CV - Curriculum Vitae
While there are no absolute rules on how to do a CV, there are certain things you can do that are more likely to increase its effectiveness.
Top Tips for a good CV:
- Target your CV to each and every role you apply for. To do this you will need to match your experience and skills to the requirements of the job. For example, when describing your degree you could focus on the content of your course or the skills you developed during it.
- Make the first page your "power page" – get all the relevant information in this space. You can play around with headings to make your CV work for you such as placing your relevant work experience on page one and other experience on page two.
- Make it easy to read and skim quickly, as an employer will be seeing many CVs for an advertised role. It should usually be two pages maximum. You need to use white space and headings effectively, be consistent with fonts used and don’t go below 11pt font. Avoid large blocks of text - bullet points can help you get the message across more effectively.
- Avoid providing irrelevant information, such as your date of birth, marital status or a full list of GCSE qualifications.
- However, all experience is relevant as it shows your skills and abilities. e.g. being on a sports team or working in a supermarket both have transferrable skills.
- Use language effectively - be positive and use high-level action verbs (e.g. organised, managed). It is favourable to write in the first person – but avoiding pronouns such as ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘we’, ‘us’.
- There are different types of CVs – pick the one that works for you and the job you are applying for. This includes skills based, chronological and academic.
We have a large amount of documents in our Download Zone to help you put together an effective CV. However, if you require additional help please come along to Purple Door where one of our experienced advisers will be available to provide tips and advice on content and presentation.
See Purple Door's video tutorial below for our step by step guide on writing a CV.
Further advice and information
- CV Writing Guide (pdf) – a guide to help you write a winning CV, including CV styles and guidelines on layout.
- CV Checklist (pdf) - use this checklist to quickly review your CV.
- Creative CV guide - University of Portsmouth resources to kickstart your Careers in the Creative industries.
- Action Verbs (pdf) - a guide to help you describe your skills, accomplishments and abilities in dynamic and interesting terms when writing your CV.
- Key Skills Audit (pdf)- identify your current skill set when writing CV, application forms and attending interviews
- Example CVs:
Please note: the CV examples are intended as a guide only and, although they have been titled with job areas, you should adapt your CV to suit your circumstances and tailor it to the requirements of the job.
- Architecture CV Example (pdf)
- Biology CV Example (pdf)
- Business CV Example (pdf)
- Computing CV Example (pdf)
- Creative CV examples
- Creative CV guide
- Engineering CV example (pdf)
- Environmental CV example (pdf)
- Law CV example (pdf)
- General Part-time CV Example (pdf)
- Part-time CV Example (with no work experience) (pdf)
- Part-time CV Example (with some work experience) (pdf)
- Petroleum Engineering CV Example (pdf)
- Pharmacy CV Example (pdf)
- Skills-based (two page) CV Example (pdf)
- Academic CV Example (pdf) - CV for applying for academic or research posts and, occasionally, postgraduate study opportunities.
- For more examples of Academic CV's visit the Prospects website
- To research application methods outside the UK see the TargetJobs website or visit Purple Door to view the Global Resumé Guide.
- Careers uncovered is a handy PDF guide compiled by Guardian Careers (in association with Guardian Jobs) that takes you through all the essentials of applying for a job.
- Don't finish your career before it starts (pdf) - advice and guidance from CIFAS, UK's Fraud Prevention Service, on the importance of having an honest CV.
Please note, you will need to have Adobe Reader installed to view PDF documents. If you do not have this installed, it can be downloaded for free from Adobe here.