Before you begin, remember
• This is your sales document, don’t be too modest
• It provides a prospective employer with a glimpse of who you are
• It could be the single reason why you are selected or not
• You and your CV will be competing with other well educated young people
• Once complete, return to your 60 second personal pitch, to make clear which discipline(s) you are a graduate in, from where and why you are writing
• A CV is an ongoing project. Update it regularly and edit carefully
Before you begin
Spelling and grammar are important. It shows you have taken care in your application and underpin your first step to effective communication.
Length will depend on your profession and the role you are applying for, but as an entry-level applicant a commonly accepted two-page count is worth sticking to, and also a lesson on how to present your knowledge in a concise format.
This is a professional document, so there is no room for getting creative with colours and abstract font types/sizes.
Different professionals will have different opinions about the optimum layout, but most suggest that it is important to first make sure that you have the right content.
1. Start with a header giving your name and contact information. People regularly fail to offer this important information.
2. An introductory paragraph of no more than three sentences will do. You don’t need to include one, but it helps a reader to quickly review a pile of CVs and says more than another list of accolades does.
3. Graduates will have spent at least a couple of years gaining a degree, so be sure to include it on the first page. If you are an undergraduate, explain when you expect to qualify and what you expect to achieve. Follow this with a brief summary of your key course modules. Connect your field studies and related work experience.
4. Include professional seminars; software knowledge, technical equipment, onsite training and placements.
5. Add student and part-time jobs and ensure all dates are accounted for during and since school. If you took a gap year, be sure to account for the career-building efforts you made during that time.
6. Include relevant information such as foreign languages, hobbies, voluntary work and sporting achievements.
When you are looking for your first job, you can refer to achievements that will demonstrate commitment to your chosen field, as well as youthful interests and achievements. A company will be looking for a well-rounded human being and someone who shows enthusiasm, communication and presentation skills.
You will not have a huge amount of experience to share, so you might refer to things such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award activities; lifesaving certificate; first aid course; head prefect; rock collecting; organising directly related activities; visiting old mine workings. Relevant extra-curricular interests can prove very effective.
During university, you will probably have had a part-time job and it is worth noting what it is. The same applies to your additional activities: debating society; student union; representing your university at sport; organising visiting speakers; assisting in laboratory analysis or helping with research for a PhD student and volunteering. Including these regular commitments will paint a picture of how you use your time.
Explain your degree
The world of Natural Resources is endless, and you should not assume that someone reading your CV will know that you graduated from a top school or chose to pursue a particularly complex subject. As undergraduates continue to combine degrees and new courses continue to emerge, it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between them. Explain the modules you studied and any work experience, field trips and onsite endeavours are paramount.
Any opportunity to use or learn industry specialised software is something that you will always find valuable and this is a great ‘tick’ in the box for graduates with this knowledge. However, this does not diminish the need to include Microsoft Office.
If you have studied geography and want to be a geologist, you need to explain which modules made you consider this route and how relevant your course might be.
Use a standard black font without too many changes in font size or formatting.
Simple is best.