viewing a cv at job interview

How to write a CV

The purpose of your Curriculum Vitae is to present you as a suitable employee to a prospective employer. Employers often want to see evidence of someone’s skills and experience and this is the method most choose. Make sure that yours gives information about you in a positive light. Your CV needs to ‘sell’ you as a good employee.

There are no strict rules about the length or format of a CV but this guide shows some commonly followed conventions, and gives you an idea of how to set one out. The example on this website is condensed to fit onto the page, you should make sure that yours is complete, well laid out and easy to read.

Your CV needs to contain plenty of detail about your skills, qualifications and work experience. If an employer cannot see what they are looking for written down, you may not be asked to interview, even if you do meet the employer’s requirements. Remember though that a 7 page essay is likely to bore the reader, so keep it to a reasonable length!

Example of a good CV - page 1

Example of a good CV page two

The above is a CV template that you can download here.

Here are some comments on each section of the CV:

Personal Details:

Include your full name and contact details. You may also like to include your date of birth & nationality.

Make sure that:

    • your email address is work-appropriate, for example, [email protected]
    • your phone voicemail message only gives your name and a request to leave a message.

Personal Statement:

This section should briefly explain why you are suitable for the job. It is a quick introduction that gives the employer your main selling points in just a few lines. The best way to write your personal statement is to look at the job advert and pick out the most important parts – i.e. any qualifications or experience that are obviously really important to the employer. Then, make sure you include them here.

The personal statement is NOT the same as a university personal statement (see e.g. Such personal statements are lengthier – perhaps 500 words or more – and are used as part of the university application process. There are some similarities – for example, both contain relevant experience, skills or achievements. However, your CV personal statement is usually not the right place to talk about your motivations and inspirations, unless the job advert appears to require this approach!

Employment History:

Include details of your jobs, including temporary work. DON’T just provide a list of your job titles and employment dates. Write a short paragraph or bullet points telling the reader about your main duties, key achievements and responsibilities. This will show an employer if you meet the requirements of their job description.

Start with your most recent job first then work back in order. You may summarise a long career history, but don’t leave out details relevant to the job you are applying for! Don’t include your reason for leaving a job (unless it was a temporary position) or your salary as this information can go against you. If necessary, your Shard consultant can pass on these details to the employer.

Try not to write long sections of prose. Stick to bullet points. Interviewers will ask you to elaborate; you don’t have to say everything on your CV.

Education & Qualifications:

Include subjects taken, grades, dates and where you studied. Also include training courses at work. It is a good idea to have a separate section about your computer skills, especially if the positions you are applying for will include computer based work.

  • Keep it clear. This section should be easy for potential employers to scan. Make sure to include the dates and institution name, and only give as much detail as is necessary.
  • Start with the most recent. As with your employment history, add the most relevant/current qualifications first and work your way back.
  • Only include the grades you’re proud of. This point is particularly true if you finished your education a while ago. You don’t need to highlight every single score, so pick out the impressive ones.
  • Give more details if needed. If you’re applying for an education-based role, your grades and qualifications may be more relevant. If so, make sure to cover everything the employer needs at a glance.


Interests & Hobbies:

An important section which helps to form a more rounded picture of you as an individual. You could also list your major achievements.

When a potential employer sees a candidate’s hobbies, it provides insight into personality traits, industry knowledge, and can make you more attractive for a role. But remember, anything you include on your resume is fair game during an interview, so make sure you can really talk about your passion for the hobby and why you included it.

Though it’s not always necessary to include, some employers like to get a better understanding of who it is that they are talking to and what they do in their own time.

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