What is a CV?

How to write a CV 

A CV is your chance to ‘sell’ yourself to an employer.  It is an advertisement for your skills and experience. First impressions are important! Your CV must:

  • Be clear, well laid out and well presented
  • Be word processed
  • Be a maximum of 2 sides of A4 paper
  • Be to the point and factual

Are there different types of CV?

There are different types of CV. We have some examples and templates on the website. You need to decide which type of CV is right for you – and for the job you are seeking. You may need to use different layouts and emphasise different skills. The site can help you with this.

What should I include on my CV?

Personal details

  • Your full name
  • Address
  • Telephone /mobile number
  • Email address

It's up to you whether you include your age, marital status and nationality

Personal profile

This needs to be a short statement about you - it should include something about you and your goals:

  • 4 or 5 lines is about right
  • Use positive words - we have some examples on the site to help you.
  • Look at the job description and use it as a guide to write this section

Education and qualifications

This section of your CV should start with your most recent and/or highest level of qualification:

  • Include the most relevant qualifications to the post you are applying for or for the type of job you are hoping to find.
  • Don’t fill the page with a list of qualifications. For example, if you have a degree you will not always need to enter all your GCSEs. (Unless the job requires you to have certain GCSE subjects such as Maths, English or Science).


Include any training have done relevant to the post you are seeking:

  • You can include informal training for example learning to paint and decorate at home or on-the-job training with an employer. You can also include more formal training for example an evening class or a short course taken while in work. But – keep it short and relevant!
  • Remember – if you say you can do something you may be asked about it at an interview!


This section allows you to outline the particular skills you have:

  • Focus on the skills required for the job. Check the job description or job advert.
  • Use bullet points
  • Be positive – we have some word on the site to help you
  • Remember – if you say you can do something you may be asked for evidence or more information at an interview

Employment and work experience

This section allows you to include all types of ‘work’. You can include paid work and any work experience you may have had. Don’t forget to include any voluntary work you may have done.

  • Include the name of your employer. You don’t need to include a full address
  • Include the dates during which you were employed.
  • Include some brief details of your role. Explain your duties and responsibilities. Write more detail about any roles that are relevant to job you are seeking.
  • Try not to leave gaps in your work history. If you do have gaps you need to explain them – be positive!

Additional information

Use this section to add any other information you feel may be relevant. You can include sports, community activities, interests, achievements, driving licence.

  • Keep this section short and relevant to the job you are seeking.
  • Use bullet points


References available on request is sufficient

  • You will need to provide references – usually 2 people.
  • Approach at least two potential referees. If possible one should be work related.
  • The other may be a teacher or lecturer or someone who has known you long enough to give you a character reference.

What are employers looking for?

If an employer needs someone for a special role, for example a chef, a gardener, an accountant or a doctor – you will need to prove, on your CV, that you have the qualifications and experience linked to the job advertised. This means that you will need to find out as much as you can about the job before you write your CV. Check the job description and any other information available.
Take a look at our Job Information Leaflets for a wide range of jobs and careers.

Employers also look for people who are likely to make good employees.  As a guide many employers say that the qualities they value in an employee are:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Ability to work alone if necessary
  • Good organisational skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Reliability
  • Good timekeeping and punctuality
  • Trustworthiness
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Work well under pressure
  • Motivation

When would I use a CV?

  • Job applications
    Many employers will ask for a copy of your CV when you apply for a job.
    Don’t just send in a CV – always send a covering letter.  If you are sending your CV by email – include an email message.
  • Filling in an application form
    An up to date CV will help you to complete application forms. It will have all the details and dates of your education and employment history. Simply copy the details carefully onto the form itself.
  • Job seeking
    If you are contacting employers to see if they have any jobs available you can also send your CV or call in with a copy. If you send your CV - don’t forget to include a covering letter.
  • Telephone contacts
    Some employers will give you an initial interview by telephone. You will be asked about your skills and experiences. Having your CV to hand will provide you with all the information you need to answer their questions.
  • Interviews
    Your CV can help with interview preparation. Have a look at what you said about yourself before you go in for your interview.

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