Key Locums are a specialist medical recruitment agency, providing locum and permanent staff to clients nationwide.With a business model built on providing high quality, compliant, and skilled staff, we aim to give our candidates and clients a personable, professional, and focused.

How to Write an Effective CV

Posted on 01.04.2019

Your CV is often the first impression you make on a potential employer. It is also likely to be one of several they read for that job role, so you want to make sure yours stands out - for all the right reasons, of course. Here we will look at some of the pitfalls to avoid, aspects to highlight and ways to format your CV to ensure the first impression you make is a good one. 


What is a CV? 

The dictionary definition is simple, a CV (which stands for curriculum vitae) is ‘a short written description of your education, qualifications, previous jobs, and sometimes also your personal interests, that you send to an employer when you are trying to get a job.’ Even more simply put, it is you on a piece of A4 paper - the highlights, at least.  


What should I include? 

A focused, uncomplicated CV is always best as recruiters and employers do not want to have to sift through unnecessary details to get to the relevant information. The fact that you were a prefect in secondary school is not something they are likely to take into account.


Firstly, some things avoid: 

  • Photos - with very few exceptions, employers should not be hiring you based on what you look like 

  • Crazy colours - it may seem like a good way to stand out but actually just comes across as unprofessional 

  • A CV longer than two pages - it may be hard but keeping your CV to one page means you are forced to get rid of any excess information 

  • Age, date of birth or marital status - it is illegal for employers to ask for this information and unnecessary to supply it
    Clichés - try to abstain from phrases like ‘teaching is my passion.’ It may be true but they will have read it a thousand times 


Instead, you should: 

  • Use a simple font such as Calibri, Arial or Helvetica in between 10-12pt font - this makes it clear and easy to read 

  • Use A4 paper and only print on one side  

  • Utilize bold headings - this shows the separate sections 


At the top of your CV in the first section, you should provide your name, professional title, and your contact details. You don’t actually need to write ‘CV’ or ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top, let your name be the heading. 


Next, a mini personal statement. According to the Independent, ‘on average recruiters spend 8.8 seconds looking at your CV’, so you have to give them a reason to read on. Include a few sentences about you, explaining: 

  • Who you are 

  • What your career goals are 

  • Why you would be a good fit for the job 

This can be invaluable and mean the difference between getting an interview and your CV being relegated to the ‘no’ pile. Don’t go on too long though - you only have one page. 


The section after this should detail your work experience. This should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent, relevant job first. You want to demonstrate development, so it is important to include the responsibilities you had and what you achieved in each. You should also include your job title, the company name and the dates that you worked in the role. 


Jobs should be followed by education, also in reverse chronological order. Remember to include the names of institutions, and the dates you attended them and then lay out the qualifications and grades achieved underneath. This is particularly important for teachers, so make sure to include everything relevant. 


Finally, skills and achievements. As we mentioned earlier, it may be tempting to list all your accomplishments here but try to keep it to those relevant to the job you’re applying for and do not exceed five. Some good examples of useful skills are languages and IT programs you have mastered. 


You won’t need references at this stage in proceedings, but you can always add in a line indicating that any references that employer needs are available on request. A CV is an incredibly useful tool in job hunting and, whether or not you are actively looking for something new, it is always a good idea to keep it updated.  


If you are struggling to know what information is useful and what isn’t, try speaking to your recruiter. They are likely to be familiar with the employer and know what they’re looking for. To speak to one of our recruiters, call us on 0208 506 6740. 

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