How to write a CV

How to write a CV

The basic structure of a CV

Your CV is the key that opens the door to taking the first steps towards your ideal role. It’s a succinct summary of your skills, qualifications and experience that an employer will use to make a decision about whether or not to offer you an interview. Writing a CV requires care and attention to make sure you include all the essential information, as well as a flavour of who you are and what makes you stand out from the next candidate.

The basic structure of a CV

Every CV needs to provide certain basic information so that the employer has everything they need to potentially take the next step. This includes:

  • Personal details – name, address, contact number, email
  • A Personal statement – a single paragraph that introduces you and encourages the person reading your CV to continue
  • Previous employment – company name, dates, website and a description of your role, including (briefly) any stand out achievements
  • Education – all your academic and relevant qualifications, the dates obtained and the grades that you achieved in each one
  • Key skills – this is a fairly wide category and you should look to include the skills that will show you’re most suited to the role. This could include foreign language and IT skills, for example. Make sure you state the level achieved
  • Hobbies and interests – you don’t have to include a section on your hobbies and interests but this can bring a more personal touch to your CV and give you something to talk about at interview. Focus on constructive hobbies and interests that demonstrate skills such as teamwork, motivation or positive organisational abilities
  • References – you don’t need to list references but it’s important to state that details are available on request

Tips for writing your CV

Don’t go over two sides of A4

It’s often tempting to include as much information as possible so that the employer knows absolutely everything about you. Long CVs are rarely read from beginning to end so pick out all the choice information and keep it lean.

Avoid long paragraphs

Bullet points are very effective at getting a message across in a CV, as are short sentences. If your CV is long and difficult to read it could end up going in the bin.

Keep it simple

Choose an Arial or Roman font in black and avoid adding illustrations, images or colours. These won’t make your CV stand out in the right way.

Check your spelling and grammar – then check it again

Even if you’re not applying for a desk-based job, being able to present an error free CV will be important to a potential employer. In fact, most employers use poor spelling or grammar as a way to reduce the pile of potential candidates. So, if you don’t want to be the first to be dismissed make sure your CV is free of mistakes.

Update your CV on a regular basis

Add your most recent skills and experience to ensure an employer is getting a full picture of who you are and what you can do. Old, out of date CVs with experience gaps are not likely to impress.

At 2i Recruit we offer constructive feedback on your CV, as well as comprehensive interview preparation. Register with us today for expert support with your job search.