Youth Unemployment: What does your CV say about you?

Posted February 28, 2013 by Becca Taylor in Comment

It’s official: unemployment is down, and the UK boasts the highest rate of employment since 1971.

However, youth unemployment remains a real issue for the government, with nearly one million young people out of work.

To me, it seems these figures don’t add up. If so many people can get work, why do we still have an issue with young people being out of work for long periods of time?

In my current role, I was entrusted with creating the shortlist of applicants for new job roles. I saw a range of CVs, from graduates and non-graduates, as well as a range of ages (around early 20s right up to mid-50s). Each CV brought a diverse skillset and great experience, but there were so many things that stopped people getting through round one.

Your CV is the first chance an employer has to get to know you. They see so many for each job (especially at Costa) and there’s often a very simple reason to go along with getting knocked out in the first round.

1. Get the employer’s name and company right: it shouldn’t be difficult, but make sure you double check the names before you send off a cover letter.

2. Spelling and grammar: This came up time and again. Poor spelling and grammatical errors will see your CV head straight for the bin, even if you’re told it’s ‘on their records’.

3. Poor formatting: Your CV doesn’t have to be a work of art, but if you’re going to create a theme, keep it going throughout. Don’t start with one kind of font, bullet point style or numbering only to change it half way through. It makes your CV look careless, and if you don’t care before you get the job, it’s hard to believe you’ll care after.

We had a chat with a top TV producer, who gave her tips on crafting the perfect CV. She said: “Be sure to make your CV specific to roles you are applying for.

“Write a paragraph about yourself at the top, and don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet.

“But you must as be very specific to the job or company you are applying to – make sure you highlight the skills and interests that work for them.

“Keep your cover letter brief and to the point, and be brave – ask for meetings when you’re in the area, or for a phone interview. Confidence is key.”

Finally, try to be careful about the jobs you apply to. Don’t waste your time applying for hundreds of jobs you’re not interested in, as you’ll only end up disheartened with a lack of interviews. Take time to read the job descriptions of jobs you’re genuinely interested in and then spend time writing a cover letter and editing your CV according to the job you want. Passion and ability will come through on a well-written cover letter!

So there you have it – master the CV and start ironing your suit for those interviews!

About the Author

Becca Taylor

22 year old politics graduate, interests in current affairs, sports, and arts and entertainments. Contributing and subediting for INN and blogging at