Building a CV
Before you start
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 in your CV to make it easier for the person reading it to see how you match up.
Think about how you’ll order your CV
You can lay out your CV in different ways, to best show the experience you have. Make sure the most important information for the employer is at the top. Have they asked for a particular qualification? Do they want work experience in a particular thing? Or are specific skills important to them? The job description will help you decide what to prioritise.
Use our CV builder
The 10 things you need to have on your CV
Check everything off this list, before you send off your CV.
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.
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.
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
Need a few pointers to help you write your CV? Check out our examples for some inspiration.