Writing a CV – the basics
A CV is your document - it is the one aspect of the recruitment process of which you have full control over. It therefore should present you in the most positive manner and make you as relevant as possible for the job in question.
Before you begin the process of writing your CV, be aware of some of the basic fundamentals of what make a good CV:
- be concise to keep your CV to a maximum of 2 pages in length (single sides)
- use a clear and easy readable font
- do not use a font size which is either too big or too small
- carefully layout the content so as not to look cramped
- check and double check your spelling and grammar
- do not fold your CV, but rather post or deliver it in an A4 envelope
- review and update your CV regularly
- tailor your CV for every job application
Below is an overview of how your CV should be structured and what should be included within each section:
- Name and Contact Details
These should be written clearly at the top of the document. Include:
- phone number
- email address
Remember to give a good impression, including your full name and try to include a professional sounding email address without any abbreviations or joke nicknames.
You are not required to provide your date of birth.
- A personal profile
This is a short statement at the beginning of your CV. It must be fact based and not subjective waffle like “I am a dynamic team player”. Detail your core experience, your skills, what industry you have operated in and, if relevant, the customers you have responsibility for. Include positive words such as ‘competent’, ‘adaptable’ etc.
Unless you do something particularly interesting or have some sporting or artistic achievement, feel free to leave this section out rather than write that you like socializing with friends, long walks with your dog and reading romantic novels. Remember you are trying to make yourself stand out from the other candidates.
- Career History
Your career history should be displayed in reverse chronological order – i.e. your most recent job first. Provide details on the dates you were employed at each organization, together with your job title and the company name.
Against each job you have held, write a line or two about the company, what it makes or service it provides, the turnover and number of employees. This gives your role context.
Following this, detail your responsibilities and achievements within each role. This is the most important element of your CV. There is more detail on what to include within this section of your CV, in the article ‘writing good content for your CV’
Put education at the end. The qualification, year and awarding body should suffice. If you feel a particular module or study is relevant to the position you can include it if you so wish.
It is important to have at least two referees who can provide a work reference. Ideally one should be your most recent employer.
Another option is to simply include a line that informs the reader that referees will be available upon request. You should however have these details available should any potential employer seek them.
- What is a CV?
- Writing a CV – the basics
- Writing good content for your CV
- Enhance your CV Content
- Top 10 CV tips
- Completing a job application form
- CV & application videos
- Preparing for an interview
- Interview questions and answers
- Sample questions and answers
- Interview videos