How to make the most out of your CV

Your CV is the first snapshot an employer has of you as a professional candidate, so it is important your CV stands out. Employers not only want to hear what you have done but also what you have learnt. They want to hear how you will use those skills and how you will achieve the best end-results.

Here are some tips on how to make the most of your experiences and achievements in your CV.

Tip 1: Be active

Get involved and start early! 

If you haven’t been doing so already, use your years at university wisely. They are many ways for students to get involved and to develop their personal portfolio. 

Alongside the Harry Potter and Pizza-lovers society, make sure to join a group that relates to your field of interest. If your degree is health related, join the first aid society, if you love writing, join the poetry society. If you want to work in a lab, ask your lecturers if there is any research you can get involved in. 

Volunteer in your spare time or try and get a part-time job. Working 8 hours on the weekend will not only provide you with some extra pounds in your pocket, but will also help you gain some valuable work skills.

Are they any internships you can take during the holidays or summer placements that you can apply for. These types of roles are great as they mean you are involved directly in the related field and you can gain valuable hands-on experience.

Tip 2: ‘I have no skills’.

If you are under the impression you have no skills, do not fret, we all have a number of skills that we have learned through our everyday lives. 

You don’t have to do anything extravagant, employers don’t just want to hear about what you did, but how you evolved from that task, what you learnt, how will you implement it in the future? For example, did you ever train for a marathon, volunteer with a local charity, volunteered abroad, master the piano, become head of a society? Did you ever have a part time job, babysit on the weekend or maybe you tutored students in the holidays?

Whatever it may be, each of these examples can be used to show off a different aspect of your personality!

Tip 3: Apply your skills

Think about how you can use your experience in the working world. 

For example, being head of a society can show responsibility and leadership or training for a marathon can show self-motivation and dedication. Talk about what you achieved through this task and how this has helped you become a more skilled worker. Use this to your advantage and make sure to describe exactly how this will help you complete your future work tasks. 

Tip 4: Be concise

In your application you want to show you have the best skill set for that SPECIFIC job. Do they require someone who is a team worker and practical, how can you demonstrate your problem-solving skills and initiative?

The most important thing is to include the key skills and characteristics that will MOST suit the role you are applying for. Choose your examples carefully and focus on those that the employer requires or that will be most helpful in the job. 

Take a good look at the skills they want and show them why you stand out from the crowd. 

Give only a brief description of the role and focus more on what you achieved from this.

Tip 5: Organise yourself

Make sure you are aware of when different applications are live, when they close and what they require. 

Write a list of the key skills needed beside each job you are applying for and make sure to include examples of them in your application. Talk about what you achieved and how this will help you in your job role. 

Keep a handy table of key skills in your documents. When you are applying for jobs you can easily pull up the document and include the skills the employer requires. 

Click here for an example you can use as a template. 

Tip 6: Believe in yourself

This may seem like a cliché but the power of positive thinking is real. Be confident, if you have met the employer’s requirements then you already have the knowledge needed to excel in this role. To persuade your future boss you are the best person for the job, you need to believe you are too! 

Post by Maryam Tashfeen.

Maryam Tashfeen was raised in North East England and is a fourth year medical student at Medical University Pleven, as well as a former student at the University of Bradford. She has previously held work-experience roles in a number of different countries, including England, Bulgaria and Jordan. Currently, alongside her studies she works within the retail sector and volunteers for a number of great charities. Through a combination of her personal journey as a student and her experience in the working world, she can provide you with great insight into all things relating to student life, jobs and careers.