How to write a CV

How to write a CV | How to write a CV for a job in the UKWriting a CV yourself can be difficult, more difficult than you would initially think. It is not always easy to write about yourself, your skills and your history objectively but we will show you how to write a CV and best market yourself to win more interviews.

Your CV is your marketing tool and you should think about how to best promote yourself to a potential employer. You can do this by demonstrating your key skills, experience and achievements to the reader.  We promote the use of the C-A-R approach: the challenge you faced, your actions to deal with it and the result you achieved, preferably in measured quantities (time, staff, £s) to optimise your CV and make yourself stand out from the competition.

Below you will find some helpful hints and guidance on how to write a CV and how a CV should be structured.

How to Write a CV – A Step-by-Step Guide

Contact Details

It is essential that the HR department or recruiter can get hold of you.

You should include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone Numbers (landline/mobile)
  •  Email Address

You do not need to include:

  • Age or date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Marital Status or Dependants

The contact details should be at the top of the CV so they can be easily located. You do not want to miss out on an interview because the recruiter can’t contact you!

TIP:  Make sure your email address sounds professional or at least normal, not something silly such as and remove the hyperlink. (Right click link, select remove hyperlink)

Your Profile

  • Note down five to six of your key attributes and what you can offer the employer.
  • Write a sharp, punchy profile that will capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to read on. Three to four sentences of relevance should suffice, do not waffle. Be confident and positive in your abilities and orientate the sentences around the type of position you are looking for.
  • You could also include a short, concise statement which advises the recruiter of the type of job you are currently seeking.

TIP: If you have seen a particular job advertised, scrutinise the wording used in the advert or you could request the job specification. This will help you to identify the key attributes the company is looking for. Providing your skills and experience match those criteria, why not utilise those words!

Key Skills and Achievements

  • Identify four or five of your best assets and list your key skills with a brief description of how you fulfil that skill in the workplace.
  • Try to list three of four key achievements throughout your career.
  • Make the statements impactful and impressive and try to include facts, figures or another quantifiable in each sentence.

The key skills and achievements section should reinforce the claims made in your personal profile where possible and demonstrate you are able to deliver.

Professional Experience (Work Experience)

This is where you should document your career history to date.  Start with your current or most recent job first and work backwards.  The last ten years should be listed, with more focus placed on the last five years in particular.

You should include:

  • Job Title
  • Name of Company and its Location (full address or website is not necessary)
  • Dates of employment (years should suffice)

For each position, think about the work you undertook and how this could benefit the potential employer

You should include:

  • Succinct bullet point statements, which are easier to read and demonstrate you can organise your thoughts cohesively.
  • Facts and figures to reinforce your statements.
  • Think about numbers of people, amount of sales, locations, values, types of business, speed of handling, budgets, turnover, etc

Things to avoid:

  • Repetition of the same words.
  • Try to avoid using ‘responsible’, be creative and use other action words. (see below for an example)
  • Do not use ‘I’ or ‘my’.

TIP: Action word examples are: Utilised, Managed, Constructed, Administered, Formulated, Negotiated, Reduced, Organised, Obtained, Documented, Distributed, Coordinated, Corrected, etc


  • Effectively managing a busy department handling up to 2,000 complaints a week, ensuring each team responds to a minimum of 10 complaints per day to comply with company policy and procedure.


Under this section, you should include any formal education, courses or job relevant internal training programmes.  Start with your most recent or highly awarded qualification first and work backwards.

You should include:

  • Name of course
  • Place of Education
  • Date of Award
  • Grade or Score
  • Languages and computer competence can also be listed.

Hobbies/Personal Interests

If you are at a lower stage in your career or have outside interests which could relate to your job, then it can be useful to include a short statement to demonstrate these and skills, such as: team building, volunteer work, ongoing commitment.

However, if you are more established in your career, the space would be better used to sell your work skills and we would recommend this is omitted.


You do not need to include reference details but can state: ‘references are available on request’.


Your CV should be no more than two pages long. It will demonstrate your ability to organise your thoughts and also demonstrate you are able to prioritize.


Need more help writing a CV or letter?

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