How to structure your CV
To write the best possible student CV, we recommend structuring it in this order:
1. Contact details
First off, you’ll want your full name in a large font at the top of the page. Below this, include your current address (remember to keep it up-to-date if you’re moving soon), email address, and contact phone number.
If you think it’s relevant you could also include a link to your LinkedIn profile, Twitter page, or personal website.
You can also state your nationality and any languages you speak in this section. If you’re an international student, you may need to clarify your work status, and for some jobs, it might also be useful to state whether you have a driving license.
2. Stand out with a personal domain name
To make a really great first impression, register your own domain name. You can use it as your personal email and redirect it to your normal inbox for free (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.).
Personal statement (optional)This is not the place for your life story. If you feel that you can sum yourself up as a candidate in less than two sentences, then do it here. Your personal statement should simply state who you are and what type of work you are looking for. For example, “I’m an undergraduate Economics student on track for a solid 2:1 degree.
Education and qualifications
In this section, list your most recent education first (i.e. university), then A Levels (or equivalent), and then finish off with your GCSEs (or equivalent) if you think these are relevant.
If you’re struggling for space or have more important things to include, we’d recommend cutting your GCSEs as it’s unlikely employers will be too concerned with them at this stage. If you do include them, make sure they’re summarised (not listed) to save space. For example, “10 GCSEs (4 As, 5 Bs, 1 C) including English and Maths”.
3. Employment History
As with the education section above, you should kick off your employment history with your most recent job. You should include paid work (full-time and part-time), voluntary work, internship placements, and shadowing roles.
It is important to state the months and years that you worked at each place, as well as the company name and your specific job title.
In order to show your suitability for the job you’re applying for, highlight the key skills and responsibilities that you gained under each experience, making sure that they’re relevant to the role you’re currently applying for.
Main achievements (optional)
This section isn’t absolutely necessary, but it can help to give more insight into you as a person and set you apart from the competition. You could include a range of extra-curricular achievements such as completing a Duke of Edinburgh award, captaining a sports team, winning a Young Enterprise program, or even starting a website to four or five points max). Remember to make these achievements relevant to the employer and always demonstrate the key skills you demonstrated to get them.
Hobbies and interests (optional)
Be selective about which hobbies to include in a CV. You probably have dozens of personal interests, but think about how many of them will actually interest the employer. Keep it short and avoid obvious things such as “reading” or “socializing” – this is another chance to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Things such as playing instruments, going traveling, and doing volunteer work are much better options. This section is your opportunity to show what you do outside of work and give the employer another insight into your character.
To tie your CV up, you should have a reference section. You should include two contacts – one academic and one previous employer. It’s acceptable to put “References available upon request” to save space, but it does work in your favor if you can provide two contacts straight away. You should always ask the relevant people for their permission before citing them as a reference. This will save you and them any embarrassment if an employer follows up without warning.