How to write a CV

Written by marianne lafferty
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How to write a CV
A good CV will get you a job interview. (la rencontre image by Yves Damin from

Your CV can win or lose you a job. Your prospective employer will look at it, skim-read it and decide in minutes if you deserve an interview. You must keep your CV uncomplicated and easy to understand. Anything too clever or convoluted risks going straight in the recycling bin. Follow these tips to produce a winning CV that makes you stand out from the other applicants.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • A4 paper
  • Computer
  • Spellcheck

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  1. 1

    Keep your CV short. One or two pages are standard. There is no rule but you will not win favour with a prospective employer by waffling on for pages. You need one more page for a cover letter. Cover the essentials in positive, simple language and short sentences.

  2. 2

    Include only relevant information. Most CVs start with your full name, address and contact information. This is followed by a section in which you sell yourself. It might include your skills, experience and why you want this job. The next section mentions your career history. If you have had a long and varied career, include only the relevant jobs over the past 10 years. Other sections include education, interests and other qualifications and two references as standard. Careersadvice website offers a CV builder that helps you build a CV from scratch.

  3. 3

    Use a plain layout. Do not use coloured paper or fancy typefaces. Stick to one or two standard fonts. Use italics, bold and underlined fonts sparingly. Always type your CV. Never hand write it even if you have the most beautiful handwriting. Do not include pictures.

  4. 4

    Proof read your CV. Check for mistakes in spelling and grammar. Ensure your spellcheck is set to British spellings rather than American. Ask someone else to read over it and provide feedback. Does each sentence convey information in the simplest and shortest manner? If not, revise your copy. Ask a friend or family member to check it as well.

  5. 5

    Print your CV on good quality A4 paper. Double check it for spelling and grammatical errors. Do not send a crumpled or stained CV. Follow the instructions on the job advert. Send your CV on time. And if they ask for two copies, send two copies. Include a cover letter, tailored to the job.

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