How to Write an Award Winning CV

Your CV is designed to do one thing – get you an interview with a prospective employer. It’s your chance to show an employer you’ve got the skills and experience they need, and that you’re the right person for the job.

Whether you’re writing your very first CV or updating your existing one, Retail & Fashion Jobs will help you create the right CV and help you get the right layout too. Browse the CV advice below to find out how to sell your strengths and get those all important interviews.

Your Personal Details

You should include your name, address and contact details including email address. It’s up to you whether you include your age, marital status and nationality. Recruiters should be able to make a decision about your skills and abilities without this information.

Your Personal Profile

Your personal profile should be a summary of your:

  • Skills and qualities
  • Work background and achievements
  • Career aspirations

It should be 5-8 lines long and must grab the reader’s attention. For example, if the job involves working with people, you could say you’re a good team-player and an effective communicator. Be brief as you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.

Key Skills

Your ‘Key Skills’ section is arguably the most important part of your CV to employers. Clearly, transferable and job-related skills are the most desirable to include in your CV. Be sure to include the ones that will help you stand out. Here is a list of skills that are particularly popular with employers:

  • Teamwork
  • Initiative
  • Problem solving
  • Flexibility
  • Communication
  • Technical skills
  • Computer skills

Employment History and Work Experience

If you’ve been working for a while, you could put your employment history first. If you don’t have much work experience, you might like to highlight your education and training.

In this section you should start with your present or most recent job and work backwards. You should include employer, the dates you worked for them, job title and your main duties. Provide more detail on the relevant jobs you’ve had and the responsibilities.

Please note that this section should be in a bullet point format. It should also include any achievements gained in your roles. This is essential!

Avoid unexplained gaps in your employment history. If you had time out travelling, job seeking, volunteering or caring for a relative, include this as a separate entry along with details of what you’ve learned.

Education and Training

Start with your most recent qualifications and work back to the ones you got at school. Using bullet points include:

  • The university, college or school you went to
  • The dates the qualifications were awarded and grades achieved
  • Any work-related courses, if they’re relevant

Interests

You can include hobbies, interests and achievements that maybe relevant to the job. For example, if you’re involved in any clubs or societies this can show that you enjoy meeting new people. Try to avoid putting activities like cooking or reading, as these activities are too general and widespread to be of interest to an employer. Make them specific and interesting!

Additional Information

Include other relevant skills here, such as if you have a driving license or can speak any foreign languages.

References

Ideally, references should be work related and be your line manager. Or, if you haven’t worked for a while, you could use another responsible person who has known you for some time. You can list your referees on your CV or just put ‘references available on request’. If you decide to include their details you should state the relationship of each referee to you – for example ‘Phil Jones, HR Manager’.

Mistakes to Avoid!- Mistakes to Avoid

  • Never date a CV, like you might a letter.
  • Don't include irrelevant personal details, such as date of birth, nationality or photograph.
  • Don't mention salaries; what you've had and/or what you expect.
  • Never put a 'reason for leaving' in your employment history.
  • Don't lie.
  • Don't organise your employment or education in reverse chronological format. Start with the most recent first.
  •  Avoid mentioning every single job you've had; only include relevant or important roles.

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