How to Write a CV? Download Free CV Templates

“Hi [candidate_name], thanks for applying to the [company_name]. We are impressed by your professional background and would like to invite you to an interview”

Are you looking for such an interview invitation? A CV helps you show the best of what you got and is the first stage of the recruitment process. Writing a good one will make your job search smoother, and you’ll find lucrative career prospects. Read on and explore how to write a CV that will stand out. 

Table of Contents

What is a CV?

A CV, which stands for curriculum vitae, is a short, written overview of your skills, experiences, and professional achievements. It’s used when applying for jobs and provides the chance to make a winning first impression. Recruiters may also ask for a cover letter along with your CV.

What to Include in a CV?

Make sure your CV has the must-include information. It should clearly show your eligibility and qualifications for the job. There are many things to be careful about while creating your CV. See below what things your CV should include.

 

  • Contact Information
  • Profile Summary
  • Education History
  • Work Experience
  • Skills and Achievements
  • Hobbies and Interests
  • References

what to include in a cv

Contact Information 

Put your contact details at the top of your CV. Include your full name, home address, phone number and email address. Again, you can add your professional links, including your LinkedIn account, to your contact information.   

On the other hand, avoid adding your date of birth, nationality and marital status. Moreover, if you have social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter for personal use, don’t mention them on your CV. You should avoid including photographs unless you apply for an acting or modelling job. This will create a positive impression on the recruiter. 

Profile Summary

A CV profile summary, also known as a personal profile, is the first section of your CV. It includes the most relevant information about your traits, qualifications, work experiences and desires for the job. While writing a personal statement for your CV, keep it to the point, around 4-5 sentences in length. 

Education History

The education section in the CV demonstrates your knowledge and background in the field. If you know how to write a CV with an impressive education section, you can stand out as a strong and knowledgeable applicant to the recruiter. While writing the education portion of your CV, list your education highlights orderly, placing the most recent first. Share the name and locations of the schools you attended and the year of graduation. 

Then, describe your degree’s qualifications, levels, and titles, including your majors and minors. Remember to mention the more attractive grades you achieved to show your academic achievements and impress employers.

If you are an older candidate with multiple jobs, you can break the sequence and mention your skills and work experiences first. 

Work Experience

A good experience section is a crucial factor in your CV, showing the recruiter how you can be an asset to their company. Therefore, you must know how to write a CV mentioning the positions you’ve worked in and your achievements. 

List your jobs chronologically, ensuring the current ones are at the top. Ensure you highlight the jobs relevant to the role you’re applying for. Next, mention the name and location of the company you worked for, your designation and the dates of employment. Finally, give an overview of your key responsibilities, and list your achievements and awards if they are relevant and noticeable. 

Skills and Achievements

This portion is where you need to list your employability skills, mention any foreign languages you can speak and say if you’re good with computers. Adding them shows recruiters your ability to succeed in the role you applied for. But before that, you must identify your skills and see if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for. You can carefully review the job adverts and see what skills employers seek. 

Some soft skills you can include in your CV are communication, teamwork, adaptability, self-motivation, time management, problem-solving and working under pressure. 

Hobbies and Interests

Do you know? A great way to show employers your skills is through hobbies and interests. However, travelling, watching movies, and socialising will not strengthen your document. Instead, showing your relevant skills for the role will give recruiters a clear picture of you and improve your chances of landing an interview

Hobbies and interests should be in the final section of your CV. Keep the paragraph short by listing 4–5 interests related to your job. This section is handy for those who don’t have much work experience. 

References

At this point, you don’t have to mention your referees’ names and contact details. Instead, you can use the phrase “reference available on request.” However, it’s recommended to leave references off your CV unless specifically requested by the company.

Level 2 Certificate in CV Writing
Are you hunting for an interesting and well-paid job? Do you want to improve your job hunting skills and give a huge boost to your career?
Level 2 Certificate in CV Writing
Are you hunting for an interesting and well-paid job? Do you want to improve your job hunting skills and give a huge boost to your career?

How to Write a CV?

