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CVs for Taught Masters Students

Booklets produced by Careers & Employability 50 Park Place. Booklets sponsored by

, n o i t a m r o f n I Careers ice v d A & t r o p p Su

Help ur ques o y r e w s n a ing to tions

Introduction ........................................................................................................ Essential Preparation. Identify your Evidence Who are you writing your CV for?......................................................................... Create a professional first impression Getting the format right.. International CVs. International Students. On Line CVs. Mature Students CVs. Disabled Students CVs.. Covering Letters ................................................................................................. Additional Resources ......................................................................................... Appendix 1 Sample CVs ................................................................................. 1 1 2 2 3 3 5 5 5 6 6 7 8 9

Further Help

A curriculum vitae (course of life) outlines your career and qualifications to date however, it shouldnt be just a list of what youve done - it should demonstrate your suitability for a particular job and company. The purpose of a CV is to get you to interview. Sent to an employer either speculatively or in response to an advertisement, your CV should entice an employer to want to meet you in person. In short, a CV is a marketing tool, an advert and YOU are the product. This is a short guide to developing your CV, focusing on applying for jobs using your specialist knowledge, applying for academic jobs, and jobs unrelated to your subject area, in the UK. For information on non-UK CV formats (each country differs), consult the reference books at the Careers and Employability Centre which may help.

Regardless of the type of position you are applying for, researching as much as possible about the employer and the role will help you to make your CV more targeted. Targeting is vital without it your CV can look unfocused and runs the risk of heading straight into the reject pile. Employers can spot a generic CV and will not be impressed if you havent bothered to tailor your CV to their organisation. Preparation is a key factor. You must find out as much as you can about the organisation and the employer's needs. You also need to spend time researching yourself in order to highlight your most recent and relevant examples of your ability to do the job. 1. Research yourself Think about what you can offer the employer what have you done? When? Why? Catalogue your achievements consider your academic work, Masters dissertation, work experience, voluntary work, social and sporting activities Identify the skills you have developed through your achievements

2. Research the employer Make sure you know what the organisation actually does Try to find out about new developments, expansion plans, new products/services, awards won, achievements, press releases, research interests Study employers website which may include employment/careers information and information about the organisations products/services/courses Speak to people who know the employer/have worked for the organisation. This is a particularly useful way of finding out about the culture of an organisation, and what the employer values in its employees

3. Research the job Read the job description and person specification, know the skills required for the job and try to demonstrate that you have these on your CV Check company website for further job details Speak to people doing similar jobs


When you have completed your research, its time to start selecting your best examples which demonstrate your suitability for the job. Employers are increasingly interested in your skills in addition to your formal qualifications. On your CV you should ensure that you highlight the skills which the employer is looking for. Make sure you have good examples and concrete evidence. Remember that evidence of your skills can come from any aspect of your life, not just your academic study. Dont dismiss your part time work - working in a bar for example provides opportunities for you to demonstrate tact, diplomacy, persuasion and assertiveness. Teamwork or leadership can be shown whilst rock climbing, playing in an orchestra or organising fundraising events as a student volunteer, but remember that evidence from your school days is long past its sell by date by now.


Your CV will work best when it demonstrates the ways in which you meet the person specification. This means that you will need to write different CVs for different types of jobs, even for different employers. Here are some broad suggestions: For jobs using your specialist subject focus on your subject specific achievements, ability to deliver end results, your education, any projects and resources managed, relevant techniques and knowledge, and skills such as team work, problem-solving and creativity. For academic jobs Focus on your subject-specific achievements and education, your past, current and future research interests, any teaching and anything to demonstrate your research skills and methods applied in your dissertation. For unrelated jobs Focus on your key transferable skills which are appropriate to the job, particularly highlighting achievements which have been gained outside an academic research context, avoid over-technical descriptions, a personal profile highlighting your interest and suitability for this type of work can be helpful.
The University of Manchester Careers Service Reproduced with permission


Employers can spend as little as 90 seconds scanning your CV before consigning it to the read later or bin now pile. Therefore it is paramount that you put in the effort to create a professional document which is clear, well laid out and easy to follow. These guidelines should help: The layout can help or hinder the reader Keep it simple, clear and short. Two sides of A4 is the norm for chronological and skills-based CVs. Academic CVs can be much longer (no limit applies) Put your main selling points on the first page for emphasis Give highest priority to your best and most recent examples of your ability to do the job Be positive, direct and concise use action words to describe your achievements eg managed, persuaded, organised, implemented, persuaded, invented, developed, researched Be selective - space is short, give only the information which counts Be specific and quantify achievements eg negotiated 100 sponsorship from local companies to promote department charity fun run raising 750

