How to write a CV
Make a great first impression
Lots of jobs will ask for a CV. This is a summary of who you are, your skills, your experience, and interests. A well-written and presented CV really can boost your chances of getting an interview, so here are our top tips for creating a standout CV.
Writing a standout CV
- Keep it clean (a nice simple layout, with an easy-to-read font)
- Use plain, formal English
- Check and proof-read to spot any errors
- Spread your CV over too many pages. One is fine at this stage of your career
- Add waffle or irrelevant information - keep it focused
How to complete each section
First things first, you'll need a contact section.
This is pretty straightforward - your name, address, telephone number ... and you might want to change that jokey email you’ve had since you were 10 to something a bit more professional! There’s no need to attach a photo.
This is a summary of you. Think about the qualities and attributes you’ll bring. Hard-working, committed, creative - what can you offer? And what are you looking for? This only needs to be a few sentences long.
Now it's time to start thinking about all the hobbies, extracurricular activities and responsibilities you’ve had. What skills do they give you? And which might be a good fit for the kinds of jobs you’re looking for?
The first thing to note is that experiences are listed with most recent first then work backwards. Not had many jobs? Make sure you include:
- Part time work (paper rounds, babysitting, anything you’ve done that demonstrates how responsible and trustworthy you are)
- Any work experience you’ve had
- Any volunteering you’ve done
Education and training
Just like with work experience, you list your most recent exams first (So if you did GCSEs/National 5s, then A levels/Scottish Highers, you’d start with A levels and work backwards).
Still studying? Don’t worry! You can say which qualifications you’re studying for, and when you expect to take an exam or receive your assessment.
Make sure you include extra things such as extra training you’ve done, as well as other awards or exams (e.g. musical instrument grades).
This just gives the reader a little bit of your personality - so you can list the kinds of things you like to do for fun. Don’t worry, this section doesn’t have to be long. And if you’re running out of room, you can leave it off altogether.
Your next steps
Now you know what you’re doing, download our CV template to help you present yourself at your best.
Once you’ve finished and checked and checked again for any mistakes, ask someone else you trust to check it for you. You’ve been looking at it for so long that you’re bound to have missed something.