Writing a CV

If you are looking for a job, then it is very important that you understand how to offer yourself in the best way to an employer. This is done by writing a 'CV' (curriculum vitae - Latin for 'life story'), called in some countries a 'resume'.

How To Write a CV

The ideal CV should consist of seven main sections...

  1. Your Name, in bold clear type.

  2. Your Personal Details:
    • Address
    • Telephone/Fax number
    • Marital status
  3. Profile. This is where you sell yourself. Accentuate your strengths, your skills and use plenty of attractive buzz-words: 'pro-active', 'enthusiastic', 'determined', 'adaptable' etc.

  4. Core Skills. What can you actually do? Shorthand and typing speed; communication skills; leadership qualities; languages etc.

  5. Main Achievements. What are your proudest achievements? Editing student paper; organizing events; man management etc. Best not to mention Cycling Proficiency Test, Pathfinders Badge or Fifty Yard Swimming certificate.

  6. Education. Academic qualifications including details of subjects, grades and dates. Details of secondary and further education.

  7. Employment history. In reverse, dated order, list your previous employers (with addresses) and your job description. There is no need to volunteer your reason for leaving previous employers at this stage, but be prepared, they're bound to ask during the interview.

Your CV should fit comfortably onto two sides of A4 paper.

Use an easy-to-read font, white paper (fussy, bordered or coloured paper do not fax well) and a simple layout. Always check for spelling errors. Try to tailor your CV for specific employers, and always enclose a specifically-tailored covering letter.

Covering Letter

The covering letter which accompanies your CV should be aimed specifically at the employer you are approaching. Try, whenever possible, to address your application to a specific person. Be enthusiastic, not only in describing yourself, but also at the prospect of securing the position. And once again, be concise. Yours is not the only application that they have to consider.


You will need two reliable, personal referees. Avoid volunteering the name of your local publican, bookmaker or drug baron. GPs, JPs and MPs are all good, as is your ex-headmaster or a person of the cloth.

Make sure you approach your referees, and warn them of your intentions. It's just possible that they may not consider you in the best light and this could mean the waste of a good CV.

You need not include their details on your CV, just put 'References available on request'.