CVs are one of the primary means of submitting an application to an employer. They are also used to apply for placements and for some postgraduate courses. They are often your first chance to make a good impression. Recruiters receive a lot of CVs, and will typically spend just 5 seconds looking at a CV and making a decision. Your CV needs to stand out for all the right reasons.

A focused, well-presented CV will grab the reader's attention and make them want to find out more about you. A poor CV could mean no interview and no further chance for you to impress anyone.  

Try using our CV Builder Software [current Sheffield Hallam students only]. You can also find out more in Careers Connect, where you can book a CV check appointment or attend a CV workshop. If you think your CV is ready for a quick check come along to one of our daily drop-in sessions. There's no reason not to make your CV the best it can be!

Start your CV

There are various types of CVs and you can find specific information about creating impactful versions of each on the follow pages - just click the one (or one's!) you are looking to create:

There's no one-template-fits-all perfect way to construct your CV but here are our Top Ten Tips for producing a CV that will get you noticed for all the right reasons.

1. Target your CV

Responding to an advertised vacancy? Tailor your CV to show that you meet the employer's requirements. Read the job description/person specification (if provided by the employer).  

No advert? Research the sector and the employer to work out the key skills that they are looking for. Make an appointment with an adviser if you need help with this. Recruiters can easily spot if you've used the same CV for multiple applications to different companies. 

2. Start with your name

Don't put Curriculum Vitae at the head of the page - it should be obvious what the document is! Ensure that your name features prominently at the start of the CV.

3. Prioritise important information

A number of surveys have suggested that the average recruiter spends only five-seven seconds making an initial assessment of your CV. Make sure that the most important information is featured prominently.

4. Concise and clear

Generally, employers will be expecting to see no more than two pages. Ensure your language is clear and to-the-point. This is particularly important if you decide to use a career objective or summary at the start of your CV. An overlong summary or objective can make you sound unfocused.

5. Give evidence

Always back up your claims. If you're claiming to have a skill then back up your claims with supporting evidence. Give examples that demonstrate your skills, if you're not sure how to do this take a look at the example CV on this page.

6. Double check for errors

Ensure that your CV is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Get someone else to read your application before you press send.  Remember a spellchecker will not pick up errors such as using 'form' when you meant to write 'from'

7. Layout

Use appropriate headings to make the information clear and readable.

8. Use action words

Action words can add interest to your CV. See our list of action words.

9. Mind the gap

Are there any gaps on your CV? Perhaps you changed course or have taken a break from employment due to other commitments? If you're unsure about how to express this on your CV then book an appointment with one of our advisers.

10. Update and review

Your CV should be up-to-date, accurately reflect your most current experience and be tailored to the position you're applying for. Don't use a CV that you created to apply for a part-time job in your first year to apply for a graduate position in your final year. Remember advisers are available to review your application.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 15:04