As we all know, it is vital to have a good CV and cover letter writing skills, however gaining these skills is another matter entirely, especially as employers expect them to be tailored individually for each job that you apply for. This can be frustrating, however this workshop gave me a clear idea of what employers expect as well as some key tips that should be followed to ensure the biggest chance of success.

Writing a CV

What to include:

Personal details

  • Name, address, contact number and email address
  • Do not include date of birth

Education

  • Write it in reverse chronological order
  • Minimal mention of secondary education,
  • Mention dissertation/final year project and discuss other relevant qualifications

Employment and work experience

  • Focus on skills gained during employment period even if previous employment is irrelevant to the role you are applying for- skills are transferable and employers like to see what has been learned.

Interests 

  • State what separates you from other applicants- show that you are interesting outside of the workplace.
  • Avoid putting things such as ‘socialising’- employers may take that as code for ‘drinking’!

References

  • Have 2 references
  • One should be a past employer and the second should be an academic, such as a personal tutor

Layout

  • A CV should be no more than two pages of A4 in length
  • Be formal- avoid gimmicks as employers may see it as being unprofessional
  • Layout should be simple

Cover Letter

Like a CV, a cover letter is tailored to the employer that you are applying for and should expand on what you talk about in your CV.

It is best to be formal when writing a cover letter and address the cover letter to someone, for example “Dear Mrs Smith” compared with “To whomever it may concern” sounds more professional and personal.

Positives should be focused on and really expanded upon- you are trying to sell yourself to the employer after all.

Cover letters are usually no longer than a page of A4.

My thoughts

I found this workshop to be really helpful when it came to explaining the structure of a CV, what should be included and how to write a cover letter. I was able to use the skills I gained to get a seasonal job that I attend in the holidays to allow me to gain some experience of what it is like in the workplace.

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