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You’re the One that We Want: Perfecting Your CV

Updated: Mar 29

Perfecting your Curriculum Vitae (or CV for those who don’t speak Latin) is the first step to getting noticed by potential employers. Think of your CV as a first impression – would it get you an interview? Your CV should be your introduction to a prospective employer and include all the relevant information to determine whether you would be suitable for the job, showcasing your strengths across a variety of areas.

Shorter is Sweeter

You should try to make your CV as succinct as possible – 2 pages max! Choose information that is important and relevant to the job that you are applying for. You want your achievements to shine! You should use a font that is easily readable, no smaller than size 10 (and don’t mess with the margins!).

Stand Out from the Rest

It is a competitive market out there; you could be one of hundreds applying for the same position (talk about supply and demand!). CV’s are all about first impressions. Your friend’s CV and those you find on the internet should only be used as inspiration – your CV is YOUR CV; it should reflect YOUR qualities and achievements! If you are stuck for ideas there are plenty of templates online – just don’t go crazy!

Make it Easy for Employers

Headings should be used to create structure, making it easier for employers to read your CV quickly and get a feel for you as a potential candidate. List items under each heading in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent first. Start by including your personal details including your full name, address, phone number and email (Your email should be professional - not the Hotmail account you made when you were 12!). Here are some headings that you could include:

  • Education/Qualifications: You should include the name of your university, the degree you are studying, when you started studying, and your expected graduation date. Feel free to also mention your secondary education and any vocational training!

  • Employment/Experience: You should include start and finish dates (where applicable) and list the business name and your job title. Feel free to include contextual details about your role such as the tasks you completed, the skills you have acquired, whether you worked as a casual, full-time or part-time, and how many days a week you would work.

  • Achievements: Now is the time to start bragging! If you have received any recognitions or notable awards (I’m not talking about 2nd place at your year 8 swimming carnival) you can include them here.

  • Skills: You may choose to include several skills that employer might be looking for in prospective future employees. Don’t rely on buzz words – feature skills that represent YOU! You can use terminology from you Cover Letter or from the website of the firm you are applying for.

  • Extracurricular: You should include any leadership roles, volunteering/community involvement, and ongoing activities here. Don’t forget to include dates! Extracurricular activities can provide employers with insight into your ability to manage multiple tasks while studying, and your eagerness to continue learning or assisting in areas you are passionate about.

  • Interests: It is always good to include some personal interests (but only a few) as they give employers a glimpse into your personality – there is more to you than study after all! Interests can help break the ice during interviews and can become talking points. However, consider their relevance and be honest (can you really speak Latin?).

  • Referees: Make sure that your referees know that they have been listed on your CV and that they have an updated copy. Choose individuals who know you well, and who will speak positively about you and your experiences. Finding referees can be challenging! Don’t be afraid to approach your current or past employer, colleagues, or even one of your lecturers to be a referee! You can use ‘referee available on request’ as a last resort!

Check Everything (And Check Again)

The last thing that you want in your beautiful CV is a spelling or grammatical error! It could be the thing that makes or breaks your application! It can be difficult to spot errors on tasks that you have been working on - ask a friend, family member or colleague to proofread your CV before you even think about applying. When you are ready, make sure to upload your CV as a PDF!

Don’t wait – start perfecting your CV now!



About the Author Alicia is studying her fifth year of a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts (Applied Psychology). In addition to her position on the NDSLS as Education Director, Alicia has a passion for reading, rules, and roses. #law #studentlife #cv #curriculumvitae #uni #Notredameuni #notredamesyd #ndsls #lawstudent #lawschool #hireme #lawjobs

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