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How to write a CV

How to write a CV

Many of you may be familiar with how to write a CV – but whether you are just starting out or you have reviewed it dozens of times over the years, it’s good to be reminded of the key things that will help you transform it from good into truly great.

Having a polished, succinct and professional CV makes a crucial difference to your chances of being invited for that all-important interview.

Below is our advice for how to tackle each section of a CV to help get you noticed and on the shortlist.

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Writing your CV – Step by step

 

Contact details

 

1.  Include your full name, address, phone numbers, email address and, if relevant, your LinkedIn and Twitter account names, ideally as hyperlinks.

2.  Include a professional-sounding email address, and avoid any that sound too casual or which use nicknames such as ‘hotstuff25@hotmail.com’ or similar.

3.  We recommend leaving out your date of birth, unless it’s relevant to the role. Make sure you include any visa status information you have if that is relevant.

 

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Opening statement

1.  Include an opening statement to give a quick snapshot of your key strengths, either as a one to two sentence summary of how you best fit the role, or as a bulleted list of your main skills, talents and selling points.

2.  Your opening statement also gives you a great opportunity to tailor your CV for each job application. Adapt it to be as relevant as possible and create different versions that directly address the requirements listed on a specific job ad.

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Work history

1.  Outline your career history, beginning with your current or most recent role going back in time, listing your job title, employer name, dates of employment, key responsibilities, skills and achievements acquired.

2.  To help keep it brief, only choose the most relevant responsibilities and achievements for each role specific to the job you’re applying for.

3.  Use active verbs rather than nouns or passive verbs, e.g. ‘Managed and delivered key projects on time and within budget’ rather than ‘Projects were delivered on time and within budget’ or just ‘Project management’.

4.  Explain any gaps you have in your employment history, be succinct and honest.

 

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Education & Training

1.  List your highest qualification first.
 Unless you’re recently out of college, there’s usually no need to list your secondary school qualifications in much detail (if at all).

2.  For each education element you include list the institute name, years you attended and qualifications gained.

3.  Be sure to mention any relevant professional qualifications you have, especially if they are listed as part of the role criteria.

 

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Hobbies & Interests

1.  A brief snapshot of your interests works best here, to reflect your personality without going into excessive detail.

2.  Avoid listing overly personal or mundane hobbies and interests. If you don’t have any interesting hobbies, it’s better to leave this section out altogether.

3.  If your hobbies are relevant to the company you're applying to, they could help you get an interview, so emphasise any interests that align with the company, including any charity or volunteer work.

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References

1.  It’s generally advisable, especially if space is an issue, to indicate that references are available upon request.

2.  Your referees would generally only be contacted if your application progresses, and in this case you should contact them to let them know that the hiring manager or recruiter will be in touch.

3.  If you are asked to include references with your application, provide the names, job titles, email addresses and phone numbers of your two main referees. Wherever possible, choose former managers, or colleagues in positions of responsibility in your former workplaces or industry, rather than friends or family members.

 

By following this basic structure when you write your CV, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success when applying for a job. Ready to start writing? We've developed a some CV templates to help you with the basic structure and content and we have more CV tips to consider as well.

CV tips CV templates

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