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The Dos and Don’ts of CV Writing

CV Resources
Posted on: 28/10/2016
Printed copy of curriculum vitae on clipboard

When writing your CV it pays to bear in mind that you are in direct competition with other candidates and need to make the right impression. You want to sell yourself as best you can, without sounding overconfident or waffling about irrelevant information. Our CV writing checklist will ensure that you include only the most relevant details – giving you the best possible chance of getting the job that you have applied for.

Firstly, we recommend that you present your CV on crisp white A4 paper and keep it to no more than two sides. The layout should:

  • Be clear and well-structured
  • Avoid fancy fonts
  • Use bullet point to support your points
  • Include headers and footers

It is then advisable to break your CV down into the following five sections.

Personal Information

When you write your CV, include information such as your email address, phone number, address, website and date of birth. Always check this information thoroughly for mistakes – if the employer is interested, the last thing you want is for them to be unable to contact you. Include a personal statement which describes you and references any previous experience you have in the field you are applying for.


The qualifications section of your CV can include not only academic results, but also technical or professional qualifications. You should include where you went to school/college/university, how long you were there and which qualifications you received.

Previous Work Experience

Use positive but assertive language to highlight what skills and experience you have gained from your previous employment and how they relate to the role you are applying for. If you have a long or varied employment history, mention only those which are relevant to the field of work you are hoping to enter – but be prepared to answer any questions about gaps in your employment history. 

Be sure to highlight skills and responsibilities which are mentioned in the job description; for example, if you are applying for a management role it may be worth highlighting previous examples of leading a team. Other skills worth highlighting can include:

  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Team work skills
  • Foreign languages

Hobbies and Interests

Your hobbies and interest offer employers an insight into your personality, but should be limited only to those which reinforce your application. Activities such as being the member of a sports team or participation in the Duke of Edinburgh awards will help to demonstrate your ability to work in a team and under pressure. Employers are looking to hire a human, not a robot, so it is also an opportunity to showcase any community groups or voluntary work you have done.


Ideally an employer will want to see a reference from a previous employer. However, in the case of someone who has not worked before, you can also include a personal reference from a tutor or teacher. You should aim to include at least two references within your CV and these will help to vouch for your ability and skills.

If you are in the process of writing your CV and would like more tips and advice on what to include, head over to our Candidate Resources section.