Preparing the perfect CV fact sheet
Preparing a CV (a personal career history)
is important for sending to employers
What to put in your CV
- Keep it simple – an uncluttered document gets read
before a fussy one. Plain layout of your document will help
the reader to see how much you have to offer.
- Make it clear – direct language and straightforward
sentences are easy to read and understand.
- Keep it short – less is often more when it comes
to a CV. Limit it to two sides of A4 paper.
Standard CVs are usually split into a maximum of seven sections:
- Personal details
Includes name, address details, telephone and email addresses, nationality. These are the facts about you
and how to contact you.
Provides dates, names and locations of schools and colleges
attended and details of any qualifications that you may
have obtained. This section also outlines the subjects
that you have studied.
Specifies dates, employers’ names and locations, job
title and main activities/achievements of each position held.
It is normal to begin with your current or most recent job.
- Other skills
Covers your other practical abilities or skills, including
training courses and other subjects studied e.g. languages.
Includes hobbies, sport and leisure activities.
- Additional information
Details other skills or type of work wanted. This section
contains your statement about the contribution you can
make and what kind of person you are.
Names, addresses and full contact details of two people who
will provide character references for you.
Dos and Don'ts
- Do think about the kind of impression you want to convey
to employers. Spend time thinking about the skills and qualities
that are seen as valuable for the kind of position you are
- Do look at as many other people’s
CVs as you can for inspiration and use good examples that
- Do get organised – it will help you prepare a better
document in the future.
- Do keep working on different drafts of your document
until you are happy with it.
- Do talk to people who have known you in different
roles; they may come up with tasks, activities
that you had forgotten.
- Do check spelling and grammar
if you are in any doubt about anything.
- Don’t leave writing your CV until you are in a
hurry for it. The best time to write it is when you don’t
need it and can take the time to get it right.
- Don’t underestimate the time you will need, especially
if this is your first attempt.
- Don’t hesitate! Get going on your first draft right
- Don’t start writing straight
away – do some thinking
and planning first about how you want it to look.
- Don’t be too honest! We are aiming to minimise weaker
areas and promote your good points.
- Don’t include any information
that does not add to the impact of the finished CV.
Points to remember
- Keep positive. You need to feel upbeat in order to sell
yourself in your CV.
You will downplay your skills and experience if you write
weak descriptions. Show off all the talents you have – every
other applicant will too.
- Enhance your creative thinking by getting your environment
as congenial as possible when you are working on the document.
- Stay motivated about the work involved in completing
your CV. Think of all the people who have CVs; they will
had to go through this process at some stage.
- How your CV looks is as important as what it contains.
Make sure you spend as long on the design and layout of your
document as on its content.
- Consider having more than one version of your CV – you
may need different versions for different career
Adapted from "Preparing your
own CV" by
Rebecca Corfield, 5th Edition, published in 2009 ISBN No. 978-0-7494-5654-2
Click here for a printer friendly version of this fact sheet