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CV Writing - How To Write A CV

A perfect CV layout has 2 objectives:

To illustrate your strengths and maximise your chances of getting through to interview and to put factual information, such as dates, places, names together in a presentable and readable form.

Focal Point

It is claimed that the human eyes are naturally drawn to a focal point one third down from the top of the page. Therefore, put your most useful information in this area. It will usually be your Profile which is a summary of your skills, experience and achievements condensed into one paragraph. Always get a second opinion when you have put your CV together. It is difficult to be objective about oneself.


It is often thought that a good CV should be fitted on to one side of A4 and a professional CV over two. This can be difficult if you are a mature applicant with a long employment history.

As a 'rule of thumb' there should be more white than black on a page to make it easier to read. It is a good idea to start with your Career History as this will highlight your Key Skills and help you write your Profile and Achievements sections.

Once you have entered your information you must edit it

1. Take out anything that will not help you get where you want to be
2. Write in the 'third' person as much as possible keeping 'I' to a minimum
3. Never use the past tense e.g. use "supporting senior management" rather than "supported senior management"
4. Use short sharp sentences cutting out any waffle and jargon


Print your name in bold type at the centre top of your CV. If there is any doubt as to which is your surname, e.g. James Martin, indicate by using capitals or underlining.

Full address including post code.

Full dialing code and daytime and evening numbers if possible.

Date of birth
Put in full such as 13th December 1962. Do not put your age. this should go at the end of the CV under 'Personal' along with other details such as marital status and children.

Marital status
You do not have to include this at all. If you choose to, make sure you use only "married" or "single". Do not use divorced or co-habiting.

Its up to you whether you include this information or not but if you include it do not put the names or ages of children.

This is an introductory statement about who you are and what you have to offer. You should complete this last although it is positioned prominently in the CV, in the Focal Point. It should be no more than two sentences and include the most important facts about yourself. You can include skills, achievements, responsibility or personal qualities. e.g. Highly motivated Account Manager with successful direct and telesales experience in hardware and software industries.

Several key achievements should be highlighted after you have analysed and edited your employment history. Pick out no more than six. Make sure they are relevant. Do not include dates. An achievement can come from an earlier job or an outside interest. If you are short on direct experience and qualifications you may have skills arising from your personality, i.e. Interpersonal skills, e.g. "the ability to relate and communicate with others". Some examples of descriptive words to use in 'Achievements' are:


Career History or Work Experience
Always start with your most recent employment. Break down your job functions as much as possible. The job description on your contract might provide a starting point or, consider how your employer might advertise your job. You should have more to say about your most recent, and therefore most relevant, employment. Include successes and achievements especially if it saved the company money. Don't have any employment gaps. If these occur explain them briefly.

If you are a mature applicant you can leave these out as career history is more important. Put the highest qualification first with year achieved. If you have a degree you can leave out the lower qualifications altogether or include the basic information. Do not include poor grades or failures.

Professional Qualifications
Only include those that are still current.

Technical Skills
Only include technical skills that are relevant to the position for which you are applying. Show how current your knowledge of these skills are as technology moves forward rapidly.

Additional Skills
Include any other relevant courses or skills such as keyboard skills, languages, health and safety courses.

Only include interests that are unusual or which indicate transferable skills, achievements or responsibilities.

Your CV should be available soft copy and preferably in Word and Pdf version. Hard copies should be on good quality plain white A4 paper. Do not use double sides. Only fold once and enclose an SAE

E & O E - Copyright 2005 CVwriting.net

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