10 tips on writing a successful CV

Katy Cowan gives her top tips on creating a memorable and readable CV – anything missed? Add to the comments below
Sheet of blank paper in Typewriter
Top tips on writing a successful CV: get the basics right and stick to no more than two pages of A4. Photograph: Max Oppenheim/Getty Images

Creative Boom and Katy Cowan, part of the Guardian Culture Professionals Network
Thursday 15 March 2012 10.47 GMT
When it comes to applying for a new job, your CV could be just the ticket to get you that initial foot in the door and secure an interview – but how do you ensure your CV is added to the interview pile rather than thrown straight in the bin?

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Putting together a successful CV is easy once you know how. It’s a case of taking all your skills and experience and tailoring them to the job you’re applying for. But what if you don’t meet the right criteria? Well, I’ve put together the following tips to help you get started in creating a successful CV and securing your first (or next) arts job.

 

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Get the basics right
There is no right or wrong way to write a CV but there are some common sections you should cover. These include: personal and contact information; education and qualifications; work history and/or experience; relevant skills to the job in question; own interests, achievements or hobbies; and some references.

Presentation is key
A successful CV is always carefully and clearly presented, and printed on clean, crisp white paper. The layout should always be clean and well structured and CVs should never be crumpled or folded, so use an A4 envelope to post your applications.

Always remember the CV hotspot – the upper middle area of the first page is where the recruiter’s eye will naturally fall, so make sure you include your most important information there.

Stick to no more than two pages of A4
A good CV is clear, concise and makes every point necessary without waffling. You don’t need pages and pages of paper – you just keep things short and sweet. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer, it’s a chance to tick the right boxes. And if everything is satisfied, there’s a better chance of a job interview. Also, employers receive dozens of CVs all the time so it’s unlikely they’ll read each one cover to cover. Most will make a judgment about a CV within sections, so stick to a maximum of two pages of A4 paper.

Understand the job description
The clues are in the job application, so read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. With the areas where you’re lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. For example, if the job in question requires someone with sales experience, there’s nothing stopping you from using any retail work you’ve undertaken – even if it was something to help pay the bills through university. It will demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they’re transferable.

Tailor the CV to the role
When you’ve established what the job entails and how you can match each requirement, create a CV specifically for that role. Remember, there is no such thing as a generic CV. Every CV you send to a potential employee should be tailored to that role so don’t be lazy and hope that a general CV will work because it won’t.

Create a unique CV for every job you apply for. You don’t have to re-write the whole thing, just adapt the details so they’re relevant.

Making the most of the skills
Under the skills section of your CV don’t forget to mention key skills that can help you to stand out from the crowd. These could include communication skills; computer skills; team working; problem-solving or even speaking a foreign language. Skills can come out of the most unlikely places, so really think about what you’ve done to grow your own skills, even if you take examples from being in a local sports team or joining a voluntary group – it’s all relevant.

Making the most of the interests
Under interests, highlight the things that show off skills you’ve gained and employers look for. Describe any examples of positions of responsibility, working in a team or anything that shows you can use your own initiative. For example, if you ran your university’s newspaper or if you started a weekend league football team that became a success.

Include anything that shows how diverse, interested and skilled you are. Don’t include passive interests like watching TV, solitary hobbies that can be perceived as you lacking in people skills. Make yourself sound really interesting.

Use assertive and positive language under the work history and experience sections, such as “developed”, “organized” or “achieved”. Try to relate the skills you have learned to the job role you’re applying for. For example: “The work experience involved working in a team,” or “This position involved planning, organization, and leadership as I was responsible for a team of people”.

Really get to grips with the valuable skills and experience you have gained from past work positions, even if it was just working in a restaurant – every little help.

Including references
References should be from someone who has employed you in the past and can vouch for your skills and experience. If you’ve never worked before you’re OK to use a teacher or tutor as a referee. Try to include two if you can.

Keep your CV updated
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It’s crucial to review your CV on a regular basis and add any new skills or experience that’s missing. For example, if you’ve just done some volunteering or worked on a new project, make sure they’re on their – potential employers are always impressed with candidates who go the extra mile to boost their own skills and experience.

