Need some ideas on how to start?
Have a look at our sample CVs
Why write a CV
It's never too early to start drafting a CV, and in fact you should be constantly updating yours to ensure you're ready to apply for the next amazing opportunity to come your way.
The key factors for a successful CV
- Well researched and tailored for the purpose (job type, employer or postgraduate course)
- 100% accuracy in spelling and grammar
- 1 or 2 full A4 pages
- Minimum 12 font type (if using Times New Roman)
Give your CV some style
There are different styles of CV you can use as a guideline and we have some examples of each to give you an idea. Avoid using CV wizard tools, paying someone to construct your CV or copying one of our templates as this will never do you justice. Styles and approaches to consider are
- Chronological (reverse) traditional style CV
- Skills based CV
- Academic CV
Some ideas for headings and content
Personal details: name, address, telephone and email address should normally be enough (nationality and gender are optional)
Personal profile/career objective: we don't recommend including this on your CV. Instead, information about your career focus and/or current aims, plus, evidence of two or three main strengths should be included in your covering letter. The only time this heading might be appropraite would be if you are giving your CV to an employment agency.
Education: stated in reverse chronological order, with your most recent experiences first, back to your secondary education - include university and school names, town, dates, degree subject (class attained/expected)
Employment/work experience (most recent first): describe your responsibilities and achievements in the role (for basic jobs too), and illustrate where skills were used or developed. If appropriate have separate sections for experience 'relevant' to the post and 'other' work experience
Skills: your skills are very important to employers. You may include reference to skills development in the information you supply about your previous employment or you can include a separate skills section allowing you to list the skills sought for any given job and provide clear evidence of how you have developed these. This can include references to education, employment, hobbies and interests.
Responsibilities and Activities/Interests: you can use these sections to demonstrate that you're motivated to pursue other activities and have an interest in a relevant career. Don't just list… describe your involvement, emphasise your achievements and keep it recent and relevant.
- Two referees are the norm, one academic and one work-related, or a character referee if allowed.
- Provide their title, full contact address, phone number and email.
- Always ask their permission and keep them informed of your career aspirations and achievements to date. Download a template for this
- If referees' details are not explicitly requested, it's acceptable to state 'References available upon request'.
Get some feedback
If you want to get some feedback on how your CV looks and how you might improve it, bring a paper copy with you to the Careers Service and book a time to see the Duty Adviser.
Our virtual library contains a wide range of up to date and recommended materials to help you further in your career-related activities. This section allows you to link to the resources we have available on CV Writing.