How to write a CV

Your CV is an integral part of getting a job – make sure it's perfect!
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Prepare a targeted CV based on your particular work or career interests. This is where your research will pay off – try to match examples of your skills and qualities with those described in the job profiles and vacancies you’ve looked at.

Your CV will be a key reference and invaluable when completing job application forms, which some employers ask for rather than asking you to submit your CV.

  • Focus on how you meet the ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ skills requirements, any relevant experience, and qualities you have which employers are looking for. Give examples or evidence of these – it doesn’t have to be from work experience, it could be from hobbies, activities, volunteering, school, or college.
  • Set out the qualifications, subjects, and grades you have, highlighting any they are looking for.
  • Think about how you are going to present information about yourself so that it is relevant to each and every application you make.
  • Each application you make should be focused on a specific job, and you should be clear why you’re applying for that job.

Apply for suitable vacancies

Your local job centre can provide help searching for vacancies, and recruitment agencies and their websites can be another useful source. Don’t forget, family and friends can provide a valuable network of contacts. It is estimated that a lot of jobs are never advertised, but heard of through word of mouth.

If you want to get some work experience before going into full-time employment, search for local volunteering opportunities, or consider a work placement or internship. These can last from a few weeks to a year, and are offered by employers in sectors such as business, marketing, law, hospitality, and engineering. Depending on the type of contract on offer, you may or may not receive a wage. These opportunities are very popular and competition for places is high, so you will need to apply as soon as you can. 

Be proactive and keep going, even though it’s hard not to be disheartened if you don’t hear back from employers you’ve applied to. Maximise your chances of success by targeting your job hunting efforts rather than mass mailing.

Advice and tips on applying for jobs