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Careers Service

Writing a CV

Your CV will help an employer assess if you have the skills and experience needed for the job. You will need to provide strong examples so that they can rank you against other candidates.

Your CV toolkit

  • CV template Remember you may want your sections in a different order for different jobs.
  • More example CVs Gain inspiration from CVs tailored for different jobs, including 1 page CVs.

Your CV needs to provide evidence of the skills, attributes and knowledge the employer is looking for. The CAR model is useful for this:

  • Context: What was the situation, what task were you required to carry out? Keep it brief, but specific.
  • Action: What did YOU do? What was your role? What actions did you take? Use active language.
  • Result: What was the outcome? What did you achieve? What was improved? Qualify and quantify.

How do I know which skills are most important?

Use the job description, person specification or job advertisement to work out which skills you need to evidence on your CV.

Think about internships, volunteering, part time jobs and holiday jobs, positions of responsibility, societies, clubs and hobbies where you can show, skills, commitment and achievements. In any situation how can you show that your actions made a difference?

What should my CV look like?

  • The 2 page reverse chronological CV is the most common style of CV and is suitable for most situations.
  • List your education and work experience in reverse date order (most recent first).
  • Evidence of your skills and achievements are built into the CV against the relevant experience.

Personal information

  • In the UK there is no need to include personal details such as your date of birth, gender, marital status etc. Name, postal address and contact details are sufficient.
  • Nationality is optional but it is good to mention the countries in which you have worked and studied to show you have a global mind-set.
  • It is not usual practice to use a photograph on a UK CV.
  • Link your CV and LinkedIn profiles by putting your LinkedIn profile’s URL on your CV.

Headings

  • Use headings which best describe the content of the section. Adapt the headings to fit your needs e.g. Awards and Achievements, Positions of Responsibility and Achievements.
  • Make relevant experience stand out by grouping it together e.g. Legal Work Experience, Scientific Work Experience or Relevant Work Experience. (See example CVs)

Do I need a personal profile on my CV?

A personal profile is optional; it can be used to give the reader a brief outline of your motivation for applying and showcase your unique selling points, it is not a list of skills. It should be brief 3-6 lines. You could use one when:

  • You are not using a cover letter e.g. uploading your CV online, handing it out in person, at a fair or using an agency.
  • Your degree and experience are not directly relevant but your skills are transferable.

Good Examples

  • A student of Modern History and Economics with 6 months client relationship management experience in a commercial environment. Currently, looking to apply analytical research skills and business knowledge to a legal career.
  • Final year Biology student from the University of Manchester with practical experience of selling and generating leads within a healthcare business, now seeking an entry-level sales role in the pharmaceutical sector.
  • References Who to ask and what they can say about you.

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