paper application form and laptop
Career coaching can help you to transfer your skills to new settings.

Job Application or CV Show the Best You!

Before you begin writing your application or CV, take a moment to think about something that has gone well recently, at work or elsewhere.

  1. What happened?
  2. What did you do?
  3. What positive strengths did you use to make it a success?

This is a great starting point for a CV or application form as it helps you to shift to a positive mindset.

First impact: The first part of a job application, CV or covering letter is your chance to make an impact within the first few seconds. This could be the section on which the recruiter makes the decision to read further.

It is your opportunity to show who you are, your key successes, the problem you solve and your future goals. Even if you’ve not been working for a while, you have natural strengths and transferable skills that you can demonstrate to a recruiter.

I’ve summarised some of my favourite CV advice below. If you are also refreshing your social media profile you could take a look at My LinkedIn Profile as an example.

Basics: For your CV, start with your name and the job for which you are applying, followed by your contact details. You may want to change the order of the below depending on the role you are applying for and the relevance of each section. Recruitment experts advise sticking to a maximum of two pages for a CV if you can. The below applies to job applications and CVs.

Personal profile: This is where you make your first impact, show who you are, what you’ve achieved, your passion and where you want to go next. Try to keep it to a few sentences, you may want to select just a two or three from the below suggestions. You could include:

  • recent successes
  • the problem you solve
  • the impact you made
  • what you learnt
  • your key strengths
  • future goals
  • what you are looking to do in your next role
  • the value you bring to an employer

Key achievements: Consider showing three to four key achievements that are relevant to the role for which you are applying. For each one describe the achievement, what you did to get there and the benefit to the client, team, organisation or community.

Skills: A skill is something you can learn and can be transferred to different settings. Describe skills that are relevant to the role for which you are applying. Give examples of when you have used each one and describe the result, for example an increase in productivity.

Work experience: CV experts recommend starting with your most recent role. If you have not been in work for a while, however you have been doing something relevant to the role for which you are applying, you may wish to consider starting with that. Include the job title, organisation and dates. Rather than simply listing your duties you could describe what you did, how you did it, your main achievements and which of your key strengths you used.

Qualifications and training: Consider starting with the most recent first, however you may want to start with the one that is most relevant to the role for which you are applying. Include the training or qualification title, place or method of study and the date of achievement as a minimum. Highlight the key benefits to a potential employer.

Interests: This is your opportunity to show your personality and what is important to you. You may want to consider including some personal goals, what you’re passionate about and reference how you plan to build on your strengths to maximise your success in the future.

Check out my Career Coaching page to see how Your Coaching Journey could look and read about the benefits of career coaching.

The above are suggestions and the list is not exhaustive, you may want to add other sections and change the order. I recommend checking out the many different websites to help you to construct your CV.

The Big Issue Jobs and Training Toolkit provides some CV writing advice and templates.