CV Help


Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a summary of your academic and work history.

The CV is your first chance to show any prospective employer that you have the required skills and experience to do the job which you are applying for and that you are the right person for the job. It is therefore vital that your CV highlights your skills and achievements.

If your CV does not communicate that your skills, experience, and achievements would make you a suitable candidate for the job which you are applying for, in most cases, your job application will not progress any further. As such, a well written and presented CV can be considered to be a passport to an interview.

There are a number of ways of presenting your CV and there are many differing opinions about what is the ideal CV. There are however some common principles and guidelines for CV content and presentation which most recruitment professionals would agree upon.

In the sections that follow, we have provided some suggestions and example CVs in order to assist you to prepare your CV so that it gives you the best possible chance of securing an interview.

Objective of the CV

When writing your CV you should always remember that the purpose of the CV is to convince a prospective employer that you should be invited for interview.

The general principles for a good CV are:

  • It should highlight skills, experience and achievements that make you suitable for the job.
  • It should be clearly laid out and structured in a logical order.
  • It should be informative but concise and easy to read.
  • It should be honest and should not contain incorrect or inaccurate details

CV Presentation

It is important for your CV to attract the reader’s attention and for the key information to be easy to find. Your CV should therefore be clearly laid out.

  • Always type your CV, preferably in Microsoft Word format
  • Use a clear font such as Arial or Times New Roman, and a readable size: 10 or 11 point
  • Use appropriate headings, section breaks and spaces
  • Text should not be too cramped, nor should there be any large empty spaces.
  • Use bold or underlines for headings and possibly a larger font size: 12 or 14 point
  • Use bullet points where possible to break up text and for concise presentation
  • Make your sentences concise and to the point
  • Avoid paragraphs except where necessary (when used these should be kept as short as possible)

It has been suggested that the part of the CV which recruiters/selectors tend to pay the most attention to is typically around the upper middle part of the first page. So make sure that this area contains essential information.

CV Length

Although there are no definitive rules about CV length, it is recommended that your CV should cover a maximum of 2 or 3 pages of A4 paper, depending upon the extent of your work history.

The CV will only get a few minutes reading when first looked at so key skills and experience need to stand out and not be hidden within masses of detail. You should therefore provide just enough information to enable the prospective employer to decide whether to interview you.

Sections to Include in a CV

Your CV can be structured into as many sections as you consider to be appropriate. A list of suggested CV section headings is shown below. You may choose to use some or all of these headings for your own CV.

  • Personal Details
  • Languages
  • Profile
  • Achievements
  • Education and Qualifications
  • Professional Qualifications and Training
  • Employment History
  • Internships and other Work Experience
  • Other Relevant Experience/Skills
  • IT Skills
  • Other Interests and activities
  • References

Whichever section headings you decide to use, you can set these out in any order that you prefer. The main thing to consider when deciding upon the layout of your CV is the objective of presenting your key skills, experience and achievements in whatever way is most likely to have a positive impact on the prospective employer, so that you get an invite to interview.

The Profile is considered to be one of the most important ways to make a positive initial impact on the reader of the CV. It is a summary of your skills and experience written with the purpose of getting the reader’s attention, stating what you have done and are capable of doing as well as mentioning the type of job you are now seeking.

Example Profile:

Highly motivated German speaking Accounts Assistant, with experience of Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Intercompany transaction processing. Well organized with excellent communication skills. Good IT skills including SAP and Oracle, seeking further experience in General Ledger and month end reporting.

Contact Details and Correspondence

It is important to make sure that the contact details (telephone numbers and email addresses) which you include on your CV are accurate. Any errors or omissions in any of these details will reduce your prospects of being contacted by the reader of the CV.

It is always advisable to have a professional sounding email address for your CV and job applications. An email address which has your name at whatever internet provider you use would be most suitable for this purpose (e.g.

Humorous or irreverent email addresses might be entertaining for your friends and social acquaintances but are not likely to be viewed in a positive manner by a potential employer, so should be avoided.

Most CVs are now received via email. The following points will ensure that the email you send has the best chance of being noticed and of getting a prompt response from the recipient.

  • The email subject line should clearly state that it is a job application, and the title of the role (plus job reference number if known to you) for which you are applying.
  • Make sure that your attached CV document is in a commonly used and easily readable document format, ideally Microsoft Word.
  • The email can include a covering note or cover letter, although this should be kept concise and needs to be written in a professional tone.

Types of CV

There are 4 main types of CV format:

  • Chronological CV
  • Skills-based or Functional CV
  • Targeted CV
  • Student / Graduate CV

Each format has its merits and advantages and there is no one format that would be the most appropriate to use in all circumstances.

