Why you need a CV
A CV is your first chance to promote yourself. A good CV might get you a job interview.
You usually need a CV to apply for a job or to give to an employer you’d like to work for.
Tips for writing your CV
Employers get lots of CVs to look at and have to decide quickly who they're going to interview.
When you write your CV, remember to:
- use a clear font like Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri in size 11 or bigger
- always use the same style throughout
- use headings and bullet points to make it easier to read
- be clear and to the point
- get someone else to read it to double check your spelling and grammar
Information you need for your CV
Start with the job advert for the role you’re applying for so you can look at the job description, essential criteria and the company details.
If the job you're applying for does not have a job description, you can look at our job profiles to see what skills you’ll need and the typical things you’ll do in that job.
You should write your CV to match the job and company you're applying for to improve your chances of getting an interview.
Sections for your CV
Your CV should include a section for your contact details, an introduction, your education history, your work history and references.
You need to let employers know how to contact you if they want to offer you an interview.
You should include your name, phone number, email address and a link to your work network profile, if you have one, such as LinkedIn.
You should not include your age, your date of birth, whether you're married or your nationality.
This is a few short lines that sum up who you are and what you hope to do. It should go just under your name and contact details.
Make your introduction sound like you're the right person for the job.
You can add this after the introduction if you’re early in your career or do not have much work experience.
If you have a lot of work experience, you might want to change the order and show off your work history and experience first.
Whatever order you choose, you’ll need to include the:
- names of your qualifications
- name of the school, college or university where you studied
- dates you attended
You should include details of any work placements, volunteering and paid jobs you’ve had. List the most recent experience first.
You should include:
- the employer name
- the job title
- the dates you worked there
- what you did, usually 2 to 3 lines using the STAR method
Gaps in your work history
It's normal to have some gaps between jobs and work experience when life events happen.
You can read our advice on how to explain gaps in your work history.
Short work history
If you’re applying for your first job, you can focus on skills you’ve learned through projects, work experience or volunteering.
You can also include your interests and hobbies that show some of the skills you have. For example, if you're a captain of a sports team, this demonstrates leadership and organisation skills.
You might want to include a section about references if there is someone who has agreed to give you one. This could be your current or previous employer, a teacher or someone respected in your community.
However you should not put someone else's contact details on your CV. Instead, you can say that 'references are available on request'.
Speak to an adviser if you need help
It's ok to feel overwhelmed or confused about how to write a CV, especially if you do not have a lot of work experience.
A careers adviser can help you work out what your CV should say and get you on the path to your dream career.