Top guidelines for making your garden natural world-friendly

From cutting chemical substances to really adding water, there are plenty of approaches to turn your fledgling ‘home for nature’ right into a ‘des-res’
Leo weblog: A frog in a garden pond in Clitheroe, Lancashire.
A garden pond will host a whole range of various species. Photograph: Ashley Cooper/ Ashley Cooper/Corbis

“It used to be ‘splat, splat, splat’, but now I barely want to easy my visor!” This has been the experience of a motorcycling buddy, noticing the long-time period decline within the range of insects he encounters while on his motorbike. It may be anecdotal, however, it mirrors the wealth of medical records revealing the inexorable erosion of a lot of Britain’s flora and fauna.

There are many reasons for those declines, and combatting them requires motion on many fronts, from making sure the proper political rules are in place to help farmers appearance after the nation-state, to defensive the rarest habitats and their wildlife on nature reserves.

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Read extra
Much of this falls to nature conservation charities along with the RSPB, however, it’s miles increasingly more regarded that gardens also have an critical function to play for an entire host of threatened natural world, from hedgehogs to house sparrows to toads. It manner we will all play an lively role in giving nature a domestic.

In case you suspect that is about letting your garden end up weed-strewn and “wild” – assume again. A neat, tended lawn can – with care and idea – be simply as properly for the natural world. Nor is it approximately placing aside a little nook. It is quite possible to do matters all through your garden that help wildlife with out compromising the whole thing else you need your lawn to be.

Each of Britain’s lots of species of garden flora and fauna has a selected set of ecological necessities. And, if we pare it lower back to basics, there are two simple matters in order to have a direct impact:

 

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Planting the gaps

Every garden probably has a place that is a “plant wasteland”, be it patio or decking, bare fence or wall, shed or garage roof. Adding greenery to any of those areas will help.

 

Just upload water

A birdbath will do as a starter, however if you can amplify that to a pond, so much the better. It will host an entire variety of different creatures, as well as supplying a place for many land animals to drink and shower.

For maximum impact, the subsequent steps will flip your fledgling “domestic for nature” right into a des-res:

Plant perfection

While almost all plants will do some exact for natural world, they range of their value. Try to grow those that simply can’t prevent giving, be it in pollen, nectar, seeds, berries, or tasty foliage. There are all forms of gorgeous lawn flowers that do precisely that.

Spatial variety

That’s only a posh term for providing extraordinary rooms for different guests. Aim to offer a rich mix of “natural world actual estate” such as trees, shrubs and flower-wealthy borders, growing the whole lot from damp, shady retreats to superb sun-baked hotspots. And when you have a garden, why now not allow a number of it to grow lengthy? It can look awesome, mainly whilst creatively dissected and mentioned by way of mown pathways.

Cut the chemicals

When I say chemicals, I genuinely mean pesticides and herbicides. Anything that removes links within the food chain can have a harmful knock-on impact all along it.

Glorious decadence

The basis of lawn fertility and of tons of the internet of existence is whilst flora decay, be it timber, bark, leaves or flowers. Compost heaps, log piles, leaf clutter and bark mulches all offer warm, damp, food-stuffed hideaways for an entire host of creatures.

The clues are in the job application, so read the details from start to finish. Take notes and create bullet points, highlighting everything you can satisfy and all the bits you can’t. With the areas where you’re lacking, fill in the blanks by adapting the skills you do have. For example, if the job in question requires someone with sales experience, there’s nothing stopping you from using any retail work you’ve undertaken – even if it was something to help pay the bills through university. It will demonstrate the skills you do have and show how they’re transferable.

 

Supplementary food

We, humans, preserve the harvest from most of the panorama for our own desires, so it’s far no wonder many birds flip to us for a bit of supplementary help at fowl tables and feeders – for them it can be a lifeline at some point of the year.

Keeping the planet in mind

You do not need to undo your efforts via the usage of peat-primarily based compost or too much water, negative natural world-wealthy habitats in the method. Understanding your environmental effect beyond the garden fence is vital.