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10 tips for getting your CV into shape

Updated: Apr 4

Designing your CV - getting your career in order

10 tips to help you get it into shape

Creating a CV (or resume) is something we often do with very little guidance. Sometimes the advice and guidance is too generic. If you are working in media, your CV needs to work in that sector.

Here are some simple layout and content tips that will help you get started or refine what you have already.

  1. Keep it to one page. Even though that might seem hard if you have been working for a few years with different companies, recruiters prefer a single page. However, if you've been working for more than ten years, a two-page CV is acceptible. Just don't feel like you need your whole career on there in detail. If that's needed, HR will request it.

  2. Don't use a picture. It's common on European and American CVs to have a photograph. In the UK that's not the case. Using a picture can also lead to quick (false) judgements. If you are working as someone 'on-screen' let your showreel be where people see you.

  3. Make sure your name and role is easily visible - with any qualifications underneath (for example David Spencer, Broadcast Journalist (NCTJ qualified)). Even though you will say this in your education section or statement (see below), it is worth emphasising industry qualifications. Never put your date of birth on your CV, but include Twitter handle and email/phone number for contact section.

  4. Have a short personal statement at the beginning. Use this to sum up your career and achievements, but don't say generic things like "an experienced journalist" or "passionate about social media". It should be about 100 words and needs to be assertive and emphasise your skills and experience.

  5. Have a skills section. Here you should talk about languages and any industry software you use. If you list Adobe Audition, you don't need to say "audio editing" as a skill. Soft skills are fine but saying things like "time management" doesn't add a great deal to your CV. No one ever says "I'm often late" or "rubbish in teams".

  6. Layout your media career in reverse chronology. Place the company name first, then the job title and then the dates you worked there.

  7. Education goes at the end, even if you're a recent graduate.

  8. Utilise a good CV design template to maximise the page. Keep the design simple and clear but it can be more interesting than straight text.

  9. References - do not need to be on your CV. They're only needed when you get offered a job.

  10. Hobbies - nobody is interested, unless they are relevant to the role. If they are, mention them in your bio/statement at the top of your CV not in a separate section.


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