Skip to Content

How to write a good CV

Your CV is your chance to show a potential employer that you’re the right person for the job, so it’s important to ensure it’s well-laid out, easy to read and, most importantly, that it sells you.

Clear layout

Make sure your CV is laid out in clear, distinct sections and is easy to read. Choose a clear font and make sure your text size is no smaller than 11pt.

Highlight lists and key skills with bullet points, and embolden or underline the title of each section so that employers can easily find the information they’re looking for.

Most CVs are split into the following seven sections:

  • Name and contact information
  • A personal statement
  • Key skills
  • Work experience
  • Education and qualifications
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Referees.

Although there are no clear rules, this is the most widely-accepted order.

Sell yourself

Employers may not have more than a few minutes (or even seconds) to look at your CV, so make it clear what you have to offer from the very beginning.

A succinct personal statement listing what you can do and what you’re looking for should make it instantly clear to employers why you’re right for the role.

Make sure you tweak your personal statement for each job you apply for to make sure that it’s tailored to the role.

Promote your skills

Highlight your relevant skills and achievements, and keep them relevant to the job you’re applying for.

If it’s a role in computing, list all the software packages you’re proficient in, or if you’re applying for a sales role, you might like to list the most significant targets you achieved or the management of a team.

Elaborate on relevant experience

List your previous experience in reverse chronological order.

Think about transferrable skills like time management, teamwork and organisation, and talk about how you applied them in each role.

You can also use this space to elaborate on your achievements, such as negotiating a successful contract or increasing sales figures.

Education and qualifications

These should be listed in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent course of study and ending with your secondary school.

Include the names of each institution you attended, as well as the dates you were there.

You can also list any other training courses you’ve attended, such as computer courses or languages.

Things to avoid

Keep to two pages. This is the ideal length and employers could quickly lose interest if they have to thumb-through pages of information.

Avoid writing ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ on your CV – it should be obvious what it is.

Always check it very carefully for spelling or grammatical errors.

Use good-quality white paper and print each page on a different sheet of paper rather than back-to-back.

You don’t need to list your date of birth, gender, marital status or religion.

Do not include salary details or reasons for leaving your previous employment, as it is more likely that these will be discussed at the interview stage.