Writing your Curriculum Vitae - some tips

The first thing to remember is that your CV will probably be one of many for consideration. You therefore need to ensure that you communicate the most important points quickly. Keep it simple, concise and easy to read. It should definitely be no longer than two pages of A4. Also remember to tailor each CV to reflect the requirements of each role you're applying for.

Above all, your CV is a marketing document. It is selling you, so make sure that your relevant skills, experience, abilities, personality and aspirations come across strongly.

The format

Contact Details

This section should include your name, postal address, email address and phone numbers (including mobile).

Your achievements

Choose your key career achievements and add after the description of each of your roles. Keep it brief though and just one or two lines on each is enough.

Personal Profile

One paragraph that encapsulates you: your skills and talents, experience and ambitions. This is possibly the most important section of all; it's the 'hook' that will engage the reader and make them want to read on. So take your time with this, and tailor it to each role you apply for.

Career summary

Start with your current job and work chronologically backwards. List the positions you've held and the organisation, together with a brief description of your role and key achievements. Don't forget to add in how long you spent in each position.

Education, training and qualifications

Once again, start with the most recent and work back.


This is optional but can be very useful. Any hobbies or sports or volunteer work that you take part in, for example, can help the recruiter gain a fuller picture of you as a person.


Again this is optional, but can include information on your marital status, family and health.

Should you include references?

Although references will be needed at some stage in the future, these needn't be listed on your CV.

The covering letter

Many organisations ask for a covering letter to accompany your CV. This is your opportunity to talk about why you feel the job's right for you - and how you match the employer's needs. Be specific about how your particular skills and experience match the requirements - and think about transferable skills too. As with everything at this stage of the application process, keep it brief and concise. You're looking to give an overview, not a life history!