How to write a CV

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is an outline of a person's educational and professional history, usually prepared for job applications. It conveys your personal details in the way that presents you in the best possible light. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing something: yourself! You need to "sell" your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to employers.

There are no definitive rules to writing a good CV, but there are some basic guidelines you can follow to ensure your CV is presented professionally. Keep it clear, keep it uncluttered, keep it focused and keep it concise.

What information should your CV Include?

1 Personal details 

Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth (although with age discrimination laws now in force this isn't essential), telephone number and email.

2 Education and Qualifications

Present your most recent qualifications first, providing details for your most important and relevant qualifications - reduce this detail for less significant qualifications. Relevant Training Detail all relevant courses or company training you have received by date and course title.

3 Skills Summary

Skills should always be presented up-front so that a hiring manager knows what you can do and how that will benefit their company. In some instances, a special section should be created to showcase these skills. These can include: technical skills; linguistic capabilities; industry-specific capabilities that apply to the position you’re pursuing, and much more.

4 Professional Experience

In the Professional Experience section you will list your employers, job titles, and dates of employment in a reverse-chronological order – your most recent job comes first, followed by your next most recent job, and so on. This format is standard and is expected by all hiring managers and admissions directors.

In the Professional Experience section you will also include daily tasks and responsibilities beneath each appropriate employer listing.

5 References

You need to supply two references - and ideally, one of these should be your current or most recent employer. Rest assured, they will not be contacted without your permission being requested. However it demonstrates that you are comfortable with the referees being contacted at the appropriate time.

Proof reading your CV

It is imperative that you fully proof read your CV to make sure that you have accurate spelling and grammar. If you’re unsure, ask a friend or relative to read your CV for you.

Format

Your CV should look standardised, so avoid using fancy fonts and stick to a standard font size of 10/12. Print it on white paper and use black ink, colour formats rarely impress and can detract from the real message you are trying to convey