Are you searching for a job in the civil service sector in the UK? If so, you know that the competition is tough, and finding a way to stand out in your application is crucial to success. One of the best ways to do that is by having a strong, well-written curriculum vitae, or CV, that showcases your key skills and accomplishments. However, crafting an effective CV can be a challenging task, especially if you’re new to the civil service job market. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the essential components of a civil service CV and provide tips and tricks to help you create a winning document that will catch the eye of potential employers.
Understand the key characteristics of a civil service CV.
When writing a CV for a civil service job, follow a specific format that highlights relevant skills and experience. The civil service values diversity, so emphasise how your experiences and skills bring a unique perspective. Your CV should reflect the core values of honesty, integrity, impartiality, and objectivity. Show how you embody these values in work and personal life. Key areas to focus on: contact info, brief profile, work experience with achievements, education, and skills. Offer references upon request. Include a job title near the document’s header and ensure the CV is easy to read.
Focus on key skills and competencies.
One of the most important things to emphasise in your civil service CV is your relevant skills and competencies. Take a look at the job listing and note the required and desired skills and qualifications. If you have experience or education in those areas, be sure to highlight them on your CV. Additionally, consider addressing the following competencies: communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, and personal effectiveness. By showcasing your strengths in these areas, you’ll demonstrate that you are well-suited for the job.
Use clear, concise language and formatting.
Your CV should be easy to read and understand, so use simple, clear language in your descriptions of your skills and experiences. Avoid using jargon or acronyms that might be unfamiliar to the recruiter or reviewer. Additionally, formatting is key in a good CV. Use bullet points to make your descriptions clear and concise, and use headings and subheadings to break up the text. Make sure your font is easy to read and consistent throughout the document.
Here are 4 Tips you should follow regarding the formatting when writing your Civil Service CV:
- Use the right Font: Choosing the right font for your CV is extremely important as it is the main contributor to the document’s readability. Think about it: if a hiring manager has just read through 30 CVs before opening yours, you want to make yours as aesthetically pleasing as possible. However, you also want your CV to be unique, so it can be a tricky balance. Our recommended fonts to use for a civil service CV include:
- Calibri Light
Many of the best fonts used to write CVs are not available on MS Word by default, and they need to be downloaded onto your PC manually. Check out Fonts Geek for free fonts.
- Formatting must be uniform: Now that you have selected a font, you need to ensure the layout is uniform. Line spacing is important and should be uniform throughout. So what does this mean? Here are a few examples:
- Sections: If the spacing that divides the first two sections, for instance, skills and achievements, is 8pt, then the spacing between all sections should be 8pt.
- Inside sections: The spacing that separates paragraphs does not have to be 8pt; they could be 6pt or 7pt. That said, all paragraphs will also need to be uniform and separated by 6pt or 7pt-line spacing.
Find the right balance that suits you.
- The right length for your CV: Again, let’s consider the hiring manager; say a company advertises a job and receives 500 CVs in total, but only 10% get through to the hiring manager, that is still 50 CVs that need to be read.
As such, it is important to have a concise CV. Here are our guidelines:
- Graduate CV: 1 page
- Most CVs: 2 pages
- Executive CV: 3 pages
Keeping your CV within these thresholds will increase the chances of your CV being read in full.
- How To Structure Your Civil Service CV: Many CV formats include columns which may cause formatting issues that clash with ATS. Here is a simple and effective CV structure to follow for the civil service:
- Address, Postcode, Mobile, Email, LinkedIn
- Job title (You can have two)
- Work Experience (Chronological order)
- Earlier Work Experience (for jobs that ended more than 10 years ago)
- Courses and Certificates
- Personal Interests (If there is enough space)
- Name (If the CV is more than one page)
- Address, Postcode, Mobile, Email, LinkedIn
Following this structure should increase the chances of your CV being read by a hiring manager. However, you can play around and find something that suits you.
Be sure to include relevant experiences.
In your CV, highlight relevant professional or educational experiences that demonstrate your qualifications for the job you’re seeking. Be sure to include details about your job duties and responsibilities, as well as any accomplishments or successes you’ve had in your career thus far. These details can help set you apart from other candidates and showcase your unique strengths.
Create a tailored CV for each job application.
Finally, it’s essential to create a tailored CV for each job application. Read the job posting carefully and consider how your skills and experiences align with that specific role. Adjust your CV to emphasise the most relevant information and make sure everything you include is directly related to the role you’re seeking. By taking this extra time and effort, you’ll increase your chances of standing out in a crowded field of applicants.
Include the Job Title in Your CV
We are in the process of writing an article about ATS (Applicant Tracking System). That being said, if you do not have a relevant job title on your CV, the ATS system may prevent your civil service CV from getting through. So, if the job title is `Administrative Assistant` or `Senior Auditor`, you should have this exact text on your CV. This will ensure that your CV gets through the ATS system and in front of human eyes.
Civil Service CV Template
The template below provides an example of a well-crafted CV structure. Feel free to use this as a guide but for best results, reach out to Diamond CV for professional help.
When Is It Time to Update Your Civil Service CV?
We recommend keeping your CV updated, even if it means updating your achievements or responsibilities achieved through your current company. So schedule time every six months. You may also consider getting professional help to create the initial CV and keep that one up to date; that should give you a strong foundation.
Writing a Civil Service CV can be challenging as it involves a great deal of thought. A simple mistake can be the difference in whether it reaches the hiring manager or not. So, for the best results, reach out to Diamond CV, and we will provide a comprehensive review and personal action plan detailing the best route forward. Let us help you create a powerful CV.