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How to create a successful CV

A good CV is essential when seeking employment, from what you write to how you present it. Writing a  CV can be a tough challenge, it needs to reflect you as a worker and a person.

With high volumes of candidates applying for the same job we have produced a list of helpful hints and tips to demonstrate how to secure that important interview.

Some of these tips are common sense, while others a little less obvious but in no way less important. Ultimately, a tailored and professional CV is paramount to securing “that” job.


Right let’s get started

Choose a clear professional font and of a size that an employer can easily scan.  Keep it short, ideally no more than two sides of A4 however if you have a wealth of relevant experience then share it! .  It should be laid out in a logical order, free from typing errors and printed on plain white paper. 

Before you send it to anyone, make sure a friend or relative has read it for you. They will then be able to offer constructive advice, whilst also checking for any mistakes. Again, your CV is a reflection of yourself.

But what should it contain?

  • Personal details - Address, Tel No, email address
  • Personal statement - Short paragraph about you! - Highly organised individual etc
  • Education - Put your most recent education in first
  • Key Achievements - What have you achieved in life
  • Employment - Chronological order
  • Interests
  • References


Personal Details:

Include your name, address including postcode, email address, and contact phone number.  Make sure these are clearly marked at the top of your CV. You do not need to include your date of birth; nationality or ethnic origins and you are not required to include a photograph.


Personal Statement:

Many jobseekers choose to include a personal statement in their CV as it is an opportunity to tell an employer about your suitability for the job. Keep it brief and demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment.  Never assume that an employer will immediately relate your experience to their vacancy. Always remember to concentrate on what you can offer the company, not the other way round. Remember also to refer back to the job advert or description to make sure you highlight your relevant skills and experience.  Highlight your attributes, are you a team player, does that job require you work independently, can you cope under pressure?, are you well presented, a confident communicator?.


Put your most recent education first. 

  • Degree courses, University/College first with qualifications
  • Any further courses that you have completed including any NVQ courses.
  • Secondary School and higher education


All the above should include dates, the name of your University / College / School, Subjects, grades and qualifications

In addition to academic qualifications, employers will want you to tell them about any training you've undertaken, such as food safety training, or health and safety courses


Relevant Key Achievements

Do you have any relevant statistics or figures that demonstrate your achievements?

For example, if you improved anything, delivered a project within a desired timescale, coached or developed others, introduced anything new (technology, training, staff rotas) or increased revenue or productivity levels (state revenue increase from £ pounds to £ pounds or % of margin increase/growth) or maybe you have received any recognition or awards for your work in the past, e.g., Employee of the month?



This section includes any work experience that you have in the field you are applying for.

Present in reverse chronological order - i.e. your most recent position listed first. Highlight the parts of your career history that are most relevant to the position you're applying for.  Give details of the companies you have worked for with the titles of the positions you held and dates you worked. Duties, responsibilities, and tasks should be listed in bullet points.

Remember that employers are most interested in the last three to seven years of your experience, so write more about those jobs.

Use key phrases.  For example, if the employer talks about wanting people with "leadership and charisma", it makes good sense to use that exact phrase rather than talking about something you think is similar like "management and presence".

Any extra information, such as reasons for a career change or reasons for gaps in career history should be added as required.

Always write a new CV from scratch rather than updating an old one. The risk of merely updating an old one is that you leave information on there that is no longer relevant.


Volunteer and charity work

If you have experience as a volunteer or participate in Charity events or campaigns, make reference to it.   It demonstrates integrity, commitment and a willingness to assist others.

Hobbies & Interests

Include relevant interests and consider the role you are applying for.  For example if it is a weekend role, we would not suggest writing “every Saturday I do a sporting activity”.  There is also little relevance in stating that you are sociable or enjoy going to the cinema.  If however the job you are applying for has a strong relevance to team work and your hobbies reflect this then make reference to this.


A simple ‘references available on request' will suffice.  Select referees who have knowledge of your skills and can sell you to a potential employee. Seek permission from your referees and provide them with details of the types of positions you are applying for.

And Finally……………

Make it keyword friendly.   Remember to tailor your CV to the needs of each individual employer.  Strong candidates will change words and phrases on every single CV they send out in order to make each employer sit up and take notice. If you’ve uploaded your CV to a job site so recruiters can find you, keywords are extremely important.   Job titles and buzzwords will enable a search engine pick out your CV from the pile.   Remember that a CV is a sales document. Put on it only the information that will sell you to the employer.