CV Tips



What is a CV ?
CV stands for Curriculum Vitae ("Course of Life"), but do not let the Latin name put you off.  A CV is a small document containing information about yourself that is used to give potential employers an idea of what you are like and what your skills are.

Why do I need a CV ?
A CV is essential because many employers ask for them as well as or instead of an application form.  They are also useful for sending to companies (along with a covering letter) enquiring whether there are any vacancies.

If nothing else a CV will save you a lot of time and effort because you will have an easy reference when filling in application forms.  No one likes filling in application forms, so if you have an updated CV to hand you can save yourself a lot of the hassle.

What do I have to put in a CV ?

Personal Details
Name, address, phone number, mobile number and, if you have one, email address are the most important things to include.  You may want to put in other details such as date of birth or nationality, but these are not necessary unless you feel it is relevant to the employer.  Avoid giving too many details, for example an employer does not need to know your marital status or if you have children.

Employment History
Start with the most recent place you worked and then work your way backwards.  Include your job title, location and the duties and skills that your job required. Keep the details to short and simple bullet points and avoid writing essays.
Make sure you include any voluntary work, work experience, part-time work or agency work.

Education and Training
Like the employment history start with the most recent and work your way backwards.  If you are currently on a course, do not forget to include the details of that course.
Do not forget to include the secondary school you attended.  If you left without any qualifications then just put "achieved a good standard of education".
As well as any college or university courses, include any training courses you have done through work.  If you attended a course but did not complete it you can still mention any modules you studied.

Hobbies and Interests
Employers like people who have other interests away from work.  Use this section to list anything you like to do in your spare time that will look good to employers.  Examples include sports, clubs, societies, music, movies, reading, socialising.

Additional Information
Use this section to include any information that is not covered in the above headings but will appeal to potential employers, for example if you have a driving license, if you speak any other languages.

Use this section to mention that you have referees that can be contacted to give a positive reference for yourself.  Do not put any names or addresses; instead write references are available for request.

You may like to add other headings to your CV; a popular one is a personal statement where in a couple of sentences you write down a positive description of yourself.   You may also like to add a skills list where you pick out 5 or 6 skills that you have that are relevant to your choice of

career  (for example, can work independently, IT skills, good team working skills, catering skills, accounts skills, good communication skills).

Another thing you do to your CV is to add a section specifically for the kind of job you are applying to.  So if you are applying for an I.T. job then you can list all the software packages you have used, if you are applying for a catering job you can add the type of food you specialise in, if you are applying for a mechanics job you can list the vehicles you have worked on, etc.

How long does A CV need to be ?
A standard length for a CV is 2 sides.  If you go beyond this you are probably going into to much detail and you could do with editing it down.  Employers like a CV to be short and straight to the point and do not want to wade through pages and pages to get the relevant information.
If it is under 1 side then you have probably missed out some important details about yourself and you are selling yourself short, so try and go into a little more detail.

Any other tips for my CV ?

    • Sell yourself.  A CV is not a place to be modest.  Show off your skills, achievements and good points.
    • Avoid including anything which sounds negative, if you failed a course then just mention that you attended a course, if you got fired from a job then leave out the details of this and just write about the good points of that job.
    • Make sure you proof read your CV, any spelling or punctuation mistakes will not look good to any potential employers.
    • Make sure your CV is typed up and presentable with clear headings, but avoid going over the top with fancy fonts or different colours, this may distract employers from the actual content.
    • Avoid abbreviations, slang, complex jargon, long sentences.
    • Do not lie.  It is tempting to exaggerate about your qualifications or your work history to impress employers but many large companies now check up on CV's and if they find lies it is unlikely that they will consider you.
    • Get someone else to read your CV so you get a different perspective on how it sounds.

Here is a fictional example of a basic CV  
John Smith,
5-7, Bridgeway Centre,
The Meadows,
Tel: 0115 9150077
Mobile: 0797777777

I am a hardworking and reliable worker who is able to work well either independently or in a team.  I have excellent communication skills, which I have gained through jobs working with the public.  I am computer literate and I have experience of using many different computer packages including Microsoft Word, Excel and Publisher.  I cope well working under pressure and I am willing to learn new skills.

Skills And Experience

    • Able to use a wide range of office equipment
    • Highly self-motivated
    • Teamwork experience.
    • Excellent time management skills
    • Customer service skills

Employment History

Jan 2003-present

Admin worker
Meadows One Stop Shop,
The Meadows, Nottingham.

  • Advising members of the public on various issues.
  • Using computers for various tasks.
  • Ordering stationery.
  • Responsible for room bookings.



Feb 1998 -Jan 2003

Customer service / Cook,
BurgerWorld Fast Food,
City Centre, Nottingham.

  • Serving members of the public
  • Preparing and cooking different foods
  • Responsible for locking up at the end of the day
  • Dealing with any customer queries or complaints



Mar 1996-Feb 1998

Shop work (part-time),
Toy World,
West Bridgford, Nottingham.

  • Serving customers at the checkout
  • Stocking up and reordering products
  • Organising new product displays.


Jan 2003 - present

People's College, (part time),
NVQ in Computer studies



1989 - 1994

Meadows High School,
Achieved a good standard of education

Hobbies and Interests
My main hobby is playing football and I try to spend at least 2 hours a week playing.  I am a member of 5 a side football team and I have entered many tournaments around the country.
In my spare time I enjoy playing the guitar, fishing, snooker, reading, going to the cinema and socialising with my friends.

Additional Information

    • Full driving licence
    • I have a food hygiene certificate which I studied for at Broxtowe college in 2001

References available on request