Visual impact is important dont cram in too much information Dont use TOO MANY CAPITALS, italics, and changes of font Do use bullet points instead of lengthy paragraphs Do use distinctive headings and keep sections together avoid them running over 2 pages o Do line up text in columns (use tables in Word) o Do use quality white/cream A4 paper, unfolded if sending by post o Do ensure spelling and grammar are perfect o o o o


There is no one right way to present a CV, and you can move sections around or omit them, depending on their relevance to the recruiter - read it from their point of view. However, here are some of the more common styles. 1. CONVENTIONAL CHRONOLOGICAL CV This is a safe option for many jobs, and often ideal for jobs outside academia if they are closely linked to your subject specialism. Typical headings include: Personal Details (name, address, telephone number and email, but NOT marital status, age, health); Education; Employment Experience/Work History; Positions of Responsibility; Skills (e.g. IT, Languages); Interests; Referees (2 usually one academic referee and one from an employer).

Education and work experience should be shown in reverse chronological order, as the most recent is generally most relevant. However if, for example, your most relevant work experience was 2 or 3 student jobs ago, you can separate them into two sections Relevant Work Experience, Other Work Experience. Also, other experience gained within academia could be included e.g. as Relevant Professional (or Technical) Experience. Do not leave unexplained gaps, but you dont have to list all jobs or qualifications, if they are numerous, not relevant or a long time ago e.g. 2004-06 Various temporary summer jobs including sales, construction and warehousing.


SKILLS-BASED CV This format is best used when applying for jobs where you are trying to change field. By highlighting your transferable skills, and de-emphasising the technical content of your education, you can help the recruiter see how you might fit into their non-research job. Typical headings might include: Personal Details; Personal Profile; Skills Profile e.g. examples of team working; Education; Work History; Interests; Referees (2) A Personal Profile or Career Aim can be very effective in setting the scene for the reader just make sure it says something concrete, and avoids vague waffle: X Highly motivated postgraduate with good team skills looking for a job with excellent training where I can develop to my full management potential. Numerate graduate with up-to-date IT knowledge, proven leadership skills and practical customer service experience seeking a move into Sales in the IT sector. Skills can come before your qualifications, but if your education is relegated to the second page, make sure the first page refers at least to you being a graduate. This type of CV can be very useful if you have a lot of work experience and want to draw out your skills and achievements to highlight your ability to do the job in question.


ONE PAGE CV Increasingly, it is becoming common to have a short version of an academic or chronological CV. This one-page CV is easier to read and can be sent out in the first instance. A one-page CV should be a brief version of your complete CV, listing major research, publications and achievements.


ACADEMIC CV Whilst some academics have strong views on the correct format for academic CVs, weve found that these can differ. However, essential areas of coverage should include: Research, Administration and Management and Innovation and Engagement. CVs written for academic jobs, whilst they should aim to be succinct and powerful, need to contain sufficient detail to inform the academic selector of the essential coverage above so unlike CVs for wider options do not need to be limited to 2 pages. There is no strict guidance or universal agreement on this but at the early stages of your academic career it is unlikely that your CV should exceed 4 pages.

If you are applying for work outside the UK, you must check the standard CV format for that country and adapt your CV accordingly. In the USA, for example, the emphasis is on a one page document and in Germany, a photograph in the top right hand corner is the norm. Our Library has an excellent publication called Global Resume and CV Guide to help you with this.

The Careers & Employability booklet CVs for International Students is available from the Careers & Employability Centre or downloadable from our Website. This booklet contains additional information on creating a CV for International Students and has some very useful tips and hints about English usage and grammar. You might also find our booklet Employment Regulations for International Students useful.

The need to target your CV and provide evidence of skills is essential when you are asked to submit a CV on-line. Many firms or recruitment agencies will search electronically for key words like organised, managed or Excel (according to the description of the job for which you are applying). Some firms search for

behavioural traits like enthusiasm or responsibility. If you have not used the key words, they will not be highlighted in the electronic search and so you might not be selected for interview. If employers use this method of selection, they will make their key words clear, so it is even more important that you do your research before submitting an on-line CV to
an employer.


Mature Students often have a wealth of work and life experience that can be very valuable to a future employer. Not all employers initially realise this, and so Mature Students need to anticipate the gap and go the extra distance to market themselves on their CV. Career Changers should focus more on transferable skills gained from previous employment, rather than job specific, specialist skills. Consider using a Personal Profile. You may also want to include another section called Summary of Experience. This could be positioned in several places in the CV; before Education, before Employment History, instead of a Skills Profile. The Summary of Experience should summarise your work history to date but highlight skills you have developed that make you stand out from other graduates.


