How to write a CV

A CV is your opportunity to grab an employer's attention and get an interview. It tells the story of what you've done and what you can do. Use this information and the CV builder to create a CV.

Before you start

Graphic shows a desk with a CV. Someone with a magnifying glass is examining the CV.

Read the job description

The job description shows you what the employer is looking for. Look for the key skills and think about how your own past experience relates to the job. This will help you tailor your CV to the position. 

You’ll also spot key words and get used to the language the employer is using. Use the same language when you create a CV, so it's easier for the person reading it to see how you match up.

Think about how you’ll order your CV

When you write a CV, you can lay it out in different ways, depending on what you want to show the employer. Put the most important information for this particular job is at the top. Have they asked for a qualification? Do they want work experience in something? Or are specific skills important to them? The job description will help you decide what to prioritise. 

Use our free CV builder

Our step-by-step template helps you create a CV online – quickly and easily.

The 10 things you need to have on your CV

Check everything off this list, before you send off your CV. 

Contact details

Make it easy for employers to get in touch. Include your address, main phone number and email address. Don't use email addresses that look unprofessional.

Employment history

Highlight tasks and responsibilities that show your skills and strengths. Pick things which are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Education and qualifications

Talk about skills or knowledge that you’ve developed and highlight any key achievements that relate to the job – in or out of work.


If you haven’t got a lot, or any, work experience, think about other things you’ve been involved in such as school clubs or volunteering. See our advice from careers adviser Sheena Mayers.


Be honest about your qualifications and experience. If you’ve lied on your CV you could easily be caught out at the interview stage.


To save space you don’t have to include references on your CV, but make sure you state that they’re available on request. Remember to ask your referees if it's ok to include them, so they will expect someone to be in touch.


In general, avoid fancy fonts, borders, tables and graphics. They can be distracting. There are exceptions – if a styled CV shows your skills as a graphic designer, for example.


Use active language – for example, 'I completed' rather than 'the task was completed'. Be positive and avoid clichés. Keep sentences short and try not to repeat information.


Try and keep to two sides of A4. Employers will scan your CV - make it easy for them to spot key words by using bullet points and headings.

Spelling and punctuation

Avoid spelling mistakes. Use the spell check on your computer but don’t rely on it to find every error. Ask someone with a good grasp of grammar and spelling to check your CV.

How to write a personal statement

Your personal statement (sometimes called a personal profile or career objective) introduces you to an employer, and shows a little of your personality. Follow our tutorial and find out how to write yours.

Example CVs

Need a few pointers to help you write your CV? Check out our examples for some inspiration.