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How to present your information

A focused, well-presented CV will grab the reader’s attention and make them want to find out more about you.

A poor CV is likely to result in rejection, which means that you won’t get the chance to impress face to face at an interview.

Remember that many graduate employers receive hundreds of CVs, so the time they spend reading them can be as little as 60 seconds – you need to impress and quickly.

Style of writing

The style of writing you use on your CV is up to you – choose the style which suits you best, but be consistent – choose one style of writing and stick to it.

An increasingly common and professional way of presenting yourself in a CV is to write without using ‘I’ (after all, employers know everything on the CV is about you) – for example:

'Keen to pursue a career in journalism and currently contributing articles to the university student paper. A work experience placement in WhatSports plc will provide relevant experience for long term career goal of sports journalism.'

If you prefer to use ‘I’, then remember to vary the sentence construction so not every sentence starts with it.

Use action verbs

Positive, active language will grab the reader’s attention and send a strong message about you and your capabilities.

Example 1: My duties included serving customers at the bar. I had to handle cash and keep the area tidy. I had to work under pressure.

Example 2:

  • developed customer service skills
  • handled large sums of money; responsible for cashing up and balancing shift takings
  • worked under pressure during holiday periods
  • initiated happy hour promotion, resulting in 30 per cent increase in sales

Example 2 details the skills and responsibilities that were involved using action verbs – developed, handled, worked, initiated – which makes a stronger overall impression.

Formatting

Bullet points work well on a CV, too – bulleted lists sound objective and clear, and can steer you away from the temptation to write a mini essay about yourself.

The CV is one place where full sentences aren’t essential – you can convey the same information using less space:

Example 1: In this post, I volunteered to provide IT training to colleagues in my department and others. I also did the induction training for new members of the team.

Example 2:

  • Volunteered to provide IT training to administration colleagues and inducted new members into the team.

Contact us

If you need help presenting the information in your CV, please get in touch:

Careers and Employability