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  • Preparing an effective CV

Preparing an effective CV

13 July 2016

Preparing your CV

A CV is your opportunity to capture an employer's attention and get an interview. It tells the tale of what you've done and what you can do.

The job description shows you what the employer is looking for. Look for the key skills and think about how your own past experience relates to the job. This will help you adapt your CV to the position. 

You’ll also spot key words and get used to the language the employer is using. Use the same language when you're writing a CV, to make it easier for the person reading it to see how you match up.

When you write a CV, you can lay it out in different ways, depending on what you want to show the employer. Put the most important information for this particular job is at the top. Have they asked for a qualification? Do they want work experience in something? Or are specific skills important to them? The job description will help you decide what to prioritize. 

The following should be on your CV

Contact details:

It makes it easier for employers to get in touch

Employment history:

Highlight tasks and responsibilities that show your skills and strengths. Choose things which are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Education and qualifications:

Talk about skills or knowledge that you’ve developed and highlight any key achievements that relate to the position.


If you haven’t got a lot, or any, work experience, think about other things you’ve been involved in such as school clubs or volunteering


To save space you don’t have to include references on your CV, but make sure you state that they’re available on request. 

Honesty :

Be honest about your qualifications and experience. If you’ve lied on your CV you could easily be caught out at the interview stage.


Use active language – for example, 'I completed' rather than 'the task was completed'. Be positive and avoid clich├ęs. Keep sentences short and try not to repeat information.

Spelling and punctuation:

Avoid spelling mistakes. Use the spell check on your computer but don’t rely on it to find every error. Ask someone with a good grasp of grammar and spelling to check your CV.