Chronological CV

Chronological CVs outline your career history in date order, listing job titles, company names, and job responsibilities.

The most common type of Chronological CV and most popular with recruiters is the Reverse Chronological CV where the most recent items are shown first.

A variant of the Chronological CV is known as the Performance CV, where your achievements are highlighted. By including details of your achievements, you can demonstrate how your skills and endeavours have benefited the employers you have worked for and give an indication of potential benefits you could offer a prospective employer.

Your achievements could include any of the following:

  • Improving work processes to save time or provide more useful information to management.
  • Exceeding performance targets (sales figures or service level measures).
  • Delivering cost savings for the business.
  • Company awards for effort and performance (e.g. “Employee of the Year”).

Chronological CVs are most suitable in the following situations:

  • Where you are looking for employment in the same field as your previous experience.
  • Where you want to emphasise the work duties you have carried out and the names of employers.

Chronological CVs are less suitable in the following circumstances:

  • Where you are seeking a change of career and your previous experience and achievements are not in line with the career you now wish to follow. Any prospective new employer will be more concerned about the transferable skills that you are bringing rather than the detail of your experience in an unrelated sector.
  • Where you have had frequent changes of employer and have not stayed in any one job or assignment for a significant length of time, such as when most of your recent experience has been short term temp roles at a number of different companies.
  • Where you have been out of work for significant periods of time for any reason. A chronological CV will emphasise any notable gaps in your employment history.

For an example of a Chronological, Performance CV, please click here

Skills-based or Functional CV

Unlike a chronological CV, a Skills-based or Functional CV places the emphasis on your skills and strengths rather than who you worked for and what your job title was. Instead of focusing on any particular job, this type of CV focuses on the transferable skills and experience you have gained throughout your career. The Functional CV offers greater flexibility on how you present yourself than does a chronological CV.

A Functional CV typically starts with a personal profile which highlights the achievements, skills and personal qualities that you possess. This is then followed by a succession of sections, each relating to a different skill or ability (e.g. Analytical skills, Communication skills, Team working skills etc). These should start with the most important skill first followed by your other main skills in order of importance. Since you are not focusing on any particular past employment, this CV format enables you to also include any skills or experience gained in voluntary or unpaid work. Education & Qualifications and previous employment history a given less emphasis and appear towards the end of the CV.

Skills-based (Functional) CVs are most suitable in the following situations:

  • If a significant proportion of your experience to date has been in voluntary or unpaid work.
  • If your career to date consists of a number of jobs, most of which are unconnected and you want to emphasise the skills you have gained throughout your career.
  • If you want to change careers and therefore your present position may be of no relevance to your future ambitions.
  • If you want to emphasise skills and achievements from previous work experience which were not required in your most recent employment role(s).
  • If you have worked on a large number of temporary assignments with many different companies.
  • If you have been out of work for significant periods of time.

Skills-based CVs are not suitable in the following situations:

  • f you want to highlight career progression and achievements within a particular employer or job.
  • If your work experience has been gained within similar jobs, you might not have gained a sufficient variety of skills to emphasise.
  • If you do not have much work experience, you may struggle to highlight achievements in a separate section.

For an example of a Skills-based (Functional) CV, please click here

Targeted CV

The targeted CV focuses on a specific job role which you are seeking. The CV will highlight those skills, experience and achievements which are most appropriate for the target job vacancy. Each job target will therefore require a different CV.

Skills and achievements should be stated in brief bullet points and must be directly related to your job target.

Your list of skills should tell the reader “what you can do” and your list of achievements should make it clear to the reader “what you have done”.

Targeted CVs are most suitable in the following situations:

  • If you have several different job targets and need to create a distinctive CV for each one.
  • If a significant proportion of your experience to date has been in voluntary or unpaid work.
  • If your career to date consists of a number of jobs, most of which are unconnected and you want to emphasise the skills you have gained throughout your career.
  • If you want to change careers and therefore your present position may be of no relevance to your future ambitions.
  • If you want to emphasise skills and achievements from previous work experience which were not required in your most recent employment role(s).
  • If you have worked on a large number of temporary assignments with many different companies.
  • If you have been out of work for significant periods of time.

For an example of a Targeted CV, please click here

Student / Graduate CV

For candidates who have only recently completed their educational studies and who have little work experience so far, it is often most suitable to have a CV format that emphsises your academic achievements. The CV should also include any vacation or part-time work which might be relevant to the job you are seeking, as well as any student activities undertaken and other achievements.

