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CV Top Tips

Tick imageThere are many websites out there which promise to help you create a winning CV. We’ve put together our top tips to help your CV stand out from the crowd and secure that dream job.                                                                                                       





First impressions count!

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes – if you were short-listing for a position and reading CV after CV, what would make you want to read on? Always use a clear font and make sure the size is readable. Be consistent with font, headings, bullet points, indentations and spacing. You also want to avoid long paragraphs. Make sure your English is good and check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.

How do I make it stand out to an employer?

Tailor your CV for every job. Always look at the job description and find out exactly what it is they are looking for. Make sure you use your CV to show how you have these skills; think of the transferable skills you have gained from previous experience.

How do I structure my CV?

You should aim for two, full pages of A4. Organise your CV into sections using headings and arrange these sections in order of importance – key selling points should be on the front page and you should allow more space for the most important information. When listing jobs and courses, start with the most recent and work backwards.

Covering letters?

A covering letter can be read before a CV – there is no point putting together a brilliant CV that the employer will never read as you haven’t sold yourself in your covering letter. Read our covering letters post for more information.

What do I need to include?

Personal details

  • Use your name as the heading, not Curriculum Vitae
  • Include contact details including address, mobile number, email address

Do you need a profile?

  • Profiles aren’t essential but a few well-written lines are a good way to hook an employer’s interest
  • It’s vital to target your profile for each application
  • You may want to consider leaving a personal profile out if you have an accompanying covering letter – having both a CV and covering letter may mean you end up duplicating or repeating information


  • State the exact name of your degree course and university
  • Give your course dates and your final result (when known)
  • Include relevant information about your course content, technical skills and projects
  • Summarise your GCSEs and don’t list all your degree modules (unless you’re applying for a placement)

Writing image


  • Give details of work experience (including part-time or voluntary work)
  • State each company’s name, its location, your job title and the dates you worked there
  • Briefly state your responsibilities and the relevant skills you developed
  • Put any relevant experience in a separate section if date order means it’s hidden in a list of other jobs


  • Only include current  or recent activities; give an idea of your level of interest
  • Include recent positions of responsibility and any achievements in those roles

Anything else?

  • Add any other relevant skills or experience, e.g. IT skills, driving licence, additional languages spoken
  • If you have any gaps in your work or education history, give a brief explanation


  • You can include the contact details of two referees (make sure you ask them first)
  • Alternatively you can simply write “References available on request”

Remember that The Careers and Placements Service offers support to you whilst you are a student and for two years after graduation. Check out our CV resources on CareerHub and StudyNet or book in for a CV review on CareerHub.

Image of Katharine Littlefair

Katharine Littlefair is a Careers and Placements Officer in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire
















photo credit: Leo Reynolds Audringje via cc

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