There are many different roles in the civil service, offering a lifetime of progression and opportunity.
The civil service has unique and systematic recruitment processes which requires the demonstration of key skills and aptitudes within your CV and application.
In this guide we provide you with an example civil service CV, and cover everything you need to include and demonstrate to secure that all important interview.
- Civil service CV examples
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
- Skills required for your Civil service CV
Civil service CV example 1 – Policy officer
Civil service CV example 2 – Administrator
This example CV demonstrates how to effectively structure and format your own Civil service CV, so that it can be easily digested by busy employers, and quickly prove why you are the best candidate for the jobs you are applying to.
It also gives you a good idea of the type of skills, experience and qualifications that you need to be including and highlighting.
Civil service CV structure & format
If they can find the information they need quickly, they’ll be happy; but if they struggle, your application could be overlooked.
A simple and logical structure will always create a better reading experience than a complex structure, and with a few simple formatting tricks, you’ll be good to go. Check them out below:
- Length: Whether you’ve got one year or three decades of experience, your CV should never be more than two sides of A4. Recruiters are busy people who’re often juggling numerous roles and tasks, so they don’t have time to read lengthy applications. If you’re a recent graduate or don’t have much industry experience, one side of A4 is fine.
- Readability: By clearly formatting your section headings (bold, or a different colour font, do the trick) and breaking up big chunks of text into snappy bullet points, time-strapped recruiters will be able to skim through your CV with ease.
- Design: Your CV needs to look professional, sleek and easy to read. A subtle colour palette, clear font and simple design are generally best for this, as fancy designs are often harder to navigate.
- Avoid photos: Recruiters can’t factor in appearance, gender or race into the recruitment process, so a profile photo is totally unnecessary. Additionally, company logos or images won’t add any value to your application, so you’re better off saving the space to showcase your experience instead.
Structuring your CV
When writing your CV, break up the content into the following key sections, to ensure it can be easily digested by busy recruiters and hiring managers:
- Contact details – Always list these at the very top of your CV – you don’t want them to be missed!
- Profile – An introductory paragraph, intended to grab recruiters attention and summarise your offering.
- Work experience / career history – Working from your current role and working backwards, list your relevant work experience.
- Education – Create a snappy summary of your education and qualifications.
- Interest and hobbies – An optional section to document any hobbies that demonstrate transferable skills.
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Begin by sharing your contact details, so it’s easy for employers to give you a call.
Keep to the basics, such as:
- Mobile number
- Email address – It should sound professional, with no slang or nicknames. Make a new one for your job applications if necessary.
- Location – Simply share your vague location, for example ‘Manchester’, rather than a full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Remember to update them before you send your application.
Civil service CV Profile
Recruiters and hiring managers are busy, so it’s essential to catch their attention from the get-go.
It should be a short but punchy summary of your key skills, relevant experience and accomplishments.
Ultimately, it should explain why you’re a great fit for the role you’re applying for and inspire recruiters to read the rest of your CV.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: The best CV profiles are short, sharp and highly relevant to the target role. For this reason, it’s best to write 3-4 lines of high-level information, as anything over might be missed.
- Tailor it: Before writing your CV, make sure to do some research. Figure out exactly what your desired employers are looking for and make sure that you are making those requirements prominent in your CV profile, and throughout.
- Don’t add an objective: Leave your career objectives or goals out of your profile. You only have limited space to work with, so they’re best suited to your cover letter.
- Avoid cliches: If there’s one thing that’ll annoy a recruiter, it’s a clichè-packed CV. Focus on showcasing your hard skills, experience and the results you’ve gained in previous roles, which will impress recruiters far more.
What to include in your Civil service CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Demonstrate your suitability for your target jobs by giving a high level summary of your previous work experience, including the industries you have worked in, types of employer, and the type of roles you have previous experience of.
- Relevant skills: Employers need to know what skills you can bring to their organisation, and ideally they want to see skills that match their job vacancy. So, research your target roles thoroughly and add the most important Civil service skills to your profile.
