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Tips for writing your CV

31 October, 2014Abigail Parton

It’s the milkround, and I’ve reviewed numerous CVs in recent weeks to help out students and professionals. I’ve learnt some useful methods in my time, so here are my top five hints and tips:

Read the job description

  • Sounds obvious, but every CV should be tailored to the role being applied for.
  • Read job spec and highlight key adjectives/points, then aim to include relevant references/examples in your CV.
  • Consider language – E.g. If job spec says ‘clients’ not ‘customers’, you should too.
  • Between CV/cover letter/application form you should have mentioned all the job description’s key points/words.

Start with a profile

  • This two-three sentence summary should give an idea of who you are, your experience and perhaps even your immediate career aims.
  • E.g. ‘Driven and energetic Retail Banking leader, with proven experience in branch management, project work and people development. Seeking next career challenge in Retail Risk to broaden skills while adding immediate value in a new environment’.


  • If you have a degree or two, do not include A Levels/GCSEs. If you did a dissertation/particular modules which are directly relevant then list these.
  • Employment/Work Experience more than 10 years ago can be excluded unless it is more relevant than recent roles.
  • Volunteering can be mentioned, but preferably displaying relevant skills and no more than a couple of points/sentences.

Avoid story-telling or speaking in the first-person (using “I/we”).

  • It should read as if someone else is describing you and every point is a fact.
  • E.g. Not “I am a good communicator and enjoy presenting” but “Strong communicator and enthusiastic presenter”.


  • Everything should be in reverse chronological order (most recent degrees/employment first).
  • Bring key words to the front of the sentence/point.
  • Make it easy to read with bullet points and paragraphs.
    Underline or embolden the titles.