CV preparation

Your CV is of crucial importance no matter what stage you are at in your career. Present a poor CV and you job application will go no further, present a good CV and it will help get you to the next step.

You have around 1 – 2 minutes to make an impression on the recruiter. Your CV is your personalmarketing document and needs to be as effective as possible.

The majority of employers are looking for a concise, clear record of your skills and experience.

Here are some suggestions for producing a good CV:

– Type your CV on good quality paper.

– Keep it to a maximum of two pages.

– We recommend the chronological format as it is the most widely recognised by employers.

The format should read as follows:


Contact details 

(Include address, contact telephone number and email address).

Personal details 

(Since May 2004 it is a legal requirement to include National Insurance and Passport number proving eligibility to work in the UK).

Employment History 

(Put your most recent job first. Employers are looking for achievements in each position and why you’ve moved from one job to the next. i.e. they are looking for a good career path! Ensure all the dates link up. If you were redundant for a while include this as part of your career history. Do not be tempted to copy your job description).


(Again, list your history in reverse chronological order. You must be able to validate your qualifications at interview with documentation).

Additional skills 

(e.g. languages, IT skills, driving licence with any points).


(Be specific in this section and don’t claim to be interested in something that you know little about as you may be questioned on it at interview. Avoid interests such as socialising and controversial hobbies such as fox hunting).


(Only include referees who have agreed to act on your behalf).

General Advice – Keep it clear, avoid shading, boxes and columns in case the potential employer wants to copy it. Check for spelling and grammar and do not include a photograph or attachments unless requested.

For additional advice on CV preparation, see Alec’s career advice and Bradley CVs

First impressions

Sample CV

Writing your CV