case of recent graduates).
15 Buckingham Gardens, Highwood, London E8 1AJ
0171 923 3456
Date of Birth:
4th April 1960 (no longer necessary)
Place of Birth:
Norbury, South London
Aged 10 – Girl
Aged 14 – Boy
Owner / Driver
Music / Photographer / Film Making / Mountaineering /
GCSE Levels. English Language, English Literature, Mathematics,
Science and Technical Drawing
Ordinary National Certificate (OND) Electronic and General Engineering
(Sutton Col ege)
Apprenticeship with Kent Transformers Limited with part sandwich degree
course at N. E. L. Polytechnic
Digital Electronics Engineering Course, High Power Ltd., London
Analogue Date Analysis Short Course, Johnson Ltd., Frimley
Date Signal Processing Seminar, Monologic Limited
Management Training Course XXX Ltd. (Brighton)