What is Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A curriculum vitae (CV) or resume is a
standardized resources of setting out an applicant's educational and employment
history. The layout of a CV has evolved over the years, and current values
vary from nation to nation. In the UK, there has been a strong trend towards the
more objective American style CV resume over the last two decades.
This article focuses on creating a British CV in line with the currently
accepted style, suitable for students and graduates to use when applying for
The CV encircles, in the following order:
In the UK a CV should be exactly two pages long. Keep things
concise, and leave out anything that is not relevant to the position you
are applying for.
- Applicant Full Name
- Applicant Nationality
- Address of Applicant, Telephone and Email
- Career objective is optional
- Educational history (most recent first)
- Professional/Work experience & Employment History (most recent first) -
put this above Educational History if not applying for a graduate position.
- Professional accreditations/qualifications if you have any (e.g.
- Specialist skills (e.g. typing, bookkeeping etc)
Setting out your Curriculum Vitae
The title of your CV should be your name,
placed clearly at the top of the first page where it will be easily found by the
The next two or three lines should contain your contact details. Check these
carefully as this is the only way recruiters will be able to get in touch with
you. Include a mobile telephone number and email address if you have one.
Include your nationality here too, if you want to.
If you have a driving license, you may wish to state this here, or in the
"skills" section later on.
You should not include a date of birth or your age on your CV. Age
discrimination laws mean that this kind of information should not be discussed
at any point during the recruitment process, or even during employment itself.
Career Objective/Curriculum Vitae (CV) Summary
Including a short personal description or
career objective at the start of your CV allows you to clearly describe your
career goals, hopes and aspirations to your potential employer.
Detailing what you aim to achieve, or alternatively indicating your main
skills and qualities in a short personal statement at the start of your CV, can
be an effective means of attracting a recruiter's attention to your application.
It is quite acceptable to omit this section from your CV altogether, but it is
highly advisable to include it, as it will help your CV to get noticed.
Never use "I", "am" or "we" in your CV summary. Instead, write in the third
person throughout. This helps to keep your CV more focused and direct.
An example career objective might be the following:
?Motivated science graduate, with internship experience at Hammond
Partners. Interested in training as a chartered accountants, developing technical
knowledge dexterities in audit and pursuing a career in finance."
Another example, using bullet points, would be:
- Highly motivated first class science graduate with internship
- Skilled mathematician keen to train as a chartered accountant and
develop technical skills in audit.
- Passionate sportsman with experience of leading successful teams in
football and rugby.
Educational History in Curriculum Vitae
If you graduated from university less
than 12 months ago, or have only worked in low-skilled jobs since graduating
that are not relevant to the industry you are now applying to, this section
should go before "Employment History / Work Experience" on your CV.
However, if you have worked in positions that are relevant to the industry
you are applying to, put your employment history before this section. In other
words, make sure the section that best supports your application goes first.
Write your educational history in reverse chronological order, with the most
recent qualifications first. Your level of education will dictate how much
detail you should include on your CV. For example, if you have a university
degree, you do not need to include a list of your
GCSE or high
school subjects ? just the grades will suffice.
You should include:
- The date the qualification was attained
- The grade obtained
- The name of the subject
- The name of the establishment, university or college from which you
- The city/county of the establishment. If it was abroad, include the
- Any additional details that you may wish to add that may support your
Employment History / Work Experience in CV (Curriculum
In this section, list your employers in
reverse chronological order, the most recent first.
Make sure you include:
- Dates of employment
- Company/organization name
- City (or country where relevant)
- Job title
- Details of position - what you did and experienced gained (including any
training courses attended or skills acquired)
- Further details - quantify anything impressive you have achieved in
employment, e.g. "Initiated a number of operational directives that
resulted in increased sales of circa ?3k per month".
Make sure you include any relevant
internships or work
experience here, clearly marking these positions as such.
It is not necessary to include every, or even any, particularly irrelevant
positions you were involved in during university (e.g. working in a catering job
when applying to be a lawyer), unless you feel they would support your
application. However, it is advisable to make a note of every post-university
employer on your CV. Some recruiters associate time unaccounted for on your CV
with time spent in prison. If you do have extended gaps between jobs then
clearly state why this is - e.g. traveling. If you have been involved in
several stop-gap or short-term jobs after graduation state this on your CV,
rather than listing every employer - recruiters are not interested in small
details, but they do want to see that all periods of your life are accounted
Use bullet points to describe roles, key skills and any further details more
Never write anything negative about a past or present employer on your CV.
Targeting your CV
Candidates should refine their CV for
each job they apply for. It is crucial to do this, because different recruiters
and different jobs require different key skills. You should consider what each
employer is looking for from job applicants before you send them your CV, and
make sure you mention that you have these key skills specifically.
Watch this video for further information on targeting CVs for employers.
Specialist Skills in Curriculum Vitae
Include any particularly relevant skills
you have on your CV so long as they relevant and support your application.
Examples include bookkeeping, foreign languages or specialist IT software
skills. Familiarity with Microsoft Office, email or the internet is considered
as given and it is not necessary to mention this unless you are particularly
able. Do mention anything that would set you apart from other candidates.
Adding References in CV
Due to data protection laws candidates
should never provide referees' names, addresses or any other contact
details on CVs. Instead, candidates should simply write "References
available on request" at the very end of their CV (positioning this in the
centre of the page usually looks best).
If you are called for interview and need to supply references, recent
graduates with little or no formal experience should generally provide one
academic reference and one professional reference, if available. Experienced
candidates should provide two professional references.
Always ask permission to provide someone with your referee's details. When
you do, include telephone number, email address and postal address. Many
employers will write by post to your referees and expect a reply, so it is in
your interests to prepare them should this happen.
You do not need to provide more than two references unless you are asked to
The most common reasons for CVs being rejected by recruiters
are bad grammar, poor spelling and lousy punctuation.
Spell-check, proof-read and double check your CV every time
you send it to an employer.
Photos in CV
Including a photo with a CV is strongly
discouraged except where a photo is required or expected (e.g. modeling,
acting). Employers may still request a photograph regardless. If you do need to
include one, make sure it is a professional head-shot, just like your passport
Covering Letter of Curriculum Vitae
If applying for a specific position
(rather than a graduate scheme), you should always include a
(sometimes known as a
to explain your suitability. You should do this even if applying by email. Be
aware that covering letters are not always read, and therefore you should
include any particularly relevant information on both your CV as well as on your
False information on a CV
Lying on a CV in order to get a job or anything else of value is fraud, a
serious criminal and civil offense. An employer has the right to dismiss an
employee or claim money from him or her in a civil court or even have the
employee arrested for making false statements. As such CVs should be purely
factual without implying skills which do not exist.
It is, however, both reasonable and advisable to reflect on your experiences
and achievements in a positive light when writing a CV or resume