CV Advice

Having a good CV is just as essential as having the experience required for a position. A CV won’t ever be able to fully represent you to a prospective employer; however, it does give them an impression of what you can provide as an employee. Quite simply, a CV should be a marketing tool used to sell your skills and experience.

In the scientific industry, hiring managers and recruiters will look at hundreds of CVs for a vacancy and often spend less than 60 seconds looking at a CV before moving on. That is why it is key for you to demonstrate your suitability for a position as quickly as possible.

With this in mind, the below guidelines maybe useful in writing your CV;

Contact Details

The first pieces of information you should have on your CV is your contact details. These should be at the top of the first page of your CV and it goes without saying, they should be correct. Details to include are;

  • Name
  • Postal address- if you are looking for work in another location to where you live, or would consider relocation, potentially put this next to your address.
  • Email address- ensure this is work appropriate- remember it could be your future employer who uses this to make contact with you.
  • Telephone number- mobile and landline telephone number if you have one. Also, ensure you have a voicemail in case you miss any calls.

If you don’t have access to your telephone during the day, it may be worth putting a time that you are available to speak.

Main Section

This part of the CV really depends upon your personal experience and the position you are applying to. In general, it should contain;

  • Key Skills- bullet point list of skills you have that are suitable for the position you are applying for.
  • Employment history- list of current and past employment, generally in reverse chronological order. If the position isn’t relevant for the application you are making, then put minimal details regarding the role. However, if it is a role where you have gained experience suitable for the job you are applying for, provide details of what this experience was. Include dates of employment and explain any gaps where you we not employed to give a full picture of your employment background.
  • Education- list your education, again in reverse chronological order, if it is relevant for the application, include details of the experience you gained.
  • References- if you have received consent from your references to put their details on your CV then include them, however if they would prefer to be approached for these details, the standard line of “References available upon request” is common practice.
  • Hobbies/Interests- this area of your CV is there to demonstrate to employers that you aren’t just a robot built for work. This should demonstrate personal achievements and interests which can be used during the interview process to draw attention to your skills; such as attention to detail, team work ethic etc.

This isn’t an exhaustive list however please remember, a CV is looked at and a decision is made within 60 seconds of reading the first line, so put your most relevant experience for a position at the top of your CV and keep none essential information to a minimum.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Tailor a CV to the position you are applying for- Not only will this increase your chances of a successful application but it will also help you understand how suitable you are for a position.
  • Aim for a 2-page CV in total- This isn’t always exactly true, however if you are writing a CV and have a large amount of experience, it may be worth writing a cover letter and supporting information as separate documents.
  • Ensure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes- after all the hard work you have put in to writing a CV, the last thing you need is spelling and grammar mistakes to take the shine off your good work.

Hopefully you have found this guide helpful, but if you need further help formatting your CV, please take a look at our CV template.

You do the Science, we provide the Solutions.