How to Write a CV - A CV Centre Guide

Here we discuss the basics of how to write a CV. Please also see our article on writing the perfect CV! We also provide example CVs.

CV writing is a controversial subject - part art, part science. If you ask any two people their idea of the perfect CV, you are likely to get two different and rather subjective responses. However, there are a number of 'do's, 'don't's and common pitfalls, which most personnel professionals would agree on. If you bear these in mind when preparing your CV, you stand a much better chance of surviving the 'CV cull'!

Length

Far too long. This is probably the principal mistake people make when preparing their own CVs. We keep CVs brief and cut out the waffle - 2 pages is generally a maximum, and for those with little experience 1 page generally makes more sense. We also use other techniques such as bullet pointing - these help make your CV easier to read; they help make it punchy.

Detail

We eliminate what a prospective employer would see as unnecessary detail, e.g. we only list years, not months (this also helps to cover up chronological gaps). We look at each piece of information which could be included in your CV and think, 'Does this help your case?' If it doesn't then we leave it out.

History

We concentrate on your recent history and summarise older information. Employers are most interested in what you've done most recently, although they obviously still need to know the basics of older information.

Interests & Activities

A common mistake is to write far too much in this section. We recommend keeping it to a minimum.

Key Skills

The inclusion of a 'Key Skills' section in a CV is progressively less popular these days. It is now considered better to spread evidence of key skills and abilities throughout your employment history. Specific points should be addressed in the cover letter, a vitally important part of any application.

References

Details of referees shouldn't be included on your CV. They clutter it up and, more importantly, you will find that your referees get pestered unnecessarily by time-wasters. By the time they have handled their tenth enquiry of the day, they are a lot less likely to give a helpful response.

CV Builder

If you’d like to try writing your own CV then we do provide a completely free CV Builder. We recognise that not everyone will be able to take advantage of our professional CV writing service and so we’ve created an easy-to-use solution which will ask you for the information necessary to produce your CV and then build a CV for you in both Word and PDF formats, giving you the option either to have it emailed to you or to download it.

Please click here to see our free CV Builder.

Professional Preparation

At the end of the day, this is definitely the most sensible option; there really is no substitute for taking advantage of in-depth professional experience. Please click here to find out how The CV Centre can help you boost your career.

A CV is often all a prospective employer has to judge you on, so creating the right first impression is absolutely vital. Whether you've set your sights on changing jobs, winning promotion, or simply regaining employment, with our evident expertise in this field we are confident that our assistance will maximise your chances of getting the job you deserve.

"I am so pleased that I chose to come to you for help and advice on writing a CV. Not only did you review my existing CV and tell me exactly why it wasn't winning me any interviews but you also produced a fantastic new CV that I am sure will produce much better results for me."
Christian Wheeler, Business Analyst, London

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