Recruiters will spend just a few seconds looking at your CV before deciding whether you’ll fit the role. So you must create an impressive CV to make recruiters stop and pay a closer look at your application. Here are the steps you can follow to make an attention-grabbing CV.

  1. Start with a Strong Intro
  2. Include all Essential Components
  3. Use Keywords
  4. Design a Clear and Well-structured Layout
  5. Don’t Lie or Exaggerate the Truth
  6. Quantify Your Achievements
  7. Take Help from a Professional CV Writer
  8. Include a Cover Letter
  9. Customise Your CV for Each Application

what is a cv

Start with a Strong Intro

A boring introduction can be a serious handicap, and your CV may get rejected. Therefore, you must focus on making the first section of your CV impactful and professional to catch a recruiter’s eye. To optimise the first section of your CV, research the target roles and list the candidate requirements. 

Then, think about the skills you possess that match what the employer’s looking for and add as many of them to the top section of your CV. This will instantly show employers if you’re the right match for the position.

Include all Essential Components

Your CV must contain all your essential information. If it lacks details, the recruiter may disregard your application. So, you must add your top skills, achievements, and work experience to show the employer that you are the best match for the role. Again, you can highlight your passion and willingness to learn if you need work experience. 

Use Keywords 

Today, most businesses use technology to hire more talent with less effort. Many organisations use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to tailor their hiring to a smooth and efficient process. The ATS extracts specific information about the applicants and stores the data automatically to help the hiring managers identify top talents. So, you need to create a CV that will ensure both the applicant tracking software and the hiring manager notice your CV.  

Keywords are the most important things an ATS looks for in an applicant’s CV. But do you know how to write a CV with the most relevant keywords? One of the best ways is to match your resume to the job description. Look closer at the skills, qualifications and experiences listed as requirements for the role. 

Then, pick out keywords and incorporate the relevant ones on your CV, mainly in the work experience section. This will help you beat the ATS and get noticed by employers. 

Design a Clear and Well-structured Layout

Your CV layout has a significant role in securing an interview. It demonstrates you’re organised and professional to be taken seriously. So, keep it short, and get straight to the point. Also, use enough spacing, clear section headings (e.g. skills, qualification and work experience) and a reverse chronological order to keep things clear and improve readability. 

Don't Lie or Exaggerate the Truth

Giving false information on your CV or stretching the truth will not advance your career. It will create mistrust in the employer and damage your credibility. 

Moreover, some lies can amount to a fraud offence. For instance, including skills and qualifications you don’t have or when you lie about having a job.

Honesty is the best policy in this case.

Don't lie in your cv

Quantify Your Achievements

It’s one thing to tell the hiring manager about your skills and accomplishments. It’s another thing to let them see themselves. So, use measurable achievements (add numbers to the data you’ve provided) in your CV to show what specific results you achieved. 

Here’s an example of how to quantify resume achievements

Generic (No Numbers) 

I worked at the front desk, booked appointments, answered phone calls, organised schedules, replied to emails and checked guests in and out. 

Effective (Numbers Added)

Handled 150+ incoming and outgoing calls daily, booked 20+ reservations, and managed 50+ check-in and check-out guests; meanwhile, achieved a 97% customer satisfaction score through feedback forms. 

Take Help from a Professional CV Writer

Sometimes, you may need help understanding how to write a CV that gets you hired. One single mistake can be detrimental to your job search. Luckily, you can take help from professionals to make your CV perfect. They are experienced in the field and know what the recruiters are looking for in the candidate. Hence, they can tailor your CV according to the specific job you’re applying for and ensure you achieve your career goals. 

Include a Cover Letter

cover letter

Applicants often wonder if they should include a cover letter with their CV when it’s optional. However, a persuasive cover letter will ensure that your CV gets opened every time and give you an extra opportunity to show why you’re the best fit for the role. Most job experts recommend including a powerful cover letter with a CV. 

Another benefit of providing a cover letter is adding details that you still need to include in your CV. Ultimately, you’ll boost your chances of success.

