How to write a CV

Writing a CVThis article is the second in our How to get a job series. A curriculum vitae , or CV as it is commonly abbreviated to, is a very important document. Everyone should have one and it should be regularly updated so that you always have a current copy ready for action. What is a curriculum Vitae? It is a document that tells a prospective employer about you and how you can fit into their company. It should be a short document - no more than two A4 pages, only written on one side of each page to make it easier to read. The function of this important item is not to get you a job, it is to get you an interview, and it is the interview that will get you the job. (see How to answer interview questions)

Personal details

The top of the page should display your name, address, telephone number and cellphone number. Don't forget to add your e-maul address as nowadays it is often the chosen form of communication for personnel departments, as it saves time and money. A CV should only display your age or date of birth if it is relevant to the job. I say this because some people will make an unfair judgement based on age and the potential employer may discount your application unfairly if you are too old or too young for their criteria. At the age of 50, I was looking for work and sent a lot of CVs out without getting any response at all, let alone an interview. It wasn't until I deleted my age from the CV that I got replies, interviews and a very good job.

Educational Achievements

This section is self explanatory and should contain your educational achievements in chronological order.


The next section should be the skills section. I find that using bullet points for this can be very effective, and here is where I add a bit of colour too (see image above), as my CV is in a word document, and a splash of colour (not too much) will help your CV to stand out amongst others. You should list any skills here that apply to the job you are seeking. Include any vocational achievements and business accolades, in addition to personal skills like team building, ability to motivate with enthusiasm, computer skills, fork lift operation etc.

Write a curriculum vitae

Employment History

Write a simple list here in date order, with the most recent first. Include the name of the company you worked for, your job title, and any achievements during that employment. Make your comments positive and keep it short - the person reading it is very busy and they just want enough information to make them want to meet you. If you have had a lot of jobs, don't list them all. Just list the last three or four and then put a summary of the older ones, unless one of them is particularly important to this job.

Other Information

Use this section to tell the employer anything else you think they should know, and include a couple of referees. Referees should be people you have worked for in the past and you should include their contact details. Ask them first if you can do this, and make sure you only supply referees who will give you a good reference.

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