If you have a disability, it is up to you when you choose to disclose this, if at all. If you decide to disclose your disability at the CV stage it is important, as ever, to market yourself effectively and highlight the skills and qualities that you have gained through the management of your disability. For example, a visually impaired student/graduate may have developed an aptitude for IT and other technical skills that will be useful in the area of employment in which he/she is interested. It may also be useful to highlight the determination and self reliance that undertaking a degree and managing your disability may have required. For further information on this look at www.skill.org.uk Careers & Employability runs two workshops on Should I Disclosure a Disability to a Potential Employer? and How to Identify Disability and Diversity Friendly Employers. To sign up for these and all other workshops, log onto www.cardiff.ac.uk/careers

Your covering letter is a vital part of your application infact your CV is incomplete without it. A covering letter personalises your CV and gives you the opportunity to express your enthusiasm and specific suitability for a post. It is not an excuse to repeat word for word the content of your CV, but an opportunity to highlight the most interesting and relevant sections. Ultimately, your cover letter is a further opportunity to sell yourself. TIPS FOR PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION Your cover letter should be: Concise - 1 page of A4 is sufficient Laid out as a formal business letter showing your address (top right) and the name and address of the employer (top left) Sent to a named person if possible - not Dear Sir/Madam Spell checked and grammar checked AND proofread by a friend/Career Consultant for mistakes SUGGESTED FORMAT FOR COVER LETTTERS Section 1 Who are you? (I am currently.) Why are you writing? In response to a specific advert or speculatively. Why them? Explain what attracts you to a company/type of work Give evidence that you have done some thinking and research about the employer. Personalise this section dont send the same paragraph to every employer do your research first What makes you think you can do the job? Outline your skills and experience. (As you will see from my attached CV.) Refer to your CV, but dont repeat points. If you are replying to a specific advertisement, match yourself to two or three points in the job description. Bring out a real enthusiasm in this section. Dealing with problem areas. A failed A level, a change of course or a health problem can be mentioned here. Only do so if you feel the problem area is significant. Ask a Career Consultant if in doubt. If you are referring to a mistake, emphasise what you have learnt from the problem. Give details of how you can be contacted and/or your availability if appropriate. Close on a positive note (eg I look forward to hearing from you)

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4 (optional)

Section 5

For further information and CV/cover letter examples take a look at the following: Websites Vitae website: http://www.vitae.ac.uk/researchers/1339/Marketing-yourself.html (useful information on Marketing yourself to Employers via CVs and applications.) Prospects website: www.prospects.ac.uk (Careers Advice section includes advice and examples of CVs and cover letters.) Targetjobs website: http://targetjobs.co.uk/ Careers Advice section includes information on CVs and Applications The Windmills Programme: http://www.windmillsonline.co.uk/interactive/section_3/subsection_3/page2. html

Books You're Hired! CV: How to write a Brilliant CV, Trotman, 2009 Creative CV Guide, University of the Arts London, UCA & University College Falmouth 2010 Brilliant Cover Letters, Pearson 2009 Winning Cover Letters, Trotman 2009 The Art of Building Windmills, Peter Hawkins GIEU, 1999

Appendix 1 (over page) shows the same fictional persons CV presented 2 different ways for 2 different positions. The first is for a post in Human Resources in the Public Sector, the second is for a Management Consultancy position

Rebecca Lane
5 Roderick Street, Cardiff, CF1 3AT Tel: 029 2066666 Email: LaneR@freeserve.co.uk

2010 - 2011 Cardiff Business School MSc Human Resource Management Course content covered Employee Relations, Organisational Theories, and Industrial Relations. Used case studies to examine new methods of motivation and recruitment. Bristol University BSc Psychology (Class 2:1) Dissertation: Increased use of Occupational Psychology in large businesses. Key modules: Research design and data analysis, Statistics, Psychometrics. Binton Sixth Form College, Richester 3 'A' Levels: Psychology (A), Spanish (B), Mathematics (B) Greys Comprehensive School, Richester 9 GCSEs: Biology (A), Chemistry (A), Mathematics (A), English (A), History (A), Economics (B), Geography (B), French (C), Music (C)

2006 2009

2003 - 2005

1997 - 2002

WORK EXPERIENCE April- Aug 2010 Richester County Council Housing Benefit Clerk Worked directly with benefits claimants on telephone and in person, offering advice in one-one interviews. Organised new internal filing system. Outcome: claims process less time-consuming Presented strategy document to senior directors outlining improvements to best use of office space, taking into consideration employee needs. Outcome: document agreed and implemented InterFurniture plc Logistics Co-ordinator Worked as part of Production team. Measured stock. Shadowed Personnel Manager for 4 days. McDonalds Restaurant (mainly weekends) Part-time Shift Manager. Organised and motivated staff to deliver good customer service. Took part in and delivered Customer Service and Retail Skills training to groups of 6-10 staff on regular basis. Research Assistant. Collected and collated data for a national survey, working as a member of a Social Science research team of 12

June 09-April 2010

2006 2008

Summer 2008

people. Exceeded own data collection targets and coached 2 other team members to collate and present data on EXCEL spreadsheets.