Customise Your CV for Each Application

For every job application, you must show how your experience aligns with the role’s requirements. However, it is unlikely that generic CVs will show your relevant skills and experience to employers. They need to be more varied and match the criteria for a specific job you’re pursuing. Therefore, you need to know how to write a CV targeted for each application to show your genuine enthusiasm for the role and land more interviews. 

How to Write a CV with No Work Experience?

Many people struggle to find a job after graduation: you need experience for a job, and you need a job for experience. 

Now how to write a CV that will get a recruiter’s attention even if you lack experience? 

In such scenarios, you must focus on other aspects of your life that convey your skills and passion – such as your education, extracurricular activities and volunteering experience. 

See below what you should highlight in your resume to make it stand out.

resume with no experience

Highlight your education

Emphasising your education is one of the best ways to showcase your skills, strengths and background to the recruiter. But how to write a CV with a strong education section? Let’s have a look. 

List Relevant Coursework

Make sure you include any coursework that shows the skills related to the job you are applying for in the education section of your CV. You can do this by writing “Relevant Coursework” under the degree name and using commas to separate the titles of the course afterwards. Besides that, mention the dates, the type of qualifications and the grades you achieved. 

You can list john academy courses in your CV but only put them in the certifications section if you have certificates. In the meantime, look at the job description to understand what skills are required in the field so you know what to keep or toss.

GPA and Honours

GPA is part of your educational achievements, and a high GPA improves the quality of your CV enormously. By showcasing your academic abilities and determination to the recruiters, you can prove yourself as a hard worker who strives for success and that they can rely on you for the position they are offering. 

Most expert recruiters recommend adding CGPA if it’s 3.5 or above. Since adding a GPA is to complement the education section and boost the value of your resume, a lower GPA isn’t noteworthy. So if you have a below-average GPA (3.0 or below), leave it out and talk about other strengths instead. However, if your total GPA is 3.0 or below and your major GPA is higher, you can list it on your CV. 

Relevant Projects

If you have worked on any projects relevant to the position you are applying for, you can add them to your resume. This way, you can communicate your skills and expertise and let the recruiters know how you’ve used your capabilities to achieve results.

You can list your projects on your CV below a job description as accomplishments. However, if you’ve worked on multiple projects, this can have its own section titled Projects, Personal Projects, and Academic Projects.

Certifications and Online Courses

You need to include your certifications in your resume for many reasons. By featuring your course certificate, you can show the hiring manager your validated proof of knowledge in a specific field and your effort to develop relevant job skills. 

Besides that, you can demonstrate your additional skills and make your job application stand out to potential employers. Adding certifications also helps when you need more practical experience. So, if you received any professional credentials, list them in the education section and set yourself apart from your peers. 

Show Your Relevant Experience

Relevant experience is the experience required for the job you’re applying for. While writing your CV, you might not have any experience to mention. But if you think about yourself more deeply, you might discover you already have various top skills employers look for when short-listing candidates.

You can put the following in a section titled “Relevant Experience.”

Volunteer Experiences

Voluntary experience shows your transferable skills to recruiters. It demonstrates that you’re community-minded and can work with people from diverse backgrounds to make ideas a successful reality. In this section, you can include what work you’ve done voluntarily and without any payment. List your main achievements in volunteer work, the tasks you’ve completed, the obstacles you faced and the positive outcomes of your effort. 

A volunteer experience section works wonders if you have a work experience gap on your CV. 

Part-time Jobs

If you wonder whether or not you should mention your part-time jobs in your CV, then definitely yes. Your CV should capture all your work experiences, full-time or part-time, to avoid gaps. However, it depends on what point you are in your career. 

Suppose your past job was 100% irrelevant to what you’re trying to pursue. None of the skills are transferable, and you were in a completely different industry. For instance, you worked as a server in a restaurant, and now you’re applying for a programming job. Should you mention this job in your resume? If it’s the only type of work you’ve done, you may include it in your CV since this is the sole work experience the recruiter can review. However, if you have a wide range of work experiences, you can leave the completely irrelevant ones off your resume. 

