A Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Write A CV

A Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Write A CV


Use our step-by -step guide to help you write a CV.

What Is A CV?

In British (and South African) English, we use the word CV (the abbreviation of curriculum vitae) to refer to a summary of your work history. In American English, this is known as a résumé. In this post, we will use the word CV.

A CV can include more information than a résumé, such as education and academic achievements, publications, awards, and affiliations.

Job hunters should remember that a CV is critically important when creating a first impression. It is the equivalent of the first handshake or telephone call between two people. You are making a first impression in writing.

3 CV Formats

Your CV should be no longer than two pages. You can choose a format from one of these three options:

  1. Chronological: a list of your career history in reverse chronological order, with your current job described first.
  2. Functional: a list of your experience and transferable skills.
  3. A one-page summary: a summary of your career history, which also summarises your key strengths.

An easy way to format your CV is by joining LinkedIn and following the instructions. You will have a comprehensive work history that most businesses are willing to look at. It provides easy access for most employers.

Things To Include

You need to include these in your CV:

  1. Personal details: name, address, email address, telephone number. Include social media and website details if they are relevant to the job.
  2. Personal profile: a short, powerful statement that describes the type of work you are looking for and your suitability for the position.
  3. Qualifications (including your education history).
  4. Work experience (if you have any). Include when and where you were employed.
  5. References (if you have any and if requested by the employer). Include contact details for the references.
  6. Skills. Use this list of skills to help you: 50 Examples Of CV Skills

Break them up and list them under headings. Remember that you only need to include details that are relevant. You are not required to include your interests, although many people do.

You do not need to include the following unless the information is needed for the job:

  • Date of birth
  • Driving licence details
  • Gender
  • Health status
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • Number of children
  • Photograph
  • Place of birth
  • Religion
  • Salary

If you are looking for a template, click here: Blank CV Template

3 Top Tips For Writing CVs

  1. Write in a user-friendly manner. Work on the format. Make sure it is easy to read, with plenty of white space, bullet points, and headings. Use a simple font, the correct type size, and choose a standard colour.
  2. Communicate clearly. Show that you know how to communicate well before they even meet you. Present your information in a concise, coherent manner. Use short sentences. Write in the active voice.
  3. Check your work. Read it aloud before you send it in. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes. If you can afford a proofreader, hire one. Employers will almost certainly reject a CV with errors in it.

Remember that you should be honest in your CV. It is wrong to lie and it is easy enough for an employer to check if you are lying.

If you want to  improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme.

 by Amanda Patterson

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