Unlock your potential in lockdown (part 3): Perfect time for a CV make-over

Whatever stage you’re at in your career journey, there’ll come a time when you need a CV – for a part-time job; to accompany a further study application; as a speculative approach to a company or an application for another type of job opportunity.

Even if you don’t need one right now, drafting the basics now means you can use it to:

  • form the basis of your Handshake and/or LinkedIn profile
  • have somewhere to record your experience, skills and achievements
  • give you something to build on when the time comes to make an application
  • help prompt your memory when completing application forms for jobs and/or the York Award

The blank page

If you’re starting from scratch, it can be a bit daunting to write a CV. Where to start? How to structure it? What to include? Should I leave anything out?

The temptation can be to seek out a CV template. This is understandable, but a CV is a personal and subjective document and needs to reflect you and your experience. Some templates might constrain you or not show off your achievements as well as they should.

It’s fine to start with a basic, conventional-looking CV, including sections on education, (work) experience, achievements/awards, skills, interests. This type might be the most appropriate format for some jobs and opportunities. Even if it isn’t (a skills-based may be better, for example), it still has all the information recorded for you to adapt and use in a different layout.

Take a look at the How to write a CV page for more information about different formats (there are samples of different types that may give you some ideas). The page also has general advice and tips, a video and further resources to help you.


Once you’ve drafted something (it doesn’t have to be the finished product), you’ll probably want to get some feedback on it to see where you can improve and enhance it further.

CareerSet is a great resource to turn to. You simply login with your University username and upload your CV. You’ll get a percentage score and receive instant feedback, highlighting what’s good about it and where you might fine tune to better effect.

You can apply the feedback and upload your CV as many times as you want, as students can use CareerSet to refine their CV, as they improve their score.  

Remember though, this AI-powered feedback tool may suggest things that aren’t entirely applicable to you, so you don’t have to implement every bit of feedback. Also, you can have a very good, effective CV without necessarily scoring 100%. So, use CareerSet as it’s intended – to help you improve your CV as you go. 

One final word on CareerSet – it’s also got a really useful function that allows you to upload a job description as well as your CV. It will then check whether your CV is answering the job description with the relevant skills and experience.

Drafting or tweaking your existing CV is a practical task you can undertake now and one which will help you along the way. So, give it a go this coming vacation.