Extracurricular Activities

Once again, if you are a recent graduate or looking for an entry-level position, the obvious choice would be to showcase your extracurricular activities. Sporting achievements, foreign language proficiency, performing and public speaking and volunteering are some extracurricular activities you can mention in your CV. 

On top of that, you can let the employer know if you joined extracurricular clubs and societies alongside your studies. Including these on your resume will demonstrate your transferable skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making and communication. Eventually, you can prove yourself as a valuable and dependable employee to the hiring manager. 

Remember to mention your extracurricular activities in the “Additional Info” section at the bottom of your CV. 

Mention Your Skills

The skills section is integral to your CV since it shows your capabilities to succeed in the role you’re applying for. So, if you don’t have any formal work experience, you must know how to write a CV mentioning your relevant skills. 

Read through the several job descriptions to see what skills the employers require, and add those you have in common. 

Some of the skills you can mention in your resume include –

  • Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint
  • Computer programming
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem-solving
  • Foreign languages
  • Public speaking
  • Customer service

In case you have few skills and experience to show, there are entry-level jobs that require the most minor skills. 

Provide a Summary

A summary describes your key skills, experiences, top achievements and other credentials. While writing one, you have to highlight those attributes in a few sentences. As a result, recruiters can instantly understand your value, morals and professional standards. 

However, your CV is already a short document. So, write the most significant ones that fit the job you’re pursuing. If you’re repeating information found elsewhere in the paper, it’s best to leave it off.

Level 2 Certificate in CV Writing
Are you hunting for an interesting and well-paid job? Do you want to improve your job hunting skills and give a huge boost to your career?
Level 2 Certificate in CV Writing
Are you hunting for an interesting and well-paid job? Do you want to improve your job hunting skills and give a huge boost to your career?

How Long should a CV be?

Two pages (two sides of A4) are considered the standard length for a CV. However, it’s said that one size doesn’t fit all. For instance, if you are a fresh graduate with minimum experience, you won’t have much to say about yourself. As a result, you may need only one side of A4. But if you are a candidate with years of professional experience, your CV might be two pages or more. 

You want your CV to convey professionalism and create a positive impression on the recruiters. And a professional CV includes the essentials. Therefore, ensure you put relevant information about your education and experience and the credentials required for the job. 

Again, refrain from repeating words and avoid including information you’ve already given in your cover letter (if you provide any). This will create a wrong impression as the employers will assume you need more skills and experience to show and that you’re repeatedly trying to fill up the pages with the same thing. 

An overly long CV can do you more harm than good. So, sum up your skills and experiences concisely; meanwhile, keep in mind not to sell your experiences short. 

What Keywords Should I Include in My CV?

Keywords make a massive difference while you try to land your desired job. However, it is challenging to put words in your CV, especially when trying to add many skills and running out of space. 

Some powerful keywords to get your CV noticed by recruiters include:

  • Improved 
  • Delivered
  • Coached
  • Managed
  • Led
  • Developed
  • Increased
  • Established
  • Accomplished 
  • Won

  • Awarded
  • Hard-working
  • Adaptable
  • Confident
  • Accurate 
  • Innovative
  • Proactive
  • Reliable
  • Responsible

In addition to adding these words, go through the job description to extract keywords. This will ensure both the applicant tracking software and the recruiter consider your CV.

How to Format a CV?

Do you want to improve the possibility of your CV getting read? Formatting your CV does just that. A professional CV format defines how your information should be organised in the document. It not only improves the readability of your content but also improves your CV score. 

Here are some pro-tips you can keep in mind while writing your CV.

Avoid Titling Your Document “Curriculum Vitae.”

Writing curriculum vitae at the top of the CV is unnecessary because including this comprehensive statement is a bad use of space. Instead, you can use your name as the title. 

Title Your CV Sections

Recruiters will not go through every application carefully. Instead, they’ll skim through each one to pick up the main information. By using section headings, you can improve the chances that the reader will pick it up a second time and read it in detail. 

