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Get a Sizzlin’ CV
Show the Cambridgeshire creative industry that you’re hot stuff with a smokin’ CV! Your professional CV is a summary of your educational and employment history and provides a record of your key achievements. It’s a self-marketing tool so it’s worth investing time and effort into creating something that will increase your chances of getting a fabulous job.
Writing your CV
Personal details - Make it very easy for people to get in touch with you; put your name and contact details at the top of the CV.
Career objective - Write a short paragraph outlining your chosen career, why you’ve chosen it and what you want to achieve.
Education - Most CVs are written in reverse chronological order: you’re latest course comes first, followed by previous education. As long as you include secondary, further and higher education you can leave out primary school. Also include the full name and location of your school, college, university, as well as course titles and grades.
Employment – Start with your latest job and work back; add the name of the company, the job title and the start and finish dates. Including unpaid work experience or internships shows employers that you’re a self-starter!
- It’s essential to highlight what value you brought to a company. For instance, don’t just list your tasks as a graphic designer, mention your successes. Did your work impress a client so much that they gave the agency more business? Did you provide a company with new skills that added to their services?
Other skills and achievements - What else have you achieved outside work and education? Here’s where you include activities such as sport that shows team work, leadership skills, drive and focus to your potential boss.
- You can also mention any other personal interests that would provide a great conversation point such as a recent visit to the latest hot exhibition or a high profile industry event in London.
Referees - Include names and contact details of previous employers or lecturers who are willing to provide a reference.
- Fill the gaps - If you have gaps in your education or work history, briefly explain them (e.g. a few months out for volunteering or travel).
Keep it short and sweet...and professional
- Keep the CV to two pages! The person reading it will probably have lots of others to review on top of their usual workload, so make it quick and easy for them.
- When you’ve finished writing your CV, ask someone to proofread it. This is particularly useful if you find self-editing difficult or if you’ve been working on it for some time and need a fresh perspective. And always check your CV each time you send it out.
- Use a clear and consistent design and layout – no fancy fonts, page borders or graphics! Even if you do think it looks amazing it could work against you. Save your creativity for your portfolio.
Tailoring your CV
It does take a little bit of extra effort, but tailoring your CV according to a job description can help you get through to the next stage. Delete any information that isn’t relevant such as skills or achievements that don’t demonstrate that you can do the job you’re applying for.
The accompanying cover letter (or email) must also be customised. Its content needs to reflect that you’ve done the research and that you’re very focused on a particular company and the role. For instance, you could refer to a recent or forthcoming project run by the company. Employers know immediately if you’ve taken the easy route and sent the same letter to different companies, so don’t take that risk.
When will you use it?
- When responding to a job advert you generally send your CV with an application letter or email according to the deadline.
- Speculative (or on-spec) applications can be successful too, so when you write to a company enquiring about opportunities include your CV.
Either way, take the advice mentioned above and always customise your CV and cover letter!
Also, if you go networking or meet someone informally for a coffee, take your CV. It’s a great opportunity to have someone’s full attention for a short time - don’t waste it!
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