The Student Column: 10 top tips on how to compile an impressive CV

Jordan Jacobs studied Law at the University of Warwick, and is currently a trainee solicitor at Davis Polk. Here, he shares with us his advice on how to compile a knockout CV.

1) Presentation

Your CV must be clear, professional and uncluttered. If it is unstructured, this will leave a negative first impression and may suggest that you haven’t spent enough time working on your CV.

2) Balance

You should aim for the right mix of information, spread between your academics, work experience, awards and other activities. You want to give evidence that you are a balanced person who can perform well academically, that you have a range of experiences, but that you are also engaged in extra-curricular activities.

3) Keep it relevant

You only have one or two sides of A4 on which to write your CV. You need to pick what experience and information is relevant to the specific role you are applying for. Think about what the recruiter wants to know.

4) Explain

Don’t just list your experiences. Elaborate on your role, what you learnt and, if you have space, how that is relevant to the role you are applying for. Be concise as space is limited. Do not change the font and margins in order to increase the word count.

5) Attention to detail

It will not reflect well on you if there are mistakes in your CV. Read, re-read and re-read it again.

6) Get the basics right

Remember to include what dates you are graduating and information such as your grades and email address. Make sure you use a professional email address.

7) Experience

Draw on a wide range of experiences, even if they are not directly related to the role you are applying for. It demonstrates that you can take the initiative and have developed transferable skills which you can use in your future career.

8) Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Asking a friend, career advisor or family member to look over your CV can be invaluable. They can highlight which areas could be improved and a fresh pair of eyes are likely to identify any mistakes.

9) Formatting

Send your CV as a PDF and not in a Word document. Sometimes Word documents have tracked changes on them, allowing the recruiter to see your edits.

10) Follow the instructions

Has the recruiter asked for a 1-page or 2-page CV? Have they asked for any specific information? Make sure your CV contains everything that has been asked of you.