How to write your CV

How to write your CV

When applying for a new job, writing a good CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is crucial. Your CV is a prospective employer’s first impression of you, and first impressions count. The quality of your CV can make or break your chance of an interview, and it shows what makes you perfect for the job. A credible CV is something to spend time on, and here, we explain how best to compile a CV that will get a prospective employer to take notice of you.

Contact details

Most CVs follow a standard format. The first section will be your contact details. You may want to post a link to any professional social media like LinkedIn but there is no need to include personal details such as your religion or marital status. It is not standard practice to include a photograph in this section but some people choose to, and as long as the image is professional then that choice is up to you.

Personal statement

Your personal statement is a summary of who you are and what skills you have to offer in this position. Attempt to explain why you would be an asset to the company you are applying to join. You may wish to include a summary of what you hope to achieve in your career. Although the tone should remain formal, this is a good section to allow your personality to shine through.

Employment history

The employment history section enables your prospective employer to see what jobs you have done previously, including work experience but they won’t be interested in looking back further than a decade. List your most recent jobs first. Make it clear what your job title was and the dates you worked there. Using bullet points here is helpful. Include your duties and responsibilities and try to highlight responsibilities that would also fit with the job that you are applying for.

Education and training

As with your employment history, list your most recent qualification first. Use bullet points and ensure you add in the school, university or institution that you studied at and the level you achieved. If your degree or professional qualification is particularly relevant, it can also be helpful to list some of the modules that the employer would be most interested in or would be most relevant to the role you are applying for.


In this section you are aiming to create a picture of your wider life outside of formal qualifications. What you include here is personal preference, but you may wish to write about any promotions you were particularly proud of at work, community projects, volunteer work or sporting achievements. Show your employer that you are an enthusiastic and well-rounded person with a list of successful achievements to your name.

Hobbies and interests

This section is non-essential, however, it is useful in helping you to build up a picture of yourself for the employer. Choose to talk about interesting hobbies and hobbies that could relate back to the industry that you’re trying to gain employment into.


In most cases, your referees would be your last employer or your teacher or tutor if you have just finished in education. You can state that references are available on request or if you prefer you can list the name, position, address, and phone number of your referee depending on whether you are happy for your referees to be contacted straight away.

Gaps in your CV

Many people have a period of unemployment or have perhaps been away traveling. The important thing is to explain these gaps honestly. Gaps are legitimate and may even work to enhance your CV if you have been out of work doing something interesting and life-enhancing. Try to include skills that you have learnt during your gaps which may include financial planning, adaptability or time management perhaps. If you have been ill and this is the reason for your gap, be honest, assuming that the illness won’t affect your ability to do your job. State that you have now returned to full health and are ready and fit to go back to work full stop

Other hints and tips

You should try to keep your CV to no longer than two sides of A4 paper. Even if you have a long and interesting educational and work history, you need to summarise the most important bits. If you are successful you can elaborate on these points at interview. It is absolutely essential to proofread your CV before sending it out to apply for any jobs. Ask somebody else to look at it too as mistakes are not looked upon kindly by employers! These days you will most commonly be sending your CV electronically so when saving and sure that the format is universally accessible to avoid prospective and plays having any issues with opening the file.

The main points to keep in mind are to tailor your CV to each individual application, and show that the skills and achievements you are writing about are a good fit with the job you are applying for. Keep your CV up-to-date and refresh it regularly. Make sure it is accurate clean and tidy and hopefully the interview requests will soon start rolling in.

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