Back to basics…CV Writing

What is a CV?

A tool to market yourself for jobs

How your content effectively matches the role’s requirements (i.e. Skills, Knowledge and Experience) of a vacancy. The better you can demonstrate this match, with relevant information, the better your chance of being short-listed.

A reflective tool

Drafting a CV is a great way to identify blind-spots or areas in your Skills, Knowledge and Experience or further enhance what you already. This can also be a great way to start a careers appointment.


The Basics…making it competitive

In most cases, a CV ready for submission should be no longer in length than two sides of A4.

The main body of text font size 11 or 12.

The font type needs to be sensible. We recommend Ariel or Calibri.

Do not include a portrait, age, marital status, criminal record, nationality or disabilities.

Keep contact details to address, contact number and any relevant online profiles (e.g. LinkedIn) or websites that you would like the employer to know about.


Pick’n’Mix Your Sections

Below are a list of ideas for sections to include in your CV. You can choose some or all of these sections. However, the most important thing to consider is: does this document create an effective match between myself and the role? – i.e. does it present me in the best possible light?

Personal Profile: this is a brief overview of your Skills, Knowledge and Experience that briefly highlights why you are a suitable candidate for the role

Skills and Attributes: a short-list of skills and attributes that you consider relevant to the role and add value to your application. This is an effective section for candidates who have lots of technical expertise and/or those who are lacking in relevant experience to the role.

Education: list from most recent/current to last. Title line for each stage of education should look include: date (e.g. mm/yyyyy-mm/yyyy) course (e.g. Degree or A-Level or GCSE, etc) and institution. Depending on the relevance of the role, the reader may be interested in reading more about the content of your degree studies.

Work Experience: this can include paid employment and unpaid work experience. As with Education, you should list these from current or most recent with a title line: date, role (e.g. Chimney Sweep) and organisation (e.g. Hope Sweep inc). Briefly describe the duties of each role.

Other Information: this should include anything that you consider valuable to the employer that you haven’t mentioned already. This could include: driving license, additional languages, professional training, company visits, project work, etc.

Achievements: if you have received any official awards, commendations or recommendations this is the place to include it.

Hobbies and Interests: firstly, avoid content like: go to the gym, socialise with friends and read books.

Either include interests that are relevant to the role or pick one interest and describe it in greater detail (i.e. what it is? what you get out of it? what you might do with it in the future?).


Judge it Yourself

  1. Is there a clear message in my CV?
  2. Have I created an effective match between the content and the requirements of the job?
  3. Is it easy for a reader to find all the content they are looking for quickly?
  4. Does it have a professional appearance?

Before submitting…

  1. Check for spelling and grammar corrections
  2. Get a second opinion
  3. Save as a PDF

One Comment on “Back to basics…CV Writing

  1. Pingback: Focus on: the Business School – Careers and Employability

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