How to build your CV for UK standards

Building your CV can be tricky business at the best of times and even more so in a different country. That’s why we’re compiling a few tips for you to bear in mind while you build your CV for UK standards.

Build your CV for UK employers

We’re not going to focus here on how best to build your CV from scratch, but we will pinpoint the differences you need to know when applying for a job in the UK.

Format:

Writing your CV

  • Use a PDF A4 document when writing your CV, cover letter and any document you send with your application.
  • Write a maximum of 2 sides
  • Fonts: make sure it’s easy to read, but Times New Roman is old-fashioned. Try Calibri or Helvetica.
  • No photo, no birth date and no marriage status needed. Keep it simple: name, address, phone number and email in the header.
  • Be dynamic. If you’re able to, use infographics and let the page ‘breathe’ (that is, don’t cram it with words; leave white space). The recruiters have to be able to scan through the document quickly.
  • Be creative. The industries are changing and your individuality is important to employers. They don’t hire you to be another sheep, but to help them build their business further.

Tip: To find great templates, look at Beehance and search for ‘free CV template word’. If you have a paid Microsoft Word account, there are new templates offered by MOO that you can use to stand out from the crowd.  Moo-logobehance logo

*If design is not your thing, try to simply add a colourful background and use headings/sub-headings.

Content:

  • Description and skills: Start your CV with a short description of who you are, what you achieved and where you want to head towards.
  • Grades: Make sure to find the equivalence to your degree.
  • If you have a university degree, find the equivalence to your grades with the UK gradation system and mention where your education took place (e.g: 2:1 BA (Hons) in Event Management, University of Madrid).
  •  Experience: describe your most recent experience first
  •  Languages:
    • Mention your level of English. E.g: French (Native)/ English (Full Professional Proficiency)
    • You can test your language level on the Cambridge website.

Cover Letter and emails

  • Be consistent. Use the same style as your CV.
  • Find the head of HR or the person the application will go to and address the letter to that person. UK: Politeness is important, but the usage of the first name is considered normal. Address the person by their first and last name in your cover letter. E.g: Dear Jane Doe
  • Write a personalised letter. Mention their company name and the job you’re applying for.
  • Introductory and closure sentences
  • Formal/Informal greetings: the UK is quite loose with formal greetings and you will often see people greeting you by your first name. If you’re not certain how to introduce yourself, initiate contact in a formal way and their reply will set the tone for further communication.
    • E.g: If they write to you and are using your first name, you should reply in the same fashion as them.

The key is to be confident and try to share who you are. You have something others don’t and it’s up to you to transmit that message to employers.

If you want further help or want to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes in your Résumé/CV, we offer a proofreading service and would be happy to give you further advice.

Success Go get it

Resources:

CV and Cover Letters Advice:

Written by Judith Bellemare, Venture English