How to Write a Good CV

    Your CV is your answer to the following question:

    "Why should we hire you?"

    Getting this right is an artform and turning the lens on yourself can be difficult – too arrogant you’re unlikable; too humble you don’t get noticed. So, to ensure you’re making the most of any upcoming job opportunities, we’re bringing you the essential top tips which will help to ensure that your CV content jumps off the page.

    CV Layout

    Signpost and personalise

    Your CV should be no more than two pages unless the specific application requires it to be so. The pages need to be clear and easy to navigate, so signpost your content. Make subheadings clear and bold and use bullet points so they can scan-read your CV quickly and effectively as employers often have a large number of CV’s on their desk.

    Each section should be concise and provide a valuable insight into why YOU are the right person for the role. Make sure that you read the role requirements and the company’s website to tailor your CV to the actual role that you are applying for; refer back to the job description throughout, in the same way as if you were answering an essay question. You will need to invest time in this.

    Basic template to follow:

    • Name and contact details
    • Personal statement
    • Experience (including key skills)
    • Education
    • Instructions regarding references


    Avoid lots of colour and fancy fonts; just highlight your name in a different colour to draw the eye initially and use a basic, clear font like Arial or Tahoma. Don’t over use the bolditalic and underlining action; rather than helping you stand out, it can make the pages look overly busy.

    Neat and tidy

    Attention to detail is key. You can spend hours perfecting the content, but if your font, size, colour and spacing are inconsistent this will stand out for the wrong reasons. Presentation is very important. With a large number of CVs to sift through, the employer will be looking for ways to discount CV’s – don’t let a  mistake like poor spelling cost you your dream job. You should also save the document as a PDF to help make your CV look tidy and professional. 


    This is a difficult one. A photo will provide a way of judging you before you even get there so think carefully when including these. If you decide to add a photo please ensure that these look professional.


    Who are you?

    Give them the bones of who you are in the first glance. Your name should be prominent. Contact details – an email and phone number need to be clear and located at the top of the page. The last thing you should do is to make it hard for your prospective employer to find out how to contact you; hand them all of the tools to enable the next step of the process which should be selection for an  interview. Do not include your age or date of birth – this may lead to age discrimination.


    You may be wondering why we advise to include experience before education. Even though this might not make sense chronologically, your experience is probably more relevant to the job you’re applying for (unless specific academic grades are required for the role). Feed them the most valuable information first. You are selling your worth to a future employer. Review your employment dates to ensure that they are correct.

    Walk the walk

    As mentioned, your CV should be experience-led. But in addition to outlining your responsibilities, stress how you have delivered specific results. Going above and beyond and providing insight is a desirable skill in any job – this is a good way to demonstrate that you understand that.


    Lots of employers use a search tool to look for keywords they value when viewing CV’s online, so look carefully at the job description and make sure any standout qualities/terms that they have mentioned are weaved into your CV. This will show that you are engaged and responsive.


    References are a third-party endorsement, so it is important to ensure that these are well prepared. This is why you should end you CV with ‘References available upon request’; if the employer is seriously considering your application, they’ll be happy to ask for them and it gives you time to ensure your chosen contacts are lined up properly.


    Ask two or three people to review your CV and to provide you with feedback before sending to a potential employer.



    Cover letter

    A cover letter/email is always worth including. This is another way to show that your application is bespoke. Keep it short and address the most important question – why they should choose you above anyone else for this job. Include your USPs and most salient points – although, avoid writing your entire life history so that you still have something left to say in your CV.