How to write a CV – a Guide
Want to know how to write a good CV? Watch the video for Guardian Jobs CV advice, or read the transcript below. If you’re still in need of help, take a look at some CV examples to get you started.
Tips on how to write a good CV:
Length. Ensure your CV is no more than two pages long.
Layout. Put your name at the top and make it larger, centralised and bold. Next should come your email address and contact number.
Personal statement. Write a brief personal statement directly under your contact details. Make sure it’s no more than five sentences long and should cover who you are, what you can bring to the table and your career aims.
Employment history. List your most recent role first and, in terms of layout, list your job title and company of employment in bold, with dates of employment in brackets. Include any key points that may resonate with the prospective employer.
Education. Include qualification, subject, grade, institution and date. Embellishing your grades is fraud and you may get caught out.
CV advice – video transcript
Did you know, on average, recruiters spend just 75 seconds reading your CV? This means you have just over a minute to sell yourself and your strengths to the reader.
This is easier said than done. Three quarters of CVs are rejected due to bad grammar, spelling or poor visual layout.
So what makes a successful job application? Here’s our Guardian Jobs guide on writing a CV.
Tip one: length. Ensure your CV is no more than two pages long. Choose a clear, legible font and stick to a couple of font sizes throughout. The body of your CV should be no smaller than size 11 font.
Tip two: layout. Instead of putting “Curriculum Vitae” at the top, put your name and make it larger, centralised and bold. Next should come your address, followed by your email address and contact number. Try to use a sensible email address. Remember, age discrimination laws mean you don’t need to disclose how old you are on your CV.
Tip three: you’ll need to write a brief personal statement, and this should appear directly under your contact details. Rather than reeling off your hobbies or interests, use this section to tell the employer why you’re a good fit for their organisation. Recruiters tell us this section should be no more than five sentences long and should cover who you are, what you can bring to the table and your career aims. Ensure you tailor your CV to each individual job you apply for. Identify skills in the job spec and include examples of these. Make each version of your CV a clear reflection of you as the perfect candidate for the job.
Tip four: your employment history. Remember to list your most recent role first and, in terms of layout, list your job title and company of employment in bold. Put your dates of employment in brackets. Think about the role you’re applying for and include any key points that may resonate with the prospective employer. Don’t just copy your job description without thinking about it. Be specific, be precise and it’s nice to finish on some factual information about how you positively impacted the business.
Tip five: education. With around a third of jobseekers embellishing qualifications to land a role, is it OK to get creative with your CV? In our opinion, no. It’s actually fraud and you could get caught out. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on the positives of course, the course content, for example. Remember to include qualification, subject, grade, institution and date. Only add in further information if it will help the recruiter understand the context of a course in relation to the role you’re applying for.
Aside from qualifications, help yourself stand out from the crowd by listing any additional skills or other information that will strengthen your application. This could include training, language skills, relevant awards or membership of professional bodies.
Finally, read through your CV before you press send and ask someone else to double check it, in case any spelling or grammatical errors have slipped through the net.