A good CV should include:

Your contact details

Make sure your phone number and e-mail address are up to date and that you are checking both of these regularly. If an employer can’t get hold of you, they’re not going to offer you an interview!

A personal statement

This is usually the first thing an employer will look at and is your chance to really sell yourself. Focus on what your key skills are and how you’ve demonstrated them in the past (either in previous jobs, education or other activities). Employers will be looking for skills such as being able to work in a team, being punctual, reliable, hardworking and motivated. Try to tailor the statement to the field of work you are applying for as much as possible.

Your work experience

Include all jobs you have had including voluntary jobs and work experience. They should be listed in date order from most recent, with the name of the employer, job title and dates you worked there. It’s a good idea to list what your duties were, and maybe some of the skills you gained.

Your education

You don’t need to list every single school you went to; just the ones where you gained qualifications. You should write the dates, subjects and what grades you achieved.

Any other training, short courses or personal achievements

This could be anything from completing an NCS programme, a first aid certificate, driving license, kickboxing medals etc. Don’t be afraid to show off!

Hobbies and interests

The employer wants to know who you are as a person. What do you like doing when you’re not working or studying? Any sports, music or clubs you do are always interesting.


If you’re offered a job the employer will usually ask for 2 references which can be previous employers, college/school/university tutors or job coaches. You don’t need to put who they are on your CV but it’s good to have them in mind and to write ‘References available on request’ at the bottom of your CV.

Top tips for CV writing!

  • Double check all your spelling, punctuation, capital letters and grammar. Use spell check or get someone else to read over it.
  • Make sure the CV is clear, well presented and easy to read.
  • Your CV should be one to two pages long. Any longer and the employer is probably not going to read it all.
  • Tailor your CV to the job you are applying for. For example, a CV for a construction job will look very different to an illustrator’s CV because the employers are looking for different things. Always have the employer in mind and think about what they would want to see in someone they’re hiring. If you don’t know, the job description is a good place to start!
  • Give examples – rather than just saying “I have good communication”, tell them when you have shown this and how.
  • Make sure your CV is updated – the more recent, the better. Your CV should be an evolving document which changes as you do.
  • Big up your skills to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, rather than just saying what you did in a previous job/course, say what you learned from this or what skills you developed.

Want to work on your CV with a job coach? Drop by our Job Club or get in touch if you'd need personal careers advice

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