Interpersonal Work well at all levels. Communicated with different departments whilst working at the Council and worked well with claimants on one-to-one basis. Motivated and trained staff at McDonalds Restaurant. Coached colleagues in 2008 Research Assistant role. Understanding of HR issues Some involvement with recruitment decisions at McDonalds. Broad awareness of legal issues affecting HR. Read Personnel Management and Personnel Today to keep up-to-date. Associate member of CIPD and regularly attend briefings, meetings and development events. Teamwork - Made effective contributions as both team member and team leader during work experience roles. Also, in sport and charity work. Organisation Excellent administrator with the initiative and ability to look to improve procedures and achieve desired outcomes. Computer Skills - Worked with wide range of databases and statistical computer packages (MS Office, Word, Excel, SPSS, PowerPoint, Internet). Problem Solving - Logical and determined approach to problem solving demanded by research work at University and work experience as Logistics Controller and Shift Manager.

Charity Work: CSV Volunteer in Bristol and Cardiff; supported disabled young people on both individual and small group basis. Team leader for group of 5 volunteers who regularly organised day trips for the young people. Positive feedback from CSV Manager Planned, organised and undertook a wide range of travel in Africa and across Europe on an independent basis during past 5 years. Increased cultural awareness and competency in 3 European languages. Played at Southern Schools, University 1st Team and currently for local 1st division side. Spanish, Italian and French to good conversational and written level.





Dr V Wise Head of Human Resources Cardiff Business School Cardiff University Cardiff CF3 2PU

Mr Geoffrey Millby Operations Director Inter Furniture Kingswood House Richester RB4 2NU


Rebecca Lane
5 Roderick Street, Cardiff CF1 3AT Tel: 02020 666666 E-mail: LaneR@freeserve.co.uk

PERSONAL PROFILE A commercially-aware and IT literate graduate, who recently completed a MSc in Human Resource Management. Excellent problem solving, interpersonal and communication skills now looking for a career opportunity in Management Consultancy. KEY SKILLS Problem Solving - An analytical, logical and determined approach to problem solving demanded by research work at University and work experience as a Logistics Controller and Shift Manager. Ability to work independently Demonstrated when working with little supervision on MSc dissertation and during range of work experience. Teamwork - Effective contributions made as both team member and leader in paid work experience, sport and charity work. Computer Skills - Worked with wide range of databases and statistical computer packages (MS Office, Word, Excel, SPSS, PowerPoint, Internet). Communication Skills Worked in an advisory role with the Public whilst at the Council. Presented tutorials and as a staff/student committee member. Also delivered training for small groups (6-10 people) and coaching on individual basis. Business Awareness Experience of working in public, private and voluntary sectors.

EDUCATION 2010 - 2011

Cardiff Business School MSc Human Resource Management Bristol University BSc Psychology (Class 2:1) Binton Sixth Form College, Richester 3 'A' Levels: Psychology (A), Spanish (B), Mathematics (B) Greys Comprehensive School, Richester 9 GCSEs: Biology (A), Chemistry (A), Mathematics (A), English (A), History (A), Economics (B), Geography (B), French (C), Music (C)

2006 - 2009

2003 - 2005

1997 - 2003


WORK EXPERIENCE April-Aug 2010 Richester County Council Housing Benefit Clerk Processed claims and communicated with claimants. Organised new internal filing system for paper work and computer files. Outcome claims process less time-consuming Presented strategy document to senior directors outlining improvements to best use of office space. Outcome: Document agreed and implemented

July 09-April 2010 InterFurniture plc Logistics Co-ordinator Worked with Production Manager to measure stock imports and exports. High degree of planning and numerical skills required. 2006 2009 McDonalds Restaurant (mainly weekends) Part-time Shift Manager. Organised, motivated, and trained and coached staff to deliver good customer service. Research Assistant. Conducted a national survey. Gap year Four months with Africa & Asia Adventure. Partly raised money to fund the scheme. Helped teach sport in secondary school. Independent travel. Language Course 8 weeks, Southern Italy. INTERESTS Charity Work: CSV Volunteer in Bristol and Cardiff; supported disabled young people. Team leader for group of 5 other volunteers who regularly organised day trips for the young people. Positive feedback from CSV Manager. Planned and organised wide range of independent travel in Africa and across Europe during past 5 years. Developed cultural awareness and competency in 3 European languages. Played at Southern Schools, University 1st Team and currently for local 1st division side. Spanish, Italian and French to good conversational and written level. Dr V Wise Head of Human Resources Cardiff Business School Cardiff University Cardiff CF3 2NU Mr Geoffrey Millby Operations Director Inter Furniture Kingswood House Richester 2PU RB4

Summer 2008 2005 - 2006





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