Writing a CV

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A CV (Curriculum Vitae), also called a résumé in the US, is a record of information tells an employer about you and your experience. The purpose of a CV is to 'sell' you to an employer. Usually you're asked to include a cover letter alongside your CV, so check out our tips for writing a cover letter.

You can send a CV and letter to an employer you'd like to work for, even if they are not advertising this is known as applying ‘speculatively’ or ‘on spec’.

What should a CV look like?

There's no correct way of constructing a CV, and you may have your own personal style, but here's some things to consider:

  • Ideally it should be no longer than 2 sides of A4 paper
  • It should be clear and well presented (headings, bullet points...)
  • Your CV should be typed so it's easy to read and easy to update
  • Use an easy to read font in an appropriate size

You should always ask someone to proof read your CV, they may notice a mistake you've missed!

Read our guide to writing a CV

Things you should include in a CV

Personal Details

  • Your name
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Contact details: email address and phone number

Education and qualifications

  • Your qualifications and the level at which you achieved them
  • Your start and end date of study
  • Where you achieved your qualifications from

Tip: Start with your current or most recent education/qualifications.

Employment and work experience

  • The name of your employment and your job role
  • The start and end dates of your employment
  • What your role entailed

Tip: Start with your current or most recent employment or work experience.
You should also include any volunteering and work experience in this section.

Interests

This is so the employer knows you're a real person! They like to know what hobbies and interests you have outside of work.

References

You should include at least two references, and make sure you ask permission before you include someone as a referee!

You may wish to add other things to a CV, such as a personal profile, key skills and achievements and personal qualities.

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