A CV is a marketing tool to attract future employers and secure an interview. It is therefore essential to have a well-presented CV that highlights your skills and achievements.
Your language should be professional and skills focussed. Where possible, avoid simply writing a list of duties. Rather, highlight the skills you have developed that are specific to the role, as well as any transferrable skills, as this will have greater impact.
CVs should be clear, easy to read and have a consistent style throughout. Use of headings and a clear font will enable you to highlight key pieces of information to an employer. A CV should be two pages of A4, however there are occasionally exceptions: a longer CV for Academic roles, a one page Resume if requested by the employer.
Our online Career Centre provides a guide to writing your CV. Log in through My Career Hub using your Student ID and password:
All CVs must contain:
Career Centre provides a tutorial on how to structure your CV. Log in through My Career Hub using your Student ID and password:
The CV Builder tool in Career Centre will guide you in creating the basis of a great CV. Log in through My Career Hub using your Student ID and password.
NEW! CV360 is a tool that automatically checks your CV, provides instant feedback and an overall score. Log in through My Career Hub using your Student ID and password.
Selecting the right type of CV to highlight your skills and experience is important. The type of CV you use may differ depending on the job you apply for and your work experience so far.
The Propects website provides examples of different types of CV.
A covering letter should be no more than one side of A4. As this is often the first document the employer reads (prior to reading your CV), this is your opportunity to link your personal skills and attributes to the key attributes the employer is seeking. Focus on why you want to work for the company, why the job appeals to you and why you are the right candidate for the role.
See the module on how to write a cover letter to supplement your CV or application on Career Centre. Log in through My Career Hub using your Student ID and password:
Attend a CV and Covering Letter workshop on campus to learn the difference between OK and winning CVs. Look out for the next workshop in the list of events advertised on My Career Hub.
When you have something on paper, bring it to a Careers Application and CV Drop-In. Check your faculty careers page for dates and times.
Employers use application forms to collect evidence that you are able to do the job, you want the job, and that you fit with the organisation’s ethos and values. Many application forms are available to download from the company’s website. You will be asked to submit some applications via email and others via an online portal.
Although there is no standard application form structure, they will usually begin by requiring you to complete your personal details, education and work history, followed by questions which demonstrate your suitability for the role, a blank-page person specification format, or both.
An application will usually finish by asking you to supply one to three referees to vouch for key qualities that are associated with the role.
There is no definite structure to an application form. Some may differ depending on the employer and the role. An application will usually begin by requiring you to complete your personal details, education and work history. Followed by questions which demonstrate your suitability for the role, a blank page person specification format, or both. An application will usually finish by asking you to supply one to three referees to vouch for your key qualities that are associated with the role.
Information such as your name, home address and contact details.
Your educational achievements and qualifications to see if you meet the basic educational requirements of the job. You may also have to state your employment history as well as providing a brief overview of your duties/responsibilities in each job.
Employers will want to see how you have gained the key skills they would like the ideal candidate to have. This is often the most complex aspect of an application form as it requires careful thinking and consideration. You will want to make sure you are showcasing your most valuable experiences to the employer as well as giving evidence and answering the question effectively.
A person specification is a breakdown of qualities and skills that a candidate must possess and an employer deems essential to carry out the job effectively. Most person specifications are advertised alongside the main job description of the role.
Person specifications often include desirable criteria. It is not essential that you have to meet desirable criteria for a role but if you do feel you have the desirable skills required then you should include this, as employers will often shortlist on desirable criteria if the standard of applications is high.
See the Application Planning module on MMyou Careers Centre to understand the purpose of an application form, what employers are looking for and how to tailor your application. Log in through My Career Hub using your Student ID and password:
We review each opportunity we advertise to ensure that, as far as is reasonably possible, jobs are genuine and lawful.
We act in good faith that statements supplied by the employing organisations are accurate and truthful. However, you must take responsibility for your own decisions when applying for or accepting any job opportunity, wherever it is advertised.
Visit the SAFERjobs website for information on common scams and to get free, expert advice for a safer job search.
When making applications:
Is it easy to get information about the company? Be wary of those that appear to operate purely from a web site, mobile or premium rate number (e.g. those beginning with 0845), PO Box number or a personal account.
Opportunities that require further investigation are those that:
Are the opportunities on offer presented professionally with correct use of English, spelling and grammar?
Are the following details offered: A full job description, including the skills and qualifications required, together with the proposed wage, working hours and dates of employment.
Watch out for:
Further advice can be found at:
Online information is open to everyone, so ensure you put personal security settings in place.
On your CV, only provide your mobile phone number and professional e-mail and/or web site URL.
Never include your date of birth or any financial or national insurance details.
For further guidance on CVs visit the Jobs Hub Drop-in, between 1pm and 4pm, Monday to Friday in the Employability Hub (Business School), for advice on your CV.
Many students and graduates take up internships as they are a great way to gain work experience, as well as a major route into employment with a company.
Some internships are advertised as unpaid, even though you may be required to work.
Unless there are specific legal exemptions, the National Minimum Wage should be paid.
Please access My Career Hub to search for internships, work experience, placements and work shadowing opportunities.
You may be keen to pick up freelance work before graduating to develop your portfolio.
It is important that you establish a contract for each assignment that will guarantee you get paid for the work you do and that any intellectual property you create remains yours.
If you post samples of your work online, take steps to ensure that unscrupulous visitors to your web site are not given an easy opportunity to copy your work and pass it off as theirs!
For further information see:
Although these can provide valuable experience, any work placement abroad needs extra attention as employment law and local customs will be very different to the UK and access to support and advice abroad may be very difficult.
For further information refer to:
In the first instance, try to resolve issues with your employer.
If this fails, Careers staff will refer you to further sources of advice.
Or you can use the Citizens Advice Bureau who also offer initial advice online.