THE ULTIMATE CV GUIDE: 8 STEPS TO A WINNING RESUME

Thank you for stopping by City Internships' CV Guide. We hope you find it useful. If reading isn't your thing, or you're in a rush, you can visit a recording of our latest CV Workshop online. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for alerts when we're hosting info sessions or workshops.

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You can skip straight to submitting your application and get our help with your CV once you have enrolled.

Before you even start chopping up your resume, it is worth thinking about its purpose. It must accomplish a few key things.

It should:

  • Present all of your relevant skills and accomplishments
  • Tell a story of your educational and professional experience so far
  • Reflect something of your character through your personal profile and interests sections

It shouldn’t:

  • Be an exhaustive list of your every achievement, regardless of relevance
  • Include lengthy discussion about every course you’ve ever taken
  • Contain information just to ‘bulk it out’. Being concise will help your reader

1. Presentation

Clear, concise and easy on the eye.

Rather than using elaborate presentation to stand out from the crowd (unless, of course, you are going for a design job, in which case you may have room to be more creative) you should be relying on strong content to catch the reader’s eye.

Making the document as accessible as possible is a must. Some suggestions:

  • Use a simple business font (Arial, Calibri and Verdana are popular choices)
  • Use bold or italics to emphasise text rather than underlining
  • Use bullet points, numbering and dashes to format content
  • Aim for one (resume-style) or two (CV-style) pages in length

2. Personal Details

These are standard and should include the following:

  • Name
  • Postal address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number(s)
  • Don’t include the header ‘curriculum vitae’! It is a waste of space that you might need later.

3. Personal Statement

This section demonstrates that you are focused and determined to pursue a career in your chosen field and should be an uncomplicated summary of expertise and suitability. Don’t fall into the trap of making unsubstantiated statements here. For example, “I am hardworking” should be evident from the content of your resume.

Instead, make this a factual and relevant mission statement. It should:

  • Be no longer than 2-4 sentences
  • Give an overview of your current situation – “I have just graduated with a degree in …”
  • Add something relevant that will set you apart from the competition – “I have work experience in …”
  • If you are a graduate, specifically detail what it is that you want to do – “I am looking for a role as a … in the field of …” It is advisable to amend this section for each job application.

4. Education

Until you have a few years work experience under your belt, your education section will be of utmost importance.

Write your education in reverse chronological order (so start with college/university). Focus on your university grades, majors or specializations and extra-curricular activities to start with.

Demonstrate any experiences where you have gained ‘transferable skills’. This is your chance to throw light on those skills which might include leadership, project management, team working, communication and presentation skills.

The education section should contain:

  • All qualifications in reverse-chronological order
  • Degree subject, type and grade
  • More detail on majors/specialisations
  • A level grades, subjects and Secondary School name or SAT scores and High School name
  • GCSE grades and Secondary School name (listing individual subjects and grades is not strictly necessary here)
  • Other skills - computer literacy, languages, etc.

5. Work Experience

For some participants, joining a CI program may represent their first significant item of work experience.

However, feel free to add any work experience that demonstrates your drive and determination in pursuing your career choice. Business-oriented skills that you have developed, such as “the importance of good customer service”, then it is worth space on your resume.

Any work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order. Each work experience item should comprise:

  • Company or organization, dates and job title
  • A sentence outlining the role you performed
  • Bullets summarizing specific responsibilities
  • Bullets backing up specific achievements whilst in this role

At the end of your CI program, resume surgery sessions will give you the opportunity to seek one-on-one guidance on how to effectively capture and present your internship experience with respect to your specific career path.

6. Interests and Extracurricular Activities

This is the place to say a little bit about you as a person, throw in something interesting and memorable about you and your achievements thus far and demonstrate how you have actively pursued interested related to your chosen career path in your personal life.

You can mention virtually any activity or hobby – just keep it appropriate. Examples worth including in this area are:

  • Sports teams
  • Societies/clubs
  • Travel
  • Hobbies
  • Charity
  • Awards (these are particularly good as they can demonstrate high achievement and ambition)

7. References

One academic and one non-academic reference will be sufficient. Your City Internships mentor and/or buddy will be able to serve as a professional reference when you have completed the your CI program.

8. Proof-read

What overall tone does your resume take? Has it conveyed all of your accomplishments as well as an idea of you as a person? Have you missed anything glaringly obvious?

Try out some of the following proofing methods:

  • Leave it for an hour - you will find that fresh eyes spot new mistakes
  • Don’t forget the obvious - spell-check is a must
  • Read it out loud - this can help identify tone, check the flow and ensure you haven’t just constructed an unnecessarily wordy list

And there you have it. Follow these guidelines, and you'll do well. Just remember to customize your resume to each position.

TL;DR. Watch the CV Workshop webinar recording. Then apply to CI online.

If webinars are your thing, learn more about upcoming events online: http://city-internships.eventbrite.com