Your CV

The Basics

For basic information about what to include or not include on your CV, click here: CVBasics. If you are new to the UK and have never written a UK style CV, this could be useful to you.

If you are unsure how to make your CV look beautifully formatted, take a look at this simple guide: How to Format your CV

There are two main types of CV that will be relevant to you: a Traditional CV and a Skills Based CV. To understand the difference between them and to find out which one might be right for you, click here: Traditional and Skills Based CV

Advice from Employers

There is no one right way of doing your CV but there are some general guidelines that it would be wise to follow. Of course, different employers will have different preferences – see the film below to hear employers give advice on what they are looking for in a CV.

Courtesy of CareerPlayer, the UK’s No.1 career advice site for graduate jobs

Skills | Personal Strengths | Achievements | Experience | Knowledge | Attitude 

Here are a few things to consider before you start sending out your CV to employers:

  • Do not use the same CV for every application
  • Each CV you send should be geared specifically towards that individual job role and industry
  • Always send with a covering letter/email, click here for more information.

Before you apply for a job:

  • read at the job advert and person specification carefully
  • identify the key skills, experience and knowledge they are looking for
  • research the company (click here for more information on this)

Your CV should show that you have the skills they are looking for. You should try to demonstrate this by giving evidence of how you have achieved those skills. For example, don’t just say you have leadership skills, demonstrate what you have done to achieve those skills.

Think about your past job roles in terms of skills, personal strengths, achievements and experience rather than just duties you performed. Employers are interested in your ‘transferable’ or ‘soft’ skills. These are skills that you can take from job to another, for example:

  • Verbal communication
  • Teamwork
  • Commercial Awareness
  • Analysing and Investigating
  • Negotiation/persuasion
  • Problem Solving
  • Leadership
  • Presentations/public speaking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Written Communication
  • Planning and organisation
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Self- management
  • Perseverance and Motivation
  • Initiative and proactivity
  • Self-awareness
  • Positive Attitude
  • Creativity
  • Have you achieved something notable during your employment?
  • What was your significant contribution?
  • Did you learn any specific skills?
  • Did you implement any new systems?
  • Did you exceed your sales targets or increase profitability?
  • Were you particularly successful on any projects?
  • Was there something notable about the environment you were working in?

The Sunderland University guide gives a more detailed assessment of how to target you CV to a specific job role:


Active Language

To make your CV sound more interesting than just a list of things you have done, consider the language that you use to describe your experiences. Try to make an ‘active’, ‘dynamic’ document that really emphasizes what you can do and how this will benefit the company you are applying to.

Below is a list of active words, but be careful not to overuse them. Click here for more vocabulary.

Organizational skill words

  • Categorized
  • Filed
  • Incorporated
  • Organized
  • Prepared
  • Recorded
  • Registered


Achievement words

  • Achieved
  • Built
  • Created
  • Developed
  • Established
  • Expanded
  • Solved
  • Streamlined


Creative words

  • Adapted
  • Combined
  • Composed
  • Conceptualized
  • Condensed
  • Created
  • Customized
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Revised
  • Revitalized
  • Shaped
  • Solved


Management words

  • Administered
  • Appointed
  • Approved
  • Consolidated
  • Contracted
  • Controlled
  • Implemented
  • Negotiated
  • Produced
  • Recommended
  • Reorganized
  • Strengthened
  • Supervised

What do I put on my CV if I have never had a job?

When you have little experience of employment, it is difficult to know what to put on your C.V. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to get involved with various activities while you are at university such as:

  • part-time jobs
  • work placements/ internships
  • university societies
  • voluntary work
  • charity events
  • sporting events
  • student representative
  • student ambassador
  • entrepreneurship (Business Enterprise Certificate)
  • blog writing (write for us)

All these activities help you develop your skills and demonstrate to an employer that you are a motivated, capable individual with the kind of skills they are looking for.

For further information and some CV examples, take a look at the links below.

London Campus guide to CV writing: Beginner’sCVGuide2015pdf

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