How to Write a CV

A well-crafted CV can go a long way in helping you secure your desired role. It’s responsible for first impressions, and it often determines whether or not you’ll progress through to an interview stage.

So, with this in mind, we decided to pull together a guide filled with top tips on creating a compelling CV. We’ll cover the basics of how to write a CV, as well as how to showcase your unique education, work experience, and skills.

What is a CV?

First things first, exactly what is a CV? And what does CV stand for? Well, a CV (short for curriculum vitae) is a document which displays your professional history, academic background, and specific skill set.

It’s used when applying for jobs of all kinds, from entry-level roles, right through to senior positions. In short, a CV is a concise document which accurately summarises your unique experience.

What should I include in a CV?

Deciding what to include in a CV can be a daunting task. With so many resources out there, as well as heaps of information to condense into a single document, it can be hard to even know where to begin.

To help, below we’ve highlighted some key things to include when writing your CV:

1. Contact information

At the top of your CV, you should clearly present your contact information, including your full name, phone number, and email address.

Depending on the roles you’re applying for, some people also choose to include a link to their LinkedIn profile too. This provides potential employers with easy access to more in-depth information. And, if you’re wondering how to add a CV to LinkedIn, simply upload it through the settings menu.

2. Education history

Your education history is another key section to include. You’ll want to outline any academic qualifications you hold, starting with your most recent at the top.

Include details such as:

  • The title of your qualification (whether this is a GCSE, A-Level, or university degree).

  • The date you obtained it.

  • The institution where you studied.

  • Your achieved grade.

3. Work experience

For your work experience history, you should record your previous roles in reverse chronological order. In this section, include job titles, company names, and the dates of employment. Then, you’ll need to outline each role’s main responsibilities.

A top tip when it comes to writing about your previous roles is to make use of action words. For instance, start your bullet points with phrases such as ‘managed’, ‘implemented’, ‘organised’, and ‘created’.

This helps to effectively highlight your skills, and it means that potential employers can easily identify why you might be a good fit for the role.

Finally, many people also choose to include a section on their key proficiencies, as well as any additional notable achievements. This can help you stand out from the crowd in a sea of applications!

What format should my CV be?

There are various CV formats;

  • chronological CVs

  • education first CVs

  • experience led CVs.

Which one you should go for all depends on your unique situation, as well as the role you’re applying for.

For instance, for graduates with little work experience, putting your education at the top is a great idea. This allows you to showcase your recent achievements to employers.

Whereas if you’ve got a fairly lengthy working history, leading with your experience is your best bet.

There are also the questions of how long should a CV be, and how many pages should a CV be? Well, no more than two sides of A4 is a general guide to follow. However, there are variations when it comes to this. For instance, if you’re a school leaver, you may only need one side of A4, and a more senior employee might need additional pages.

How to write a CV with no experience

Job searching can feel even more daunting when you don’t have the necessary experience to flesh out your CV. So, we’ve come up with some handy tips to help you.

First thing’s first, make a list of any transferable skills you have (including both soft and hard skills) such as research, communication, and organisation skills. Once you start jotting some down, you’ll probably be surprised with the amount you come up with!

Next, when crafting a CV for a specific role, you’ll want to perfect a short, snappy, personal statement. This should encapsulate who you are, as well as what makes you a great candidate. Keep this concise and be clear about what you bring to the table.

Should I include a cover letter?

Cover letters are key when it comes to expressing your interest in a role, as well as why you’re a fantastic fit. Many hiring managers rely on cover letters to gain more information about applicants, so it’s a key counterpart to your CV.

Top tips for creating a compelling CV:

  • Tailor your CV to each application: A top tip is to bring up the job description, and carefully think about how your skills align with it. Then include these skills in your CV to show employers why you’re a perfect fit.

  • Keep it up to date: Ensure your CV is up to date, and that it showcases your most recent skills, qualifications, and achievements.

  • Proofread before submitting: Always proofread your CV before submitting it to a potential employer. Attention to detail is key, and an accurate CV can help you stand out. Give it a thorough read through, then ask a friend or family member to do the same.

  • Make sure it’s easy to read: In terms of the language you use, be specific, concise, and intentional. Also, use a clear, professional font, and make use of headings, bullet points, and bolding.

Crafting a compelling CV takes time, dedication, and focus, but it’s crucial if you’re hoping to secure a new job. Whether you’re submitting it online, or dropping by in person, you should ensure your CV reflects your experience and skill set accurately!

We’ve got plenty more insights on all things work over on our blog. So, why not check out our guide on flexible working requests, or read about how to ask your boss for an advance?

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