ARTS THREAD’s simple guide to the CV – what should be in it and how to write it to maximise your chances of getting that dream job.
Your CV brings together all the key details of your education, interests and ambitions in a clear, easily readable format, acting as a personal and work autobiography that can be used in job applications, uploaded to your website, to accompany press releases etc. It enables anyone to quickly understand if you have the relevant education, experience and ambition for a job or to learn more about your background.
As ARTS THREAD is a student and graduate site, we are concentrating here on a student’s or graduate’s CV.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR CV?
1 – Personal Details
2 – Education & Qualifications
3 – Achievements
4 – Skills
5 – Work Experience
6 – Interests etc.
- These should be set out in separate sections, to make it easier to read.
- Create your template of the CV and then these 6 sections can be updated where necessary.
- As a student or graduate your CV should be no longer than one A4 page, with an MA, it can be longer, depending on experience.
1 – PERSONAL DETAILS
- Name and address(s)
- Status (Mr, Mrs,Ms etc)
- Contact telephone numbers & email address
- Country of origin, if relevant.
2 – EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS
Include your education – starting from the most recent down to secondary school.
- All examinations passed at higher, further and secondary education – including grades.
- All universities/colleges and schools attended with location and dates.
- Add all ongoing education courses and include start and expected end dates.
- If there are gaps in your educational career where you have worked or travelled abroad, make this clear.
- If there are any special circumstances or issues concerning your education, include it here.
3 – ACHIEVEMENTS
- Mention all awards and prizes.
- Include any membership of educational or professional bodies or groups.
4 – SKILLS
- Highlight what you are good at and then explain how you have used these skills.
- Distinguish between technical design skills such as expertise on the Harris table loom or water jet cutting and IT skills such as Photoshop.
- IT skills are extremely important, add level of ability on Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc.
- Design skills, add technical design skills as mentioned above as well as hand-work skills such as pen and ink illustration, moodboards etc.
5 – WORK EXPERIENCE
Constantly revise and update this section.
- It is customary to start with your most recent job and work backwards, and include all dates and responsibilities.
- As a student or recent graduate, you should include internships/work placements undertaken.
- Include all exhibitions in which you have shown your work.
- Include any commissions, with details of who commissioned the work etc.
6 – INTERESTS ETC.
This final section rounds up all the areas of your life not so far included.
- Foreign travel (these should be educational/life building experiences – not sun & sand)
- Languages – list ability in both spoken & written forms.
- Driving licence
- Leisure pursuits or hobbies which reflect favourably your career plans.
- Achievements in sport, music, or any other sphere.
- You might add an ambition not yet realised. This gives a more personal edge to your C.V within the framework of a job application.
It is now customary to add a short (and, yes – we mean short!) personal statement to the end of your CV.
This describes your approach to life and your work and make it as unique to you as you can – the very last thing a personal statement should be is the same as anyone else’s!.
For those reading your CV, it is now usual to include two referees. These are people who are willing to be contacted by potential employers etc to confirm the details on your CV and testify to your good character etc.
You should include the names, addresses and emails of these two people – remember to ask their permission first!
Choose someone from your educational or work background – not family!
ADAPTING THE TEMPLATE
The template of your CV is made up of all 6 sections plus the personal statement and references.
Use a computer, so that you can easily update and revise details.
Remember you can expand on details within your CV depending on its use. Applying for a job with a large corporation will be different from submitting an application for inclusion in an exhibition.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD CV?
- Market yourself – ensure it is well constructed and targeted towards what you are applying for, such as a particular job where it should highlight your skills, experience or enthusiasm that are necessary for the role. Make sure it contains character and personality (within reason!).
- Ensure the layout is neat and aesthetically pleasing. Check details, punctuation and spellings!
- Stick to one typeface and a couple of point sizes – only use type creatively if you are a graphic designer.
- Use unfussy easy to read type on substantial (not too flimsy) light coloured or white paper.
Remember – people will often meet your CV before they meet you, so be sure to give a good impression!