How to write a must-read CV

You’ve seen the job, love the sound of it, and even visited the school. So far, it ticks all the boxes. Now you have to convince the school of your dreams that you are the right candidate for the job. But before you start brushing up on your interview skills you need to get your CV right.

Forget fancy fonts, elaborate layouts, and online CV templates that require sophisticated software. The most important thing you should remember when writing your CV is that it should be clear and simple with a great structure.

Here are some tips from our panel of experts:

Keep it brief
Aim for no more than a two or three-page CV; long rambling CVs don’t get read. Try to be concise by summarising key points.

Organise your personal information
Make sure you start with your name at the top of your CV, not curriculum vitae in bold! Employers already know what the document is, but need to know to whom it belongs. Next make sure that you follow this on with your address, home, work and mobile numbers, email and fax, if applicable, so that employers can find this information easily and quickly.

Professional profile
This is possibly the most important part of your CV. This is your chance to elaborate on key skills gained during studies and employment and to relate this to any job specification,. Take time to write this section well and make sure it flows seamlessly, but avoid clichés at all costs. It should provide concise information on key skills gained through employment. For example:

Key skill
Effective behaviour management:
By using a range of techniques including agreed ground rules, praise and reward and merit systems, I have maintained good classroom management.

Career summary
For most people who have been teaching for a number of years, this can amount to a lot of information. It is best to use bullet points to break it up. Focus on specific teaching responsibilities and achievements in each role. When writing about your achievements, don’t forget to use power verbs as these are likely to have more impact and they can make a tedious list of responsibilities sound like a list of achievements. Power verbs such as managed, achieved, maximised, strengthened, led, are easily applied to various aspects of the teaching profession, for example, I managed incidents of challenging behaviour in the classroom or I achieved 100% improvement in …..But don’t overdo it otherwise they will lose their impact.

Continuing professional development
All good teachers show commitment to continuing professional development and employers definitely want to see evidence of this. So, ensure that you provide evidence of further personal or professional training and Inset days.

Out of school interests
Employers don’t really want to know about your obsession with astrology or how much you love Manchester United. They would be curious, though, if you had a relevant interest such as a passion for green issues, or an interest in sport as these can be utilised in school. So think about whether it is worth mentioning your interests.

Use clear simple fonts
Recruiters often deal with lots of applications and they need to be able to see key information clearly and easily to decide who is going to get over that first hurdle of securing an interview. So if your font is set at BodDemItasup with double strikethrough effects but recruiters cannot see your key skills clearly, your beautifully presented CV will be unceremoniously binned. So keep presentation clean and simple. If you are submitting a CV online, then use a readable font that is easy-on-the-eye such as sans serif, or Arial. Comic Sans is alright for the classroom, but definitely won’t impress employers. Use borders, by all means, but nothing too fancy.

Final check
It goes without saying that any CV should be checked for errors in spelling, punctuation and other possible errors. So make sure you do a final check before you submit it.

For more CVadvice see 10 ways to make your CV stand out
For advice on writing a cover letter see How to write a great covering letter
For specialist advice on how to write a CV contact The CV centre

With thanks to The CV Centre , Protocol Education , and John Howson, TES Careers Expert

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Need more advice? Visit the Ultimate guide to jobseeking