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Advice | How to write a CV | Interview tips | Covering letter tips

How to write a CV

A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is the deciding factor as to whether you land the all-important job interview where you can impress your potential employer in person.  Until then, your CV is the only thing standing in the way of you landing the job. 

Your CV is ultimately an advertisement of yourself and should therefore portray everything the employer would want to know about you, in as brief and effective manner as possible.

There are different types of CV’s. A professional or academic CV is more detailed and lengthy than a standard CV.  For the purposes of all jobs applied for on, we will be focusing on the Standard CV.

Here are a few tips and guidelines to keep in mind when writing your CV.

Keep It Simple
  • Keep it simple and concise
  • Two pages, maximum
  • Information should be factual and accurate
  • Avoid the first person, rather use point form with brief descriptions

Check Thoroughly
  • Check grammar and spelling thoroughly – don’t rely on your automated spell checker
  • Ensure your CV is totally free of typos
  • Double and triple check and get a friend or family member to check too
  • Ensure telephone and fax numbers and email addresses are correct


A simple format for a standard CV should be as follows. This format is flexible but nice to use as a guide.

  • Personal Details
    Includes your name, contact numbers, email address and any hobbies you may wish to provide. You do not have to supply details such as your age and race as this is discriminatory, but you may if you wish.

  • Education and Qualifications
    Your educational history should always be set out in chronological (date) order working backwards (starting with most recent qualification). Be as specific as possible, including all subjects/qualifications and the year in which they were obtained and any achievements relating to the job you are applying for.

  • Employment
    As with your Education and Qualifications, work history should also be set out in chronological (date) order working backwards (starting with current or last position). List your key duties held at each of your jobs as detailed, yet succinctly as possible. If you've little or no work experience be sure to include information relating to school or community involvement which may show skills such as leadership, teamwork etc.

Other Tips
  • Don’t bother with typing out the words CV or Curriculum Vitae at the top of your CV. It should be fairly obvious what it is and merely wastes unnecessary space. Rather use your name as a heading.

  • Your CV should be flexible and easy to tailor to suit different jobs. Develop the art of minimising skills and experience not applicable and highlighting those which match the position you're after.

  • Include as many contact numbers as you can. Fax numbers and email addresses are always useful to have on a CV.

  • Don’t lie. This is the cardinal rule in drawing up a CV. You will always be caught out!
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