Write a winning CV and covering letter
Did you know that employers typically spend under ten seconds initially reviewing a CV?
Do you think your CV will impress in this time? It is really important to spend time putting together your CV before you apply for a job or a place on a postgraduate course. Each time you apply for a different position you need to modify the document so that it is tailored for the role.
Employers often highlight what they are looking for in a ‘person specification’ or ‘entry requirements’ section; you should pay close attention to this and research the role and organisation so you can match yourself to the organisation’s requirements. Always ensure that you address any skills and attributes required for the position in your application using clear examples.
Different types of CVs
If you have plenty of relevant work experience you should use the chronological or traditional CV format, as this style draws attention to your relevant experience, which you list on the first page. Within this section you should provide an overview of key responsibilities but more importantly you should highlight any achievements. For example, did you take on extra responsibilities or gain a promotion? Did you meet or exceed targets? Did you find an effective solution to a problem? Can you demonstrate how you offered excellent customer service and gained good feedback? Highlight the skills developed in these roles as well, especially those required for the post you’re applying for.
If your experience is lacking or you are changing career path, you may want to use a skills-based CV. Within the ‘skills profile’ on the first page, you should outline relevant skills required for the role. By drawing on examples from work, university and extra-curricular activities you can demonstrate that you have what the employer is looking for. You still include employment information, but can list this more briefly, perhaps on the second page.
If you have some experience but this is fairly limited, a combination of the two styles may work best to enable you to highlight experience and skills in separate sections.
I had barely changed my CV since school so having the Careers Team available to help create a professional CV was a huge help. Having an up-to-date and polished CV makes you feel more confident going into the job market.
I went to the Careers Zone and arranged an appointment with one of the Employability Advisers. I took my CV and covering letter to the meeting alongside a print out of the job specification for the internship I was applying for. They helped me tailor my CV in a way that was better suited to the specific role and my past experience, which helped me secure my internship.
Student should access the support provided by the Careers Team to help them prepare CVs and applications. The Adviser reviewed my CV and suggested changes. It will really improve your chances of getting a placement or graduate job.
Help and support available to you:
One to one support in the Careers Zone
If you are unsure of your options after you graduate, you can speak to a Careers Adviser to discuss which sectors and opportunities may best suit you, and our Employability Advisers can help you ace your applications for a range of graduate positions. To book an appointment, call into a Careers Zone or phone us on 0151 231 2048/3719.
Throughout the academic year, we run a number of events to help you understand your job options in the graduate labour market, from our workshops and webinars on graduate schemes and the hidden job market to a range of employer talks and fairs. Keep an eye on our events website and get networking!
We run a range of careers fairs throughout the academic year, giving the chance to meet and engage with graduate employers and get information about career paths and opportunities. Most of the events are open to students from any degree programme so even if it doesn’t appear to be aimed at you, you never know who you might meet and what options may become available. Keep an eye on our events website for details!
Download our career mini guides
Download our guides on ‘graduate schemes’ and ‘the hidden job market’ for further information from the resources page.