Curriculum Vitae: an outline of a person’s educational and professional history, usually prepared for job applications, another name for a CV is a résumé.

A CV is the most flexible and convenient way to make applications. It conveys your personal details in the way that presents you in the best possible light. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing something: yourself! You need to “sell” your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to employers. It can be used to make multiple applications to employers in a specific career area.

What information should a CV include?

Personal details

Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth (although with age discrimination laws now in force this isn’t essential), telephone number and email.

Education and qualifications

Your degree subject and university, plus A levels and GCSEs or equivalents. Mention grades unless poor!

Work experience

* Use action words such as developed, planned and organised.

* Even work in a shop, bar or restaurant will involve working in a team, providing a quality service to customers, and dealing tactfully with complaints. Don’t mention the routine, non-people tasks (cleaning the tables) unless you are applying for a casual summer job in a restaurant or similar.

Interests and achievements

Keep this section short and to the point. As you grow older, your employment record will take precedence and interests will typically diminish greatly in length and importance.


The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational Italian, basic Spanish), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills” and driving (“full current clean driving licence”).


Many employers don’t check references at the application stage so unless the vacancy specifically requests referees it’s fine to omit this section completely if you are running short of space or to say “References are available on request.”

Normally two referees are sufficient: one academic (perhaps your tutor or a project supervisor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last part-time or summer job)

How long should a CV be?

There are no absolute rules but, in general, a new graduate’s CV should cover no more than two sides of A4 paper

You will also need a Covering Letter to accompany your CV.

Here’s some key points to consider.

* Make the length of your CV relative to your work experience: if you have many years’ experience in a wide range of roles, you can justify a long CV. Academic CVs are usually at least 4-5 pages long, whereas CVs tailored to the private sector should be only 2.

* You can sound professional without using jargon or ‘management-speak’. Keep your writing clear, direct and focused. Remember that the person looking at your CV might not be an expert in your field.

* Try to write your CV using as few words as possible – this way you’ll keep to the point and avoid waffle. You can say more in your cover letter and application form, there’s no need to go into depth in a CV.

* Use ‘doing’ words on your CV such as ‘developed’ or ‘organised’. This makes you sounds active and not passive.

* Don’t talk about your social life unless your activities display an important skill such as leadership or teamwork.

* Give the addresses of two referees; one should preferably be your current employer.

* Most importantly, proofread your CV. There should be no spelling, punctuation or grammar errors: unprofessional CVs are rejected.


It’s a good idea to have your profile and CV on LinkedIn. In 2015, 89% of businesses planned to use social networks for recruitment and LinkedIn was by far the most popular one for this purpose with 86% of companies wishing to use it, 60% were considering Facebook and 50% Twitter. Make sure that your Facebook page doesn’t carry evidence of any of your indiscretions that employers might view – making your page private and viewable only by friends and family is wise!



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