CV or Curriculum Vitae

A good CV can get you an interview

It should outline your career aims, education and work experience to date. The information on your CV will also help you to complete application forms. It will help to have it in front of you when ringing employers about vacancies. You decide what goes in your CV. It is your chance to say as many good things about yourself as possible. It should be:

  • short – one to two pages is ideal
  • clear – use headings to divide the information
  • truthful – or you may get caught out later
  • positive – think about your best qualities
  • readable make it clear and neat and use a standard font such as Arial. 

When you have finished, leave it a while and then read it through to check for mistakes and check your spelling and grammar. You will also need to adapt your CV for the different jobs you apply for. You should post or email it with a suitable covering letter.

Some word suggestions for you to use on your CV

Able Accurate Adaptable Analytical
Caring Capable Confident Creative 
Decisive Dependable
Enthusiastic Experienced
Flexible Friendly
Hardworking Honest
IT literate
Mature Methodical Motivated
Organised Outgoing
Patient Positive Practical Productive Punctual
Qualified Quick
Reliable Resourceful Responsible
Skilled Successful
Tactful Talented Trustworthy

Writing your personal profile or statement on your CV

Don’t repeat information that is included in other sections of your form or CV. Asking yourself these questions may help.

  • What makes you think you would be good at this?
  • What does the job advert or vacancy specification ask for? Underline the key words in the advert and maybe use these or similar words in your application.
  • What experience have you got out of this?
  • Why do you want this job, apprenticeship or course?
  • What training are you willing to do?
  • What do you hope to do in the future?
  • You could include what you currently do, your job title or current position. For example ‘experienced sales assistant’ or ‘school/college leaver’
  • Some of your main strengths
  • Something about your background or experience
  • What you are aiming for

You may need help if you have a criminal record and you are applying for work

Many employers will still consider you if they don’t think your conviction is relevant and you are not a risk. Applying for jobs in the right way will give you a better chance of getting a job. For more information, take a look at the advice from NACRO, Disclosing criminal records to employers.

For more help with writing a CV and covering letter:

See the National Careers Service advice on getting a job

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