How to write a CV

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What is a CV?

A CV is a short, written summary of your skills, achievements and experience.
You use it in the first stage of applying for jobs.
Employers often ask for a CV instead of an application form.
A CV, is your first chance to promote yourself to an employer.
A good CV will get you to an interview.
Use it to apply for advertised jobs, or to introduce yourself to employers you’d like to work for.

Contents of a CV

Contact details

 
You’ll need to include:
  • your name at the top of your document – no need to add CV or curriculum vitae
  • your full address and
  • postcode
  • telephone or mobile number – give the number you’re most likely to be available on during the working day
  • email address – always use a professional sounding email address
Leave out details like your age, date of birth, marital status and nationality. These are not required.
If you have a profile on a professional social media site like LinkedIn, you can add a link to it on your CV.

Personal Profile

 
This is a few short lines that sum up who you are and what you hope to do. Think about the job you want and what the employer is looking for. Make your profile sound like you’re the right person for the job.

Work experience history

 
Include work placements, volunteering and any paid jobs you’ve held. You’ll need to give details of:
  • the employer, with most recent first
  • the title of the job
  • the dates you worked
  • a brief outline of what you did – usually 2 to 3 lines
Use active words to highlight your strengths and skills for example, ‘organised’, ‘created’, ‘built’, ‘managed’ or ‘planned’.

Hobbies interests or achievements

 
Use examples that show you have skills that are relevant to the job. This section is useful if you do not have much work experience.

References

 
You can leave out the details of your references at this point. The recruiter will ask for these when you get through to the next stage.

CV Writing Tips

Employers get lots of CVs to look at and have to decide quickly who they are going to interview. Here are some tips to make your CV stand out for all the right reasons.
When writing your CV remember:
  • research the company and the job before you start
  • word-process your CV and use clear lettering like Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri, size 11 or bigger – always use the same style throughout
    use headings, bullet points and spacing to break information up to make it easier to read
  • keep it to 2 sides of A4
  • be clear and to the point
  • match the words you use to the keywords in the job description or advert
  • get someone else to read it to double check your spelling and grammar
  • save a copy, including a final pdf version for emailing
  • always send your CV with a cover letter