how to write your cv


The first step in your job search is to write your CV. It’s the first impression that your potential new employer has of you, so it’s essential to get it right first time.

A CV is a standard document, but despite this many people send out CV’s with basic mistakes, destined for the bin. So to save you the disappointment of learning the hard way, we’ve compiled a list of essential dos and don’ts of writing your CV. Stick to this foolproof plan and your first job will be one step closer.


  • Write your CV in the first person, that is “I have” rather than “he/she has.”
  • Always send the CV with a covering letter, which should be typed, not hand written. If you are responding to a specific advert, include the reference number, but if not, state the type of role you are looking for
  • If you are applying for a specific role, tailor your CV as opposed to sending out your standard CV. This will improve your chances of getting an interview
  • Pay attention to the key attributes and requirements for the role. You can then put the most relevant aspects of your previous positions at the beginning of each relevant paragraph. This will enable the reader to find key facts quickly rather that having to sift through lots of information
  • List your computer and language skills and level of competency. This is important if your role involves international travel or communications
  • Keep a record of when you sent your CV, for what position it was for, and to whom you sent it, particularly if you are posting it to several companies
  • Follow up your CV with a call or email at an appropriate time to show that you are keen. This is your chance to get noticed by being pro-active and perhaps get an opportunity to speak directly with a key decision-maker


  • Use unusual fonts, brightly coloured paper or borders to make your CV stand out. It will, from its position in the bin. Fancy fonts won’t get you far these days, but good quality paper will - use white A4
  • Include full details of your unrelated part-time work. Employers aren’t impressed by your excellent ‘time management skills’ gained by working behind a bar. By all means list where you worked, but leave it at that
  • Incorrectly spell the name of the person you are sending your CV to it will go straight in the bin. If in doubt, call the company or check their website
  • Attach a photo it is not required unless specifically requested
  • Make spelling mistakes careless errors can detract from what could otherwise be a good CV. Ask somebody else to proof-read before sending it
  • Mention things that you are bad at or make any negative comments
  • Don’t just write down your hobbies be more specific than simply stating that you like cricket and travelling. Being Captain of the Cricket team and having travelled across South East Asia will paint a more detailed picture of you

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