CV stands for ‘curriculum vitae’, a Latin phrase that means ‘course of life’. It is known as a résumé in the US and Canada. It usually contains a summary of your work history, education, skills and extracurricular activities. The following are our tips on how to write a basic CV:
1. Keep the length of your CV to no more than two sides of A4.
2. Choose a simple font such as Garamond, Arial, Verdana, Helvetica or Calibri in 10 point or 11 point.
3. Use bullet points wherever relevant to break up the text, and use bold for emphasis.
4. Write in the first person.
5. Include your full name and contact details (such as mobile phone number, email address and home address) somewhere at the top of your CV. You will not need to include personal details such as age or a photo unless you’re applying for an acting or modelling job. Do not include your date of birth.
6. List and date all previous education in reverse chronological order. Include your grades and any professional qualifications you’ve achieved. Start with your most impressive qualifications for each educational institute.
7. List and date all previous employment, including internships and voluntary roles, in reverse chronological order. Make sure to include detailed examples of your tasks, skills and responsibilities in bullet points. Use clear job titles.
8. Dedicate a separate section for your relevant key skills, knowledge of software, achievements, awards and any extracurricular activities or hobbies relevant to the role.
9. Remember that you’ll need to explain any gaps in your CV to your employer at interview.
10. Seek permission from referees before adding them to your CV. You’ll need to include their full name, their relation to you, their job title and where they work, and contact details including phone number and email address.
11. Optional: Write a personal profile which is a brief summary (about five sentences) of your background and ambitions. Focus on the most relevant and impressive facts about you that match the role being advertised.
12. Spell-check and proof-read! Get a trusted friend to proof-read your CV for spelling, grammar and formatting mistakes, as well as suggestions for improving content.