For an example of a Student / Graduate CV, please click here

CV Sections – Details to include

  • Personal Details
    • Your first name followed by your surname (family name)
      (This is the normal convention when writing names in the English language)
    • Address
    • Contact mobile number (and other contact telephone numbers if any)
    • Email address
    • Nationality
  • Languages
    • Start with native language first (and indicate that this is your native language)
    • list other languages spoken and their level in order of proficiency, starting with the
      strongest language (e.g. German – fluent, Italian – conversational)
  • Profile
    • The profile should be a concise summary of those skills and experiences which are relevant to the job(s) which you are applying for.
  • Achievements
    • include those achievements which demonstrate the benefits you could bring to your next
  • Education and Qualifications
    • List educational qualifications in order starting with the highest qualification first
    • Provide the title of each qualification (e.g. Bachelors Degree in Economics)
    • Include the name of each University or School where the qualification was attained.
    • For qualifications below Degree level it is not necessary to include details of individual
      subjects studied (just include brief information such as “3 A’ Levels, 8 GCSE/O’ Levels”)
    • However you may choose to include subject details if these are relevant to the kind of job
      you are applying for (for example “3 A’ levels: Economics, Mathematics and Accounting”)
  • Professional Qualifications and Training
    • List any relevant professional qualifications and memberships of professional bodies
    • List any work related training courses which are relevant to the new job(s) you are seeking.
    • If you have a professional qualification that has a higher academic status than your
      educational qualifications, this should be listed before the educational ones
      (for example being a Qualified Accountant – ACA, ACCA, CIMA or equivalent – has a
      higher academic status than a Bachelors Degree or Masters Degree)
  • Employment History
    • Provide summary information about current and previous employments, starting either with
      most recent or most relevant employment roles. If you have little full time work experience
      you can also include internships and part-time employment roles in this section, although
      we recommend that these are clearly noted as such.
    • Include the following information:
      • Name of employer
      • Start and end dates of each employment role
        (it is important for the dates to show both the month and the year in order to show the
        reader of the CV the true extent of the experience you have in a particular role.
        For example “2007 to 2008” could be 2 years of experience or it could be just
        3 months experience such as from November 2007 to January 2008)
      • Job title
      • The dimensions of the job
        (e.g. “Providing excellent customer service to 800 customers in the Spanish market”)
      • Details of main duties, in bullet point form e.g.
        • customer order processing
        • customer query resolution
        • processing returns and credits
        • Details of notable achievements e.g. “received employee of the year award”
  • Other Relevant Experience/Skills
    • This is a section where you can include details of non-work activities where you have
      undertaken duties or been given responsibilities. This section is particularly suitable for
      candidates who have recently completed full time studies and who have little paid work
      experience. Some examples of things which could be included are:

      • Organising charity events
      • Involvement in student committees or university fund raising events
      • Taking part in other worthy causes within the local community
  • IT Skills
    • Mention details of any software packages used that are likely to be of value in the workplace
      such as SAP, Oracle, Sage, Siebel, Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Outlook.
    • For those seeking jobs within IT, mention details of software and operating systems used
      (such as Linux/Unix, TCP/IP, SMTP, DNS, SQL etc)
    • For those seeking secretarial and administrative work, details of typing/keyboard speed and
      other secretarial skills such as short-hand can also be included in this section. For
      secretarial CVs it would also be advisable for these key skills to be listed near the beginning
      of the CV, ideally just before the Profile.
  • Hobbies and Interests
    • Whilst it is not essential to include details of hobbies and interests, many job applicants
      choose to include these because they reveal something about the kind of person you are
      and also indicate how you might fit in with the team at any prospective employer.

      If you do decide to include these items you should indicate the level of involvement and any
      position of responsibility held, for example:

      “Keen badminton player. Captain of local club team within County league and member of
      university badminton team.”

  • References
    • Some candidates choose to include names and contact details of referees from whom
      references can be obtained, although this is not necessary and we would recommend that
      you do not include these details.
    • We do recommend that you arrange for references to be available when necessary.

      For CV purposes we recommend that you only include the words:

      “References available on request”

Example CVs

Example Chronological CV (Performance CV version)

Henry Schultz
21 Longmore Road,
London, SW15 3BX
Mobile: xxxxx 867 546

Languages: English (mother tongue), German (fluent, both written and spoken)

Nationality: British/German (dual nationality)

Driving Licence: Full, clean UK driving licence and own car


An enthusiastic and results focused German speaking Business Development Manager with solid experience in Marketing. Excellent customer acquisition, budgeting, planning and project management skills. Proven track record in identifying profitable and achievable growth opportunities. Able to work using own initiative or as part of a team.


