Date posted: 10/02/2019

Writing a great CV

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is essentially a summary of your skills, experience, education, objectives, interests and references. Read on to find out how to make your CV interesting to employers.

What makes a good CV?

It should be factual, not emotional. The cover letter is the place for personal opinions such as why you are perfect for the position, not your CV.

A good CV is written in the third person: an outsider's view of the individual it is selling. It's selling a unique product: you.

One size doesn't fit all.

Tailor your CV - it's tempting when you start job hunting to prepare your CV once and send it to every job application to save time and effort. However, different jobs and organisations need different skills. What works for one organisation might not work for another.

Your pre-prepared core CV is a good starting point. But make sure you tailor your CV for every application. Do this by looking at it from the employer's point of view. What's important to them and what are they looking for?

Structure your CV

Like a good cover letter, your CV needs to have a clear structure and an ordered approach. Here are some simple guidelines:

  • Create your document using something simple like Microsoft Word. Include the page number in the header of the document and your name and contact details in the footer. Choose a simple classic font such as Times New Roman in a size that's easy to read - 11 or 12 point.
  • Cover page - This should feature your name and contact details. Position it in the centre of the page or the bottom right hand side.
  • Personal details - Include your full name, address and contact details.
  • Education and training - List educational organisation and qualification from most recent to least.
  • Employment history - Summarise starting with the most recent and work backward. State the employer, job title and length of time you worked there and a brief description of your responsibilities and tasks.
  • Skills and abilities - List the things you are good at under broad headings such as Personal and Professional.
  • Goals - Give employers an idea of your careers goals, short and long term.
  • Interests and hobbies - This can help employers get to know you as person outside of work and help you stand out from the crowd.
  • References and referees - People you know and trust who are happy to give employers a third-party perspective of your skills, abilities and interests if required.

CV checklist

Before you send your CV ask yourself:

  • Does your CV look clear and professional with consistent fonts throughout?
  • Does each section start with the most recent information first?
  • Have you included the skills and information that best fit the job description?
  • Have you included any awards or memberships?
  • Are there any abbreviations that the reader won't understand?
  • Have you double-checked the spelling?
  • Have you included all your contact details?
  • Have you checked your referees are happy to use them?
  • Have you written a specific cover letter to go with your CV?

With these essential tips, you should have a better grasp at writing a great CV. Good luck!