Writing a CV

When job hunting you are often asked to send a copy of your CV to a prospective employer. A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a document that tells a potential employer a bit about you, your past achievements and experiences.

A CV should be truthful, positive and relevant to the job you are applying for.

For a school leaver with limited experience it should be no longer than one side of A4. It needs to be updated regularly.

What are the main sections of a CV?

Personal details

This should include your full name, address, contact number and an appropriate and professional email address.

Personal profile

A short paragraph that celebrates what you believe are your best skills. An example could be being self-motivated. It may also tell the employer what type of position you are looking for.

Education and qualifications

This should include the names of your schools and colleges from secondary school age, including the dates that you attended. Any qualifications gained should also be listed with grades.

Employment history of work experience

Young people often worry about not having much to put in this section, but it is normal for people your age not to have many experiences.

Add any work experience, paid work or voluntary work that you have done even if just for one day. You could also add here any positions of authority that you may have had in the past: eg prefect, mentor etc.

Your interests

Prospective employers like to hear about what you do in your spare time. Try and make this productive and steer clear of putting things like ‘socialising’, which is something most people do!

If you are involved with any clubs or have any hobbies this is a good place to put it in.

Other information/references

If you have any other non-academic skills that are relevant, such as a clean driver’s license, you could put that here.

Your referee shouldn’t be a member of your family or a friend. It needs to be someone who knows you well and can say positive things about you such as a teacher or head of year at school. Check with them beforehand that they are happy to act as your referee.

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Useful websites to help you with CVs

National Careers Service

Barclays Lifeskills

  • Barclays Lifeskills is a great website with lots of advice and information on writing a CV and looking for and applying for work in general. You can open an account for free and use the CV builder tool (external link)

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Page last updated:

October 24, 2022

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