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How do I write a CV?

Updated on June 29, 2015
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The Perfect Resume

Writing the perfect Curriculum Vitae is highly important to impress a prospective employer. This is the first impression he or she will have of you so it needs to stand out from the rest.

To be shortlisted for an interview your CV needs to shine. It needs to say a lot about you, show your skills and why you are the best person for the job. It can't bore the reader by being too lengthy, but long enough to show off your knowledge and experience. Your potential boss has to try to sum you up before actually meeting you, so it needs to be right.

When writing a CV, keep it simple , clear and in order. The employer needs to be able to see who you are and clearly see your education and work history. It needs to be typed in a readable font which is consistent throughout. The layout needs to show clear headings, dates and grades. If it looks messy, it will end up in the bin.

It does not matter if the job that you are applying for requires a university degree or if it is for working in a fast food restaurant. You still need to make yourself look professional and experienced.

When beginning your resume, you would tend to lay it out with your name and address at the top of the page, along with your contact details and email address. You do not need to put your date of birth on a CV, but you may on an application form. You may want to start with your objective to briefly explain your work background and where you next want to go. You must keep it short though as you have a lot more information to put on.

You need to then include your education. If it is limited then put what you can and expand on your skills. Never lie or exaggerate on a CV as you may be found out, but put what you have studied and the grades achieved if you can. It is nice to lay it out with the name of the school/college, date, subject and grade. You can add other skills or certificates here, showing where you gained them (for example, in the workplace) and the dates.

You would follow education with employment history. This should show the most recent first with an explanation of your role and responsibilities, and again dates of when you started and when you left. It is a good idea to show the last ten years, depending on your age! If there are gaps then truthfully explain them, even if you stayed at home as a full time parent.

You can then include your skills and achievements which may be relevant to your work, or show off your knowledge. You may be able to speak another language or have extensive computer skills. If you have a limited amount of formal qualifications, be sure to put your knowledge here. It may be what your new boss is looking for. Some employers may want to train their staff all in the same way to work well as a team.

Your hobbies and interests show what kind of person you are. Keep this short but interesting. Try to avoid cliches on your CV such as socializing. Putting down 'going to the pub' may not show you in the best light. If you holiday in unusual destinations or do any volunteer work then include these. If you struggle to put something different then explain what books you like to sum you up as a person, or show off your people skills if you help out your child's scout group.

Try and keep your CV on one or two sides of A4 white paper, and keep it clean and crease free. You do not need to attach any extra forms or documents to it because you will show your certificates in the interview.


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    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you Diana. Writing a CV doesn't need to be daunting. Just knowing how to lay it out and including the relevant information can help a lot.

    • Diana Mendes profile image

      Diana Mendes 5 years ago

      Useful tips, great hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you - the new year is a time for a fresh start.

    • dumindu89 profile image

      dumindu89 5 years ago from Sri Lanka

      Well. good guide to write a CV. Voted up.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I'm glad to have been of service. It's a shame you didn't get the job, but don't give up :)

    • itsmonkeyboy profile image

      itsmonkeyboy 6 years ago from London, UK

      Great hub, I actually used your advice and wrote my CV afresh. I sent it off, had a call the next day. I didn't get the job but it's a start!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you, I will link to yours too :)

    • Iggy Falcone profile image

      Iggy Falcone 6 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia

      Some great tips here, I'm linking to it from my hub!