- Essential qualifications: If the jobs you are applying to require candidates to have certain qualifications, then you must add them in your profile to ensure they are seen by hiring managers.
Quick tip: Even the best of writers can overlook typos and spelling mistakes. Whilst writing your CV, use a free writing assistant tool, such as Grammarly, to help you avoid any silly errors.
Core skills section
Underneath your profile, create a core skills section to make your most relevant skills jump off the page at readers.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points of your relevant skills.
Before you do this, look over the job description and make a list of any specific skills, specialisms or knowledge required.
Then, make sure to use your findings in your list. This will paint you as the perfect match for the role.
Work experience/Career history
By now, you’ll have hooked the reader’s attention and need to show them how you apply your skills and knowledge in the workplace, to benefit your employers.
So, starting with your most recent role and working backwards to your older roles, create a thorough summary of your career history to date.
If you’ve held several roles and are struggling for space, cut down the descriptions for your oldest jobs.
Structuring your roles
Recruiters will be keen to gain a better idea of where you’ve worked and how you apply your skill-set in the workplace.
However, if they’re faced with huge, hard-to-read paragraphs, they may just gloss over it and move onto the next application.
To avoid this, use the simple 3-step role structure, as shown below:
Provide a brief overview of the job as a whole, such as what the overriding purpose of your job was and what type of company you worked for.
“Responsible for researching and advising senior government officials on existing and upcoming policies and legislation, for the Local Government.”
Next up, you should write a short list of your day-to-day duties within the job.
Recruiters are most interested in your sector-specific skills and knowledge, so highlight these wherever possible.
- Engaging with senior government officials to influence policies and procedures
- Project managing several multi-disciplinary projects to time and within budgetary constraints
- Developing guidance documentation in line with government policy, to assist with new legislation
Round up each role by listing 1-3 key achievements, accomplishments or results.
Wherever possible, quantify them using hard facts and figures, as this really helps to prove your value.
- Assisted in the creation of the 2018 Environmental Impact policy, including drafting the final policy for approval and writing all associated guidance documentation.
- Advised on the proposed changes to the production of wind turbines within the 2019 Renewable Energy policy, resulting in an overall cost saving of £72,000 per annum.
Next up, you should list your education and qualifications.
This can include your formal qualifications (a degree, A-Levels and GCSEs), as well as sector-specific Civil service qualifications and/or training.
While school leavers and recent grads should include a lot of detail here to make up for the lack of work experience, experienced candidates may benefit from a shorter education section, as your work experience section will be more important to recruiters.
Interests and hobbies
This section is entirely optional, so you’ll have to use your own judgement to figure out if it’s worth including.
If your hobbies and interests could make you appear more suitable for your dream job, then they are definitely worth adding.
Interests which are related to the industry, or hobbies like sports teams or volunteering, which display valuable transferable skills might be worth including.
Essential skills for your Civil service CV
Tailoring your CV to the roles you are applying for is key to success, so make sure to read through the job descriptions and tailor your skills accordingly.
However, commonly desired Civil service skills include:
Success profile skills – Throughout your CV, ensure that you demonstrate skills within the five areas of the success profile: ability; technical, behaviours, experience and strengths.
Information processing – Demonstrate your ability to follow protocol with confidence and accuracy.
Customer service – The ability to handle enquiries professionally, from internal departments and external users must be clearly showcased on your CV.
Research – Your CV should demonstrate research skills and how you utilise these to greatest effect.
Administration – Skills within administration need to be listed on your CV from accurate paperwork completion to report writing and IT knowledge.
Writing your Civil service CV
Creating a strong Civil service CV requires a blend of punchy content, considered structure and format, and heavy tailoring.
By creating a punchy profile and core skills list, you’ll be able to hook recruiter’s attention and ensure your CV gets read.
Remember that research and relevance is the key to a good CV, so research your target roles before you start writing and pack your CV with relevant skills.
Best of luck with your next application!