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How to write your CV when applying for a job in the UK

Writing a great job application isn’t easy. When you’re trying to write one in a second language, that challenge becomes even greater.

Your CV is the first thing people look at when you apply for a job. It needs to make a great first impression to give you the best chance of landing a job. It doesn’t help that what is expected in a CV are varies across Europe.

Applying for jobs in the UK doesn’t need to be difficult however. We’ve put together a list of things to consider when putting together a CV for a role in the UK.

1. Pictures

Unlike in some European countries, most UK companies don’t necessarily expect to see a picture of you in your application. That said, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have one.

If you do decide to include your picture within your CV, make sure that it improves the way that you are portrayed. Pictures should be 1. Professional, 2. Appropriate, and 3. Give the right message about you.

Be smart. Don’t use pictures that you would expect to see on Facebook after an evening out. Instead, choose a photo that makes you look professional, friendly and trustworthy.

2. Writing too much, or not enough

What does your CV say about you? It needs to tell the company about what makes you special, including your education, experience, motivations, and skills.

Some people love to write about themselves and would happily write for hours and hours about everything they’ve done and learned. If you are one of those people – make sure your CV is no longer than 2 pages long, otherwise you risk your experiences not being seen.

At the same time, other people may struggle to write about themselves and their experiences. Graduates especially might struggle as they may not feel that they have much to write. Remember, you learn things every day whether you are in or out of work! So if you received an award at school, play a sport, or have an interesting hobby, don’t waste the opportunity to make yourself look great!

3. Translate

Writing a CV in a second-language would be hard for anyone, even for people who have years of English lessons to their name.

If you don’t think your English skills are good enough to make you sound as good as you are, then there’s no shame in asking for help. Ask English teachers, your friends or your family to help you write.

You can always use tools like Europass to create a CV, but make sure you take the extra step to make sure it looks professional and not rushed.

4. Profile

A good way to make a lasting impression is to include a quick profile or ‘personal statement’ in your application. In 2–3 sentences explain why you are ideal for the job and what makes you different from other applicants.

For example:

“I recently graduated from the University of Zaragoza, achieving a First Class Honours Degree in Veterinary Medicine. I want to launch my veterinary career with you because I want to use the knowledge and experience I have gained from my studies”

5. Write a cover letter

A great way to impress an employer is by writing a cover letter; it can show your passion and determination to succeed.

A well-written and passionate cover letter can be much more powerful than a CV. So if you are confident in your English ability, are passionate about the role and want to do some extra work to show employers why you deserve a job, then go for it. Mistakes are much more easily forgot when you put more work in!

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