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Introduction to CV writing

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) presents a record of your qualities, skills and experience to employers, so that your suitability for a particular job can be assessed.  The Liverpool in Work Team can help you compile or suggest ways to improve your CV.

When compiling a CV, remember it should be well-designed and not too cramped - appearance is important because first impressions count.

Leave spaces between the different sections and at the top, bottom and sides of the page.  A CV should usually be about two pages but no longer than three sides of A4 - using bullet points is a good way of ensuring that you are concise.

Always type your CV on good quality A4 paper, ensuring the text is not too big or small and only use graphics if they are relevant and add something to your CV - usually they should be avoided.

Try to prioritise and allocate space according to the importance of the information and be selective when choosing examples of duties performed in previous employment.  If you require any assistance, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Finally, if a company requested a job application to be completed in order to apply, it is not acceptable to send your CV.

Whilst a CV is a personal document, nearly every CV should include:

Personal Details

A simple heading, such as your name, usually works best.  This can be followed by your address, telephone number and email address.

Personal Profile

This section is where you make your first impression and sell yourself to employers.  You need to write a few lines that describe you as a person and highlight your strengths.

Skills & Abilities

In this section you need to tell employers the key skills and abilities that you do well.  Think of skills which you have improved over time, through work or training.  It's also important to include skills and abilities that you use in your everyday general life and might also use in a work setting - things such as speaking and listening, having a driving licence, repairing things, organising and time-management.

Employment History

Start by putting down the details of your last job, then work backwards.  Put in any voluntary or community work or work experience that you have done. 

Keep the details of your duties brief but make sure you don't leave any out e.g.

  • Answering the telephone/taking messages
  • Controlling incoming and outgoing post
  • Giving out information to clients

Don't think any job is mundane or irrelevant; try to make sure the information provided is relevant to the particular job or type of work that interests you.

Education and Training

Name and location of school(s) attended should be provided here with brief details of qualifications gained and grades achieved.  The year when qualifications were gained can also be included.

If you finished school but did not gain any formal qualifications then show the schools you have attended and the level you worked to e.g. educated to GCSE standard.

If you did not finish school, nor did you gain any qualifications you should write the school attended and focus on your experience (you may also benefit from speaking to an advisor who could help you find local courses for adults, these are delivered differently to school).

If you have studied at any colleges or universities, the name and location of each institution should be given here.  Details should be given of any qualifications gained, including the year and grade.

Additional Training or Skills Developed

This section should be used to offer information on any other qualification achieved or any relevant training courses that have been attended (including dates).  This could include languages, computing skills, NVQs (National Vocational Qualification) etc.  and also include one day courses and short work-based training days.

Additional Information

Please state any other information you feel might be relevant (i.e. driving licence, care of relative, voluntary work etc) or information you can not fit into previous sections.

Interest and Hobbies

Provide details of hobbies and any other leisure activities such as travel, membership of organisations or clubs and any positions of responsibility.  If it's an everyday hobby, make it stand out.  Your interests can tell a potential employer a great deal about your personality.


If you are short of space on your CV or you do not have permissions from referees you can write the following statement; "references available upon request".

If you do put your referees on your CV make sure you have asked their permission. If it is a job from the past ensure the person still works there.  Include name, job title, full address, post code and telephone number.

Usually it is preferred that you have at least two work references or one employer and one education/character reference but this must not be a member of your family.