How to write a CV

Ages 18-24

When looking for a job or planning your future career, it’s vital that you have a CV. This is a summary of who you are, your skills, 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.

What to do - and what not to do - with your CV

Your CV’s a critical document. It can either get you through the door, or land you in the bin. Make the right impression with these tips on what to do, and what to avoid.


  • Keep it clean, with a nice simple layout and an easy-to-read font
  • Check and proof-read, spot any errors
  • Use plain, formal English


  • Spread your CV over too many pages
  • Add waffle or irrelevant information — keep it focused
  • Send out an identical CV for every role - tailor it

How to complete each section

Contact details

First things first, you'll need a contact section.

This is pretty straightforward — your name, email, telephone number... make sure you’ve got a professional sounding email rather than a jokey one. And there’s no need to include your date of birth or a photo.

Personal profile

This is a professional 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 but make it relevant to each role you apply for with a few tweaks.

Transferable skills

Now it's time to start thinking about all the experiences you have had, whether paid or unpaid. Responsibilities, volunteering, hobbies, team sports, training. What skills do they give you? And which might be a good fit for the kinds of jobs you’re looking for?

Career history

The first thing to note is that experiences are listed with the most recent first, working backwards.

Not had many jobs? You can include:

  • Part-time work
  • 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, working backwards. Still studying? Don’t worry! You can say which qualifications you are studying for, and when you expect to take an exam or receive your assessment.

Do include extra things such as training, awards or exams (for example, musical instrument grades).

Interests and additional information

This just gives the reader a little bit of your personality, so you can summarise the kinds of things you like to do for fun. You can also list any additional languages you speak, places you’ve travelled and hobbies. Don’t worry — this section doesn’t have to be long.

Key takeaways

  • Pitch it right - Remember to use a formal tone, and professional language. ‘Power verbs’ such as developed, managed and introduced can give a positive sense of what you’ve done.
  • Check and check again - Once you’ve finished your CV, take a break then check with ‘fresh eyes’. Get a friend to proofread. It’s vital to avoid unnecessary errors which might let you down. Also, check which file type is preferred by the recipient.
  • Tailor it - Every job is different, so always ‘tailor’ your CV to that job’s specific requirements, changing the focus or language used. Check it against the job description and person specification and echo the key words and phrases you find there.