This section of the Toolkit covers how to write an effective CV. Below is a guide on layout and how it will work for you. This structure is based on what we have found has proven most successful for our candidates.
Alternatively there's a link at the bottom of the page to download our standard template CV. There's also a link to our top 3 tips for effective CV writing.
This should be a short summary of your experience, skills and abilities, and be contained in four to six lines of text. Only list the attributes that will be of interest to your next employer; do not include irrelevancies.
List 3 to 6 achievements which you feel will be in line with your next position. Do not list achievements which are not in line with what you want to do next. Bullet point your achievements to make them stand out. Start with the strongest point in your favour and then work backwards from there.
This should be in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent job and working backwards. You only need to include the year you started and the year you finished each job. You do not need to include the month or day, e.g. put '1998 - 2005' rather than '1.7.1998 - 1.1.2005'. If you have had a lot of jobs you may need to group some of the earlier jobs together, e.g. '1970 - 1980' various engineering positions. If your job title does not reflect what you actually did, or it sounds a bit obscure, consider changing it.
When you are describing your experience for each position you should start with the strongest point in your favour and then work backwards. If you have a lot of points to put under one specific job you may want to break this description into two or more sections. You could break up this section into responsibilities and achievements or you could break it up into specific functions, e.g. management, technical skills; the choice is yours.
If you have had a number of positions for a particular employer you may not want to include every individual job (in which case leave out the year designations for all jobs titles and just include the start and finish years for this employer), or you may be able to combine one or more of the jobs. If the jobs are completely unrelated you may be better off using a Functional or Targeted CV.
Make sure you stress your responsibilities and achievements under each job which will be useful in your next job, but do not repeat information in your CV as this will just bore the reader.
Only include the most important training courses on your CV. You may not want to bother with a section on training or you may combine it with Education/Qualifications depending on how much space you have on your CV.
Only list the most important qualifications and the most relevant memberships. If you are a graduate you do not really need to list your ´O´ Levels/GCSEs, just indicate the number of ´O´ levels gained. You may want to put this section before the Training Section. Unless you have just completed a degree or MBA, this section should go after work experience. In the case of recently completed education, if your work experience is more likely to be of interest to an employer, you should still put work experience first. You could perhaps mention your recent qualifications in your profile or in your cover letter.
Include date of birth, marital status (you may leave this out if you want to), and driving licence. If you have a clean driving licence, say so.
Keep this part fairly short, but make sure you list any current positions of responsibility.
Alternatively, if you'd like to use our dedicated CV template click the button below to be taken to our Downloads page.