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How to help your CV stand out to potential employers

How to help your CV stand out to potential employers

A CV is the first impression you give to your potential next employer. It needs to be clear, concise and honest, and getting these key aspects into your CV are essential to your application process.

The built environment still remains as one of the most in-demand sectors in the United Kingdom, meaning there is lots of opportunities for potential roles for you as an employee, and lots of employers to impress with your CV.

An effective CV helps you demonstrate your level of ability and competence for any open job roles you have applied for. It is the summary of your background, achievements, experience and skills, and it’s vital that you create the best CV you can to give yourself the best opportunity to stand out from other applicants.

There are different types of CV. It’s a personal preference as to what format you decide works best for you. Here are some example CV formats:

  • Chronological CV – this is the most common type of CV. List professional experience in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent experience appears first
  • Functional CV – focus on skills and qualifications, and are useful for graduates
  • Hybrid CV – hybrid CV’s combine elements of both aforementioned CV types. They allow you to choose the sections of your experience you feel suit the role you are applying for.

What to include

  • Personal Details – full name, home address, telephone numbers (mobile and landline if applicable) and email address should be where you begin your CV, and should be clearly displayed at the top. Other areas such as your date of birth is optional. By adding these details, this immediately gives your prospective employers different ways of contacting you.
  • Professional Summary/Personal Statement – a few sentences about your background, career intentions and how this particular job role suits you as a person. This usually appears at the top of your CV below your contact details, and it will be the first thing your employer reads. Ensure it is quick, but also leaves a positive first impression on them.
  • Employment History – one of the main sections of your CV, giving your employers an indication if you hold the experience, skills and competencies required to work in their advertised position. List all of your previous roles, including more details of your responsibilities within roles that hold more relevance to the role you are applying for. For example, if you have applied for a role in construction, a role you held in a different industry (such as a bartender or sales assistant in retail) will hold little to no relevance to this role, and will waste space on your CV. Ensure they are still included, as this will help your next potential employer to understand your full career journey. This guarantees anyone reading your CV gets the best impression of your relevant experience. Also, If you have taken any career breaks (travelling, maternity leave etc.), ensure you explain this area of your career fully. When writing your employment history, ensure you include your job title, place of employment, period of employment, main responsibilities and any achievements whilst within the role. 
  • Education, Qualifications and Competencies – another opportunity to demonstrate your experience and competence. List your qualifications with the most recent area of study completed. Then head backwards into your education history. As you progress through your career, if you hold higher education, such as a Master’s or Doctorate, previous qualifications such as GCSE’s become less likely to be listed on CV’s. However, it is still important to list GCSE’s in key areas such as English, Mathematics and Sciences. When listing your education history, include your institution, dates of study and your qualification title(s) and classification.
  •  Relevant Skills and Achievements – the final section of your CV; you can showcase any particular areas of personal achievement you feel are beneficial to showcasing your personality traits.

In summary, your CV is a key component to place yourself in the best position to succeed in your application. Ensure you check your CV for any spelling mistakes, get a friend to read it over and make sure it’s printable for employers to bring into your interview with you.

And finally, ensure you are honest. Honesty from the outset is to building trust and credibility with your potential new employer, and this will aid you throughout your career within the built environment.