Preparing a CV

What is a CV?

It's nothing more than one or two nicely set out pages of A4 size paper, which you use to tell an employer about yourself and your skills.

It needs to be easy to read, so keep it simple.  For more help download our leaflet on preparing a CV.

Not Going to Uni also have a useful article on Creating a CV for an Apprenticeship.

The Golden Rules of CV writing

  • Get together the details of your education, work history and anything else you need
  • Use a computer to produce a CV, don't handwrite it
  • Use a simple font like Arial or Times New Roman, between 10 and 12 pt
  • Keep it short - two sides of A4 maximum, one side if possible
  • Don't use exactly the same CV every time. Be prepared to make little changes depending on the job you're applying for
  • Always check it before you send it

What to put in a CV

  • Full name, address, postcode and phone number
  • Email address - make sure it's one that's suitable for an employer to see
  • You should include a couple of sentences about yourself (look at Selling Yourself for tips)
  • Education: most recent school/college first
  • Current course (the subjects and exams you are taking)
  • Work history: most recent first, not forgetting part-time jobs, voluntary work or work experience
  • Any qualifications you have achieved from school and/or work
  • Include any other skills or interests you have, particularly if they are useful for that job
  • Names and addresses of two people who will give you a reference. Remember to ask them first!

Ten mistakes to avoid making on your CV

  1. Spelling mistakes - make sure you check your CV thoroughly for spelling mistakes as this can really put an employer off
  2. Not getting it checked – it’s important to get someone else to proof read your CV for spelling, grammar and other mistakes
  3. Making it too complicated - Your CV needs to make sense.  Make sure you don’t use jargon and acronyms that your potential new employer won’t understand
  4. Making it too long – don’t use unnecessary words.  Use short clear sentences and bullet points
  5. Including a photo  -This maybe normal in some countries but not in the UK
  6. Difficult to read fonts – Make your CV look as professional as possible and use an easy to read common font
  7. Incorrect information - Make sure you tell the truth.  Don’t make up jobs or experience as you will most likely be found out at interview when questioned
  8. Wrong personal details – Check all your personal details for mistakes. If you put the wrong email address or phone number, you could miss out on an interview
  9. Missing information - Make sure you include all your work experience even if not relevant to the job you are applying for. It will show a clearer picture of your work history
  10. A copied personal profile - Don’t just copy and paste a personal profile you may find online. Make sure yours is original and stands out from the crowd