List Information in Reverse Chronological Order 

The reverse chronological format will give the recruiters a clear idea of your past positions and help them understand how your career progressed. On top of that, it’s easier to read by the application tracking software (ATS), so there’s no chance that your document will not reach the recruiter. 

By incorporating the format in your CV, you can list your qualifications and professional experiences from most to least. It’s a preferred method for employers who usually look at previous job experiences first in an application. Moreover, applicants with a consistent work history and increasing job levels will benefit most from this format.

Use Bullet Points to Keep it Concise

Complete sentences aren’t always necessary. Using bullet points ensures your ideas are effectively communicated and draw the recruiter’s attention. While crafting your CV, keep the bullet points brief and include absolutely necessary information. Rather than explaining everything in detail, highlight your most compelling experiences and achievements. 

Cross-check Your Margins

Too small margins result in a cluttered CV, making it harder for recruiters to skim your document. However, the effective use of white space can make a surprising difference in a hiring manager’s first impression of your CV. So, keep your margins 1 inch on both sides to make your application look less daunting and easier to read. You can change the margin size, but make sure it’s at least 0.5 inches. 

Save the File with a .PDF File Extension 

PDF is one of the best-known file formats to ensure your document is secure and accessible from any device or platform. Moreover, a PDF file is readable by the ATS and keeps your formatting and illustrations in place. But it depends on what the job advert recommends. For instance, some employers may want you to send your CV in Word format.

Download Free CV Templates

A CV template can help you create a professional-looking application that meets a recruiter’s expectations. It gives you clear ideas on what information to include in your CV and in which order. Luckily, there are thousands of templates available online. So, if you’re short on time and want to impress the hiring managers, templates are the fastest way to get your CV ready.

From entry-level positions to experienced professionals, there are many CV templates you can download and use immediately. Here we’ve included some templates that you can use for inspiration.

Customise a CV template once you are satisfied with it to your unique qualities. Consider what sets you apart from other applicants, and then you’ll know what to highlight in your CV.

Conclusion

Making a good first impression with the recruiter in today’s competitive job market is imperative. A polished, professional CV helps you make the right impression with prospective employers and get more interviews. It’s the marketing tool that enables you to showcase your scholarly accomplishments, educational history and professional attributes.

At this point, you know how to write a CV that will increase your chances of securing an interview. So, if you apply all the techniques we’ve discussed and the templates we’ve provided in this article, you’ll create a stand-out CV design. 

FAQ

A CV and resume serve different purposes. But if you’re applying for a job that asks for a CV, it’s the same as a resume.

So what’s the difference between a CV and a resume?

Consider a resume as a one-page summary of your work experience and background while applying for a job.

On the other hand, a CV is a longer academic diary that includes your experience, publications and more. Primarily, a resume is used for job hunting in all industries, and a CV is used for academic jobs and admissions. So, a resume is tailored to specific jobs, while CV provides a comprehensive overview. Another main difference is that a resume is about one page or two, whereas a CV can be longer.

A CV is valid without a signature, but it’s more professional putting a signature. This will ensure the authenticity of your document.

Your CV should provide an overview of your background, qualifications, relevant skills and areas of expertise. After putting the above information, see if your document is visually appealing, easier to read, free from common mistakes and has numbers and data. Also, make sure it has work history gaps and job-hopping explained.

Under strict anti-discrimination employment laws, you don’t have to attach a photo to your CV in the UK. Moreover, no recruiter will base their decision on your appearance in assessing whether you’re a good match for the role. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in the entertainment industry for positions like actors and models, you may have to include your picture. 

Your CV should be two pages of A4 at maximum. So, keep your CV concise and tailor it to the job description. However, the length may vary depending on your job requirements and experience level. 

Choose fonts that are professional and easy to read. Consider using Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman. Besides that, choose the correct font size. The best font size for your CV is 11 points, but you can use a size between 10 and 12, depending on the length of the information. Use a larger font, between 14 and 16 points, to emphasise your name and section headings. 

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January 30, 2024
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