A well-laid-out CV is integral to a successful application as it is the first point of contact you will have with your potential employer – it’s where you will express yourself, your skills, experience, and your education. Here are some key techniques to follow:
Clarity and Conciseness: Your CV should be clear and concise. Use bullet points to list information and avoid lengthy paragraphs. Be specific and to the point.
Contact Information: Include your full name, phone number, email address, and location. Make sure this information is up to date and professional.
Professional Summary/Objective: Write a brief statement at the beginning that summarizes your career goals, skills, and what you bring to the table. Tailor it to the specific job you're applying for.
Relevance: Tailor your CV for each job application. Highlight skills and experiences that are most relevant to the specific job you're applying for.
Work Experience: List your work experience in reverse chronological order (most recent job first). Include your job title, company name, dates of employment, and a concise description of your responsibilities and achievements. Use action verbs to describe your accomplishments.
Achievements and Responsibilities: Focus on quantifiable achievements, such as increased sales, successful projects, or cost savings. Use specific examples to demonstrate your impact.
Education: Include your educational background, including the name of the institution, degree earned, graduation date, and relevant coursework or honours.
Skills: Highlight both hard and soft skills that are relevant to the job. Include technical skills, languages, certifications, and any other relevant abilities.
Keywords: Incorporate industry-specific keywords related to the job you're applying for. Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan CVs for relevant keywords.
Formatting: Use a clean and professional format. Use a consistent font, appropriate font size (usually 10-12 pt), and proper margins. Use bold or italics sparingly for emphasis.
White Space: Don't overcrowd your CV. Leave enough white space for easy readability.
Proofreading: Thoroughly proofread your CV for grammar and spelling errors. Typos can leave a negative impression on employers.
Honesty: Be truthful about your skills and experiences. Embellishing or falsifying information can have negative consequences if discovered.
Additional Sections: Depending on your experience, you might include sections like "Volunteer Work," "Projects," "Publications," or "Professional Memberships."
References: It's generally not necessary to include references on your CV. You can mention that references are available upon request.
Length: Aim for a CV length of one to two pages, especially for early-career professionals. More experienced individuals might have longer CVs, but it's important to prioritise relevancy.
Customisation: Tailor your CV for each application. Highlight experiences and skills that align with the specific job description.
Online Presence: Include a link to your LinkedIn profile or a personal website/portfolio if relevant.
Remember, your CV is a snapshot of your professional self, and it's often the first impression you make on potential employers. By following these techniques, you can create a compelling and effective CV that increases your chances of landing an interview.
In the employment section of your CV be sure to include the ‘to’ and ‘from’ dates for every place of employment and a few bullet points explaining your main responsibilities at each one. You don’t need to list every responsibility as these will be covered in further detail should you make it to the interview stage.
Similarly to the employment section of your CV, the education section should include all your qualifications, starting with the most current. Follow this with any extra-curricular achievements and training courses you feel will enhance your CV. If IT skills are pertinent to the role you’re applying for list these out too and include how advanced you are with each of them.
The personal section is for any hobbies or interests you have. List all of these, even if they aren’t relevant to the role. They will give the employer an idea of who you are as a person and how you might fit into their team socially.
Below you’ll find an example CV template for you to use. Its simple and clear layout is easy to use and will help to highlight your skills and experience within the pharmaceutical or life sciences industries. If you’re applying for a creative role there is more scope to let your creativity flow by using your CV more like an online portfolio of your work.
We have broken down our guidance into different topics, please visit the following pages for more detailed help on how to write, update or redesign your CV: