We will now look at what needs to be included in each section of your CV . . .
isn’t necessary and takes up space. Put your name in bold and make it larger than the rest
of your personal details, so that it will stand out and act as the heading.
• This is a short and snappy opening statement of around six to seven lines about your
• Highlight your current situation, and two or three most of your most important skills and
unique selling points. Make sure that you emphasise the skills and personal characteristics
that are most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
why – e.g. that you are Now looking for a challenging job with an ambitious company
CVs on the right.
• Refer to the list we suggested you make of the skills and experience you have to offer an
employer, and to what you have learned about the companies requirements.
• Start this section by putting the details of your most recent or present job and working
• Put down your job title, then the name of the company or organisation, (say what the
company does, unless it is a well known company), together with the town or city where you
were based, and the start and finish dates.
• Remember - Don't only refer to jobs you've been paid for. You could draw on many types
of work experience, from holiday jobs, voluntary work, community projects, running a club,
organising activities and travelling, to caring for a sick relative and raising children - if, while
doing them, you have learned skills (often referred to as transferable skills) which will
interest the potential employer. If you have this sort of information to include in this section,
it might be better to give it the heading Work Experience rather than Employment History.
• Then give a concise account of your role, responsibilities and achievements. Think about
results – what difference did you make?
• Concentrate on those skills and experiences which to show your suitability for the job you
are applying for. As we said at the beginning of this section on CVs, each time you apply for
a job your CV should, if possible, be tweaked so as to emphasise that you have the specific
skills, experience and qualities that are required for that particular job.
• Careful use of words and bullet points will keep it brief yet informative. You might put down
five or six bullet points for a recent or more relevant post, fewer for previous ones.
• Start each sentence in your CV with an action word
and use the third person. Do not say I
or My. For example, don't say “I was responsible for increasing sales through cold calling.”
Instead, this would sound better with an action word starting the sentence, “Increased sales
through cold calling”. Don’t say, "I was responsible for the maintenance of accurate
records", say "Responsible for the maintenance of accurate records."
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
• Give the name of the qualification or course, the results, the name of the school or college
you attended, the town or city in which it is located (unless that is obvious from the name of
the institution), followed by the start and finish dates of the course.
• It’s not necessary to list all your GCSEs and their grades if you have gone on to do A Levels
or other advanced qualifications. You could put something like: 4 GCSEs grades A-C,
including English Language and Mathematics, AMGSW School, Leeds, 1991-1996. However
you should put down each of your A Levels and their grades.
• A degree should be put down as, e.g. BEng Civil and Structural Engineering, 2:1,
University of Leeds, 2007-2010. Beneath this you could then describe the most relevant
modules or elements of the course.
• Don’t forget any short courses or training programmes you attended which may not have
resulted in qualifications but which are relevant to the position to which you are applying -
e.g. IT, foreign languages, health and safety, safe use of chemicals, first aid, project
• If you have qualifications from outside the United Kingdom, also state the comparable
qualification level in the UK. The official agency that deals with comparisons is UK NARIC.
• Draw attention to achievements and interests not included elsewhere in your CV. Mention
any hobbies, interests and activities, especially those that involve participation and people,
and which demonstrate skills or qualities that support your application. These will give a
prospective employer a more ‘fully rounded’ picture of your personal qualities and might
• Awards won.
• Representing your school, college, etc. at sport.
• Positions of responsibility. If you are the captain of a local football club, for example, or help
to run one, this can show leadership and organisational skills. Fundraising would show that
you are persuasive and able to handle negotiations. If you’re in a group of musicians, this
can show teamwork and commitment. Try to show that you make things happen rather than
just turn up. Their relevance to the job can be explained in more detail in your covering
• Remember, voluntary work, if it is (or was) regular and substantial in nature should be
included in your Employment History or Work Experience section, where it will be more
noticeable. Treat it as a job like any other.
• It shows confidence and preparation if, for example, you have done some public speaking.
• Also mention membership of any relevant associations.
• If you have not put them in your Key Skills and Achievements, mention an ability to speak
other languages or use computers.
• If you have a driving licence it might be relevant to say so.
• Avoid mentioning activities that might make you sound lazy, such as watching TV or surfing
the net, or vague - don't just put reading or listening to music without being specific about
what you like to read or listen to. What will you say in an interview if you’re asked about the
best book you’ve read this year? Similarly, if you like going to the theatre or watching films,
make sure that you could talk about something you’ve seen recently.
• Make sure that you include any interests and achievements that will help you to stand out
from the crowd. But don't put down too many as this might show that you don't have time for
• Finish with the line: References available on request. (Include details of referees only if
they have been asked for. Employers will usually ask you for their details if and when they
are ready to offer you a position, i.e. after they have interviewed you.)
• One of your referees should be your most recent employer. If you haven't worked for a
while, you could use another responsible person who has known you for some time,
although this person cannot be a member of your family. School and college leavers with
limited work experience can put down lecturers, teachers, or managers during work
• Make sure you ask your referees for their permission first.
• Nowadays, employers supply only factual details in response to requests for a reference,
covering matters such as: Length of employment; Job title; Brief details of responsibility;
Time-keeping and attendance; Reason for leaving; and reply with a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ when
asked whether or not they would ‘re-employ you’.
• When leaving a job, it’s a good idea to ask if your manager will write you a ‘letter of
recommendation’, in case the company or organisation is no longer in existence when you
need a reference.