How to write a Curriculum Vitae
Nearly everyone at some stage in their life will be asked to write a CV. When sending a CV you should also send a covering letter with it. If you need assistance, make an appointment with the Careers Department who will be happy to help you with this.
We have various leaflets to help students writing a CV but the following information from EClips is an extremely useful start for school leavers.
When you apply for a job or training programme, you may need to send a CV (curriculum vitae). A CV is a way of presenting your qualifications, skills and experience in writing – concisely and clearly. There's no one correct way of writing a CV – this leaflet gives some brief examples and guidelines.
A CV is your chance to 'sell yourself' to an employer. As first impressions count, take care with the content and presentation. Producing your first CV can be daunting, but here are some tips to help.
- Word process your CV so that it can be easily updated, printed and/or emailed. Keep the length to either one or two sides of A4. If printing a paper copy, use good-quality white or cream paper and black text.
- Your CV should be clear and well presented. Use headings and bullets, and an easy-to-read font. Double-check facts such as the titles of qualifications you have achieved, as well as spelling and grammar. Ask someone to check your CV before you send it out.
- Include your name, address, telephone number(s) and email address; there's no need to include other personal details, such as your date of birth. Describe your education and qualifications, skills and work experience, other achievements and any relevant interests.
- Adapt the order or format of your CV to draw attention to your strengths. Make sure the most important information catches the reader's eye.
- Emphasise any relevant skills you have developed through work experience, voluntary work or through your interests. Be as specific as possible. Don't lie as you will be found out!
- If you have not yet left school or college, list the qualifications you will be taking and the dates, possibly with predicted grades.
- If you are responding to a job advert, you can customise your CV so that your relevant skills and experience are emphasised. If appropriate, you can use a standard CV, but highlight your relevant points in a covering letter.
- If you are sending a CV speculatively ('on spec') to an employer to enquire about possible opportunities, you should include a covering letter; an example is given in leaflet 11.10.
- You can put, 'names of referees are available on request', rather than name them on your CV. Get permission before giving the names/contact details of referees.
Addional advice and guidance for writing your CV (click to view or download)