Writing a CV.

A key document when job hunting is a Curriculum Vitae. This  will sell you in the best possible light to potential employers. 

What is the purpose of a CV?

The purpose of the CV is to get you an interview.  This then gives you the  chance to sell yourself to a prospective employer.

CV Top Tips

Employers can receive hundreds of CVs. They have to make quick decisions  about who to interview. Here are some tips to help you ensure your CV will stand out for all the right reasons.

  • Research the company thoroughly before writing your CV. Read the job advertisement, job description and person specification carefully.
  • Choose a CV style that is appropriate for your application.
  • Ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors and be clear and concise.
  • Use headings, bullet points and white spacing to make it is easy for the reader.
  • Use a clear font such as  Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri no smaller than size 11.
  • Keep your CV to 2 sides of A4 unless you are applying for an academic, medical or creative role.
  • Use keywords that have been used in the advertisement, job description and person specification
  • Ask a friend or family member to  read through your finished CV.
  • Always tailor your CV to the role for which you are applying.
  • Always keep a backup copy
  • Always send your CV with a covering email/letter.

What should your CV include?

Contact information

  • Contact information should be at the top of your CV. It is also a good idea to have it on every page of your CV.
  • Put your name at the top of the page - there is no need to add 'CV' or 'curriculum vitae',
  • Telephone number which employers can reach you on during the working day. Have a professional voice message on your phone
  • Email address - always use a professional sounding email address

Personal Profile

  • This is about 80-100 words that sums up who you are and what you hope to do.  Think about the job you want and what the employer is looking for.

Key Skills

  • We recommend that you have one master CV. For every job for which you wish to apply you need to tailor your CV to suit the job description/job advertisement and the company/organisation to which you are applying . If you are unsure then research different job profiles on the Internet to understand the skills you will need and the tasks you will be asked to undertake.  You will need to list 4 - 5 skills.

Education history

  • Names of your qualifications, school, college or university where you studied, dates you attended
  • Any recent training you have undertaken giving name of course, name of provider and dates you undertook the training

Work History Skills

This should be in reverse chronological order.

I.E. Begin with your most recent job first.  

You need to include:

  • The employer details
  • The job title
  • Location
  • The dates you worked there
  • What you did there. Your achievements too and it is good to quantify these.
  • It is important to include any work placements and volunteering.

When writing your work history, highlight your strengths and skills when describing things you have done. You should use active words for example:

  • Organised
  • Created
  • Achieved
  • Managed
  • Planned

Hobbies and Interests

You need to show that you have interests outside of work. You can demonstrate the skills you have gained from your hobbies and interests.

This section of  your CV is particularly useful if you do not have much work experience.

References (you can just write available on request)


There are different CV styles. Use one that is going to match the jobs for which you are applying and stage you are at in your life or your career.

  • Reverse Chronological or traditional CV. This lists your work and education history, starting with the most recent first
  • Targeted or Skills-based CV. This focuses on your job-related skills and personal qualities
  • Technical CV  This is used in professions like IT and engineering. It highlights the skills you have that are important in your industry/profession
  • Creative CV  This is used in creative and digital arts and it can link to an online portfolio which contains video or info-graphics, or include digital tools that make you stand out from the crowd
  • Academic CV  This CV is generally much longer than a chronological or targeted CV and is often used for teaching, research careers and those working in the medical field

Your CV should be no more than two pages long  unless it is an academic CV, medical CV or if it is a creative CV.

Stirling Careers Consultancy can help you with writing your CV.

For an initial free telephone consultation, please phone Alistair Stirling on

0790 461 4946 or e-mail  info@stirlingcareersconsultancy.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Bromley Careers Consultant Alistair Stirling offering careers advice in & around Kent, London

Alistair Stirling is a registered careers adviser with over 20 years’ experience of supporting people back into employment.

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