How to Write a CV
What is a CV?
A CV is a document that introduces and ‘sells’ you to a potential new employer.
It should provide a summary of your skills, personal qualities, education and experience relevant to the job you are applying for.
The do's and don'ts of writing your CV
Spend some time writing your CV - a well written CV gives a good first impression to your potential employer.
Focus on keeping your CV short - no longer than two pages of A4. Don’t worry if it’s shorter than this, as long as what you write is clearly written, related to the job you are applying for and without spelling or grammar mistakes.
Carefully read the job description and person specification for the job you are applying for as it will give you a better idea of what skills, qualifications or education you should be focussing on writing about in your CV.
Divide your CV into clear sections and write in a font size and type that is easy to read.
Follow a CV template (you can find some links to these at the bottom of this page) as it will help you to cover all the important information that you need to put across.
Ask someone else to read over your CV once you have written it to see if they can clearly understand it and to see if they notice any mistakes that you might have missed.
It is best not to have one CV that you use for many different applications as this type of CV will be too general and unfocused and will not make a good impression. If you are applying for different types of jobs then customise your CV for each one.
Try to avoid writing too much and crowding the paper with words. An uncluttered appearance with short, well-thought-out paragraphs will make your CV clearer and easier to read.
It is not necessary to include a photo of yourself or to ‘jazz up’ your CV with creative fonts or pictures (unless you are going for a creative or design-focussed job).
What to include on your CV
This includes your name, address, telephone number and email address.
A description of positive personal qualities that make you stand-out. This might include a short statement about being reliable, adaptable or hard-working. In addition to this, you can mention what your career goals might be or what you are hoping to achieve by working in the job you are applying for.
This is where you outline, in date order starting from the most recent, your work experience or previous employment. In this section, you want to state who you worked for, what your role was and what you achieved in that role or what your duties involved. It is good to give specific examples where possible and link them to the job that you are applying for. For example, for a retail job, you might want to mention some details about previous retail responsibilities that you had, such as: ‘I was responsible for clearing the stock room and I introduced a new system of organisation that helped to reduce waste by 50%’.
If you have experience in many different types of job roles, make any experience that you have in the same industry as the job you are applying for more visible on your CV. For example, if you were applying for a care worker position and had experience in the care home industry but you also had experience in retail, you would want to make your care homework more visible on your CV than the retail experience. You might want to do this by splitting up the work experience section of your CV into two different categories ‘relevant work experience’ (where you list all the experience you have that is directly related to the job you are applying for) and ‘additional experience’ (where you list any other jobs you’ve had).
If you are older and have a great deal of experience in a variety of different industries, consider including only the most recent and most relevant jobs that you have held - no need to mention the paper round you did whilst in your teenage years for example!
In this section you would list and date all previous education, including professional qualifications, placing the most recent first.
Hobbies and Interests
Including a section like this at the end of your CV helps your potential employer learn more about you as a person. Mention things that you like to do in your spare time. For example, if you are applying to work in a cafe you might want to say that you cook or bake in your spare time.
It is not necessary to include details of referees (people who can provide evidence about your previous employment or character) on your CV unless the job advert has asked you to do so.
CV template links
Here are some helpful links to a range of different CV templates that you can use as a guide to get started on creating your CV: