CV writing isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. However, if you want your dream actuarial job, then you will have to spend a fair amount of time perfecting your CV writing process. So how do you write the perfect CV? In this article, we are going to look at writing the perfect CV including how to prepare, what you should include and the different ways you may want to layout your CV.
How to I prepare to write my CV?
You may think that this process doesn’t need much preparation, but writing an effective CV involves at least some preparation beforehand.
Before you start, you should have a plan of what you want to say and if necessary, write a few notes down as a rough draft. You should always have up to date information so make sure that you have your grades close by in case you need them. Your CV should be tailored to each job you are applying for so print off the job description and any information about the company that you think may be of use when you are writing your CV.
How do I write the perfect CV?
Now you have a plan of what you want to write and all the relevant information to hand, it’s time to write your CV.
Summary statements and profiles
Summary statements and profiles are commonly used at the beginning of a CV and provide a clear statement of what you have to offer and how you are hoping your career will progress. This section is designed to grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to keep reading.
While this statement goes at the start of your CV, you should write it last as you can draw on points you have made throughout. Keep this statement brief and interesting, it should really be no more than a few lines of text.
How should I layout my CV?
There are a few ways you can layout your CV, and which one you choose is dependent on what you feel is most important to demonstrate.
If you are a graduate, then the chances are you will want to use a chronological CV. This is the most commonly used format and lists all employment and education in chronological order. A chronological CV will work in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experience at the beginning and will work backwards. The order of information for a chronological CV should be as follows:
- Personal Details
If you are applying for a graduate job, then you will want to put your qualifications first as this is predominantly what graduate employers are looking for.
Talk briefly about your degree and the skills you learnt whilst at university. If you were involved with any societies then here is also a good time to talk about them. Refer back to the job application and make sure that you are highlighting all the skills they are asking for.
Did you learn any specific skills during your time at university? For example, did you learn to use any computer software or programmes that may come in handy in the job you are applying for? Any training that you may have already received either at university or through any volunteering or work experience should be highlighted here.
As you are a graduate, you may not have had a huge amount of work experience. Therefore, you should highlight your responsibilities and achievements of the work experience you do have. This should include any work experience or internships you took part in whilst at university.
If you had a part-time job as a student, try and think of any skills you learnt while you were there. Working in a supermarket might not seem relevant to working as an actuary but you will have gained communication skills and, if you did things such as stock takes and cashing up at the end of the day, then be sure to mention this.
Graduate employers don’t just want to see what technical knowledge you have, they also want to find out more about you as a person. They want to be able to see themselves working with you so now is your chance to tell them about what you do in your spare time.
If you do any volunteering now is the time to mention it. Explain your responsibilities and the skills you have learnt or developed.
Other ways to layout your CV
If you don’t want to layout your CV chronologically then you do have other options.
A skills based CV
This type of CV emphasises your skills and achievements. If you are changing industry or have changed jobs frequently then you may want to opt for this type of CV. However, if you want to highlight career progression or don’t have much work experience (and therefore not as many skills based achievements) then a skills based CV may not play to your strengths.
A combined CV
A combined CV is perfect if you can’t decide between a chronological CV or a skills based CV as it combines the two together. This is right for you if you want to sell your strengths as well as your experience. However, these CV’s can be longer than your standard two pages therefore if you are a fan of concise CV’s this isn’t the CV for you. This also applies if you have little experience or some gaps in your employment.
You can read more about the different ways you can layout your CV here.
Hopefully this has given you some idea of how to write the perfect CV. As long as you answer the job application, highlight all your relevant skills and are concise, then your CV will be ready to send off to graduate employers.