A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a CV

May 15, 2024
 min read

Written by Molly Thwaites

Need to write a CV but don't know where to start?

In today's competitive job market, a CV (Curriculum Vitae) or resume is essential to make a lasting impression on potential employers. Your CV serves as your first introduction, a snapshot of your professional life, and it must effectively showcase your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Here’s a guide on how to write a CV that stands out from the crowd.

Basic Requirements

Choose the Right Format

Your CV format sets the foundation for presenting your information. There are three main types:

  • Chronological CV: Lists work experience and education in reverse chronological order. Best for those with a solid work history in a specific field.
  • Functional CV: Focuses on skills and experience rather than chronological work history. Ideal for career changers or those with gaps in their employment.
  • Combination CV: Merges the chronological and functional formats, highlighting both skills and work history. Suitable for most job seekers.
Contact Information

Your CV should start with your contact information:

  • Name: Full name at the top, in bold.
  • Phone Number: Ensure it’s a number you answer regularly.
  • Email Address: Use a professional email address.
  • LinkedIn Profile: Include a link if it's up-to-date and relevant.
Professional Summary

A brief, powerful summary of who you are as a professional. This section should:

  • Be 3-4 sentences long.
  • Highlight your key qualifications.
  • Mention your career goals and how they align with the job you're applying for.
Key Skills

List your core competencies and skills relevant to the job. Tailor this section to match the job description:

  • Technical skills (e.g., software proficiency).
  • Soft skills (e.g., communication, teamwork).
  • Industry-specific skills (e.g., project management).
Work Experience

Detail your professional history, starting with the most recent position:

  • Job Title: Clearly state your position.
  • Company Name: Include the name and location of the company.
  • Dates of Employment: Use month/year format.
  • Responsibilities and Achievements: Bullet points highlighting your key duties and notable accomplishments. Use action verbs and quantify achievements where possible (e.g., "Increased sales by 20%").

List your academic qualifications:

  • Degree: Specify the type of degree.
  • Institution: Name of the educational institution.
  •  Dates: Period of study.
  • Honours/Awards: Include any relevant academic achievements.
Certifications and Training

Include any additional certifications or professional training relevant to the job. For example:

  • Professional certifications
  • Workshops or courses (e.g., Site Safe Health and Safety Certificate)

You can either list references or state "Available upon request." Make sure to:

  • Choose professional references who can vouch for your work.
  • Inform your references in advance.

Optional Additions (If Suitable for the Role)


Highlight significant projects that demonstrate your skills and accomplishments:

  • Project Name: Title of the project.
  • Role: Your role in the project.
  • Description: Brief overview of what the project entailed.
  • Outcome: Results or impact of the project.
Publications and Presentations

If applicable, list any publications or presentations you've contributed to:

  • Title: Name of the publication or presentation.
  • Date: When it was published or presented.
  • Venue: Where it was published or presented.

Indicate any languages you speak and your proficiency level:

  • Language: List the language.
  • Proficiency: Describe your level (e.g., fluent, intermediate, basic).
Professional Memberships

List any relevant professional associations you belong to:

  • Association Name: Name of the organization.
  • Membership Status: Your status (e.g., member, fellow).

Final Tips

  • Tailor Your CV: Customize your CV for each job application.
  • Keep It Concise: Aim for 1-2 pages, but don't sacrifice essential information.
  • Proofread: Ensure there are no grammatical errors or typos.
  • Use a Professional Layout: Stick to a clean, easy-to-read format.

Writing a CV is a process that requires attention to detail and a strategic approach depending on the role you are apply for. By following these guidelines, you can create a CV that effectively shows your qualifications and can help increase your chances of landing your desired job.

Still not sure where to start? Reach out to our team who are happy to help you!

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