What is a CV?

A CV, short for ‘curriculum vitae’, is a summary of your academic and professional history, achievements interests and skills. It is usually the first contact you’ll have with a potential employer and it’s your marketing tool to sell your experience and skills. Writing an excellent CV takes a lot of planning, time and effort, but don’t let this put you off, our CV master class tells you how to write a winning CV. 

A CV will usually include:

1. Personal de​tails

Your personal details must include your name, telephone number and postal and email address. This information is used for the employer to contact you, so make sure it’s accurate and clear to read. It’s not necessary to include your gender or age.

2. Personal profile

Your personal profile introduces yourself and it’s the first opportunity for you to sell yourself. The aim is to give the employer a quick snapshot of who you are and what you can offer.

Learn how to write your personal profile

3. Education and qualifications

This section is where you’ll list your education and qualification history, detailing where you went to school/college/university, the time you were there and the qualifications you have gained.

4. Employment history

This section is where you’ll list the employers you’ve worked for and any voluntary positions you’ve held. You must also include your key duties and responsibilities.

Learn how to write your employment history

5. Achievements and skills

This is your chance to enhance your CV by showcasing your skills or achievements. You can refer to anything from speaking a foreign language to knowledge of a specialist computer programme.

Learn how to showcase your achievements and skills

6. Interests (optional)

Here’s your chance to let the employer know your hobbies and interests. Although this section isn’t necessary, it could give your CV a boost if your interests are relevant to the role.

7. References (optional)

A reference is who the employer will contact for more information about you and to clarify that the information you’ve provided is correct. A reference will usually be your previous manager, but if you haven’t been in employment, a teacher or head of year is fine. You should detail the name and the work address of the reference