Writing your CV

Before you start

It takes time to write a CV for the first time – but this is time well spent. Once you have your first CV, it becomes much easier to change and adapt it when you apply for different jobs.

To start with, you need to collect information about your education, qualifications and other achievements. Find your record of achievement from school (if you have one) and any exam certificates you have. You can also use the information you have collected on the you and your career and action planning pages of this website.

All this information will include useful material for your CV.

If you find it easier, start with hand-written notes for your CV. You will need to type up your CV on the computer before you send it out to anyone. But you can do that once you are happy that you have all the right information.

If you do not have a computer, you may be able to use one at a local community centre or library. To find out where your nearest library is, enter your postcode to search for local library services on gov.uk.

On the CV tips page we have included internet links for CV templates you can use to make your CV look good.

What to include in your CV

Your CV should be no longer than two pages of A4, with your personal details at the top. There is no set order for the other headings, but you might find it easier for now to follow the order we are suggesting here. You can always move them around later if you think that would work better.

Personal details

Name, address with post code, telephone numbers (including mobile), email address

Personal profile

A bit about yourself to show the employer your skills, strengths, and career/job aims. See How to write a personal profile.


Start with your most recent or present job. Give the dates (year, or month and year) of employment, name of firm and address if relevant. For example: 2011 – present ICE Ltd, Kent. Give a short summary of your responsibilities. If relevant, also include details of holiday jobs and any temporary or voluntary work you have done.

Skills and achievements

Here you write about the things you are good at and things you have done. These might be work-related or personal, such as getting awards for voluntary work and winning prizes. Also include non-academic skills like first aid or sport. See 'Skills for work'.

Education and qualifications

Dates (year), names of schools, colleges and so on. Dates (year), examinations, subjects and grades of qualifications (predicted or achieved).

Interests and additional information

Give examples of your interests and hobbies – especially those which show interests, skills, or personal characteristics that might be useful in a job. Also include any languages you speak well, any special knowledge you have, or any organisations you belong to.


A referee is someone that you ask to give you a reference saying what you have done and what kind of person you are. References help employers to decide whether you would be a good person for them to employ. Referees are usually teachers or employers. You could also ask youth leaders, or someone who is not a member of your family but knows you well. If you give the names and contact details of referees, ask them first. Or you can just say 'references available on request'


See an example CV with these headings.

Last updated 22 June, 2015