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Check our CV advice on what to include and how to make it stand out.

A CV is a short, written summary of your skills, achievements and experience. You use it in the first stage of applying for jobs. Employers often ask for a CV instead of an application form. You can do it on paper or online.

CV layout

There are different CV styles, so use the one which best matches the stage you’re at in your life or career. The main styles are:

  • traditional CV or chronological CV - list your work and education history, starting with the most recent

  • skills based or targeted CV - focuses on your job-related skills and personal qualities

  • technical CV - used in professions like IT and engineering and puts your industry-specific skills first followed by the other information

  • creative CV - used in creative and digital arts and can link to an online portfolio, contain video or infographics, or include digital tools that make you stand out from the crowd

  • academic CV - generally longer than a traditional or skills-based CV and often used for teaching and research careers

Your finished document should be no more than 2 sides of A4 unless it’s an academic CV.

What to include

There are some things that you need to put in your CV. You can change the order of these to suit your situation and the type of CV layout you want to use.

Contact details

You’ll need to include:

  • your name at the top of your document.

  • your full address and postcode

  • telephone or mobile number

  • email address - always use a professional sounding email address

Leave out details like your age, date of birth, marital status and nationality. These are not required.

If you have a profile on a professional social media site like LinkedIn, you can add a link to it on your CV.

Personal profile

This is a few short lines that sum up who you are and what you hope to do. Think about the job you want and what the employer is looking for. Make your profile sound like you're the right person for the job.

Education history

This section can be added after your personal profile when you’re early on in your career or if you do not have much work experience. Whatever order you choose, you’ll need to give:

  • the names of your qualifications

  • the school, college or university where you studied

  • the dates you attended

Work experience history

Include work placements, volunteering and any paid jobs you’ve held. You’ll need to give details of:

  • the employer, with most recent first

  • the title of the job

  • the dates you worked

  • a brief outline of what you did - usually 2 to 3 lines

Hobbies, interests or achievements

Use examples that show you have skills that are relevant to the job. This section is useful if you do not have much work experience.


You can leave out the details of your references at this point. The recruiter will ask for these when you get through to the next stage.

How to write a CV: Service
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