  • Increased sales by 25% through identifying, contacting and developing relationships with new clients and managing these through to contract completion
  • Saved the company £100,000 a year by streamlining and refocusing marketing activities and expenditure.
  • Eliminated supply constraints through developing business relationships with alternative suppliers

Employment History:

February 2006 to date: Cranbrooke International Ltd, London

  • Cranbrooke International Ltd. design and manufacture a wide range of telecommunications products for clients in the UK and internationally

April 2008 to date – Sales & Business Development Manager, UK & Germany

  • Reporting directly to the Commercial Director
  • Responsible for identifying profitable new growth opportunities and new clients
  • Managing sales and marketing budgets
  • Managing a team of 6 people, motivating the team to achieve and exceed performance targets
  • Extending the supplier base and strengthening relationships with all suppliers in order to ensure sufficient supply of components and finished products.

Feb 2006 to March 2008 – Sales Executive, UK & Germany

  • Identified potential clients within Germany and the UK and prepared proposals to present to the Sales & Business Development Manager
  • Was the main point of contact for all sales enquiries for the German market
  • Responsible for achieving agreed targets to support the company’s overall objectives.

Education and Qualifications:

  • BSc. (Hons) 2.1 in German and International Business, The University of Newcastle, 2002 – 2006 (including 1 year studying in Germany)
  • A levels: German (A), Economics (B), Mathematics (B), St. Peter’s School, Watford 2000 – 2002
  • GCSEs: 7 Grade A, 2 Grade B, St. Peter’s School, Watford, 2000

Professional Courses:

Various in-house and external courses including:

Advanced Selling Techniques, Customer Relationship Management, Telephone Sales Skills, Leading & Motivating Sales Teams, Budgeting & Forecasting, Time Management.

IT Skills:

Siebel CRM, SAS, Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Word


  • Playing tennis for a local club, team Captain 2006 – 2008
  • Enjoy other team sports including football and rugby

References are available upon request.

Example Chronological CV – Secretarial Candidates

Cerise Donato
15 New Bridge Road,
London W2 7BX

Nationality: Italian & French


Highly motivated and dedicated, PA and Team Secretary possessing excellent communication skills in three languages. Strong administrative skills and attention to detail. Ability to prioritise and thrive in a fast-paced work environment to achieve objectives and deadlines. I am adaptable, enjoy a challenge and am able to use initiative and work effectively as part of a diverse team.

Professional Skills:

Languages: Italian & French mother-tongues, fluent English
Computers/IT : Advanced Word, Excel, Powerpoint & Outlook; Knowledge of Lotus Notes
Typing: English & Italian – 65 wpm, French – 50 wpm
Shorthand: 85 wpm (Teeline)

Employment History:

Cosmic Finance International, London
PA to the Commercial Department
October 2008 to date
  • Managed computer based diary system and booked all meetings for department members
  • Responsible for departmental travel arrangements including flights, accommodation and hire cars
  • Organised meeting venues, video and audio conference calls and couriers
  • Prepared reports and presentations for Managers within the department
  • Processed travel expense claims and payments
  • Maintained and updated departmental records including holidays and sickness absence
Halcyon Bank International, London

PA to the Marketing Department
January 2006 – October 2008
  • Managed diary system and booked all meetings for department managers and team members
  • Responsible for departmental travel arrangements including flights, accommodation and hire cars
  • Organised venues and catering for departmental events including training courses and team building activities
  • Prepared reports and presentations for departmental meetings and took meeting minutes
  • Maintained departmental records including travel expense system, holidays and sickness absence

Education and Qualifications:

Metropolitan College, London, 2005 – 2006

Institute of Linguists’ Diploma in Translation (English to Italian)

University of Cosenza, Italy 2000 – 2005

Masters degree in English and French Languages

Interests and Hobbies:

Skiing, snow boarding, cycling and horse riding

References available on request:

Example Skills-based (Functional) CV

Michelle Lafont
83 Laurel Road,
London, SE1 2JH
Tel: xxxx 123 4567


A hard working and committed French speaking Administrator with experience of Human Resources and staff training. Excellent communication skills and professional telephone manner. Accurate with good attention to detail. Ability to prioritise and work effectively under pressure to achieve deadlines. Good team player with solid IT skills and ability to use own initiative.

Human Resources:

  • Producing offer letters and contracts of employment
  • Processing new starter documentation
  • Maintaining personnel files and personal development plans (PDPs) for current employees
  • Processing of annual pay award documentation and verification of pay changes
  • Ensure compliance with company procedures for staff leavers
  • Providing responses to employment reference requests for ex-employees


  • Handling all communications received by the company (telephone, email, fax) in both French and English. Responding to customer enquiries and resolving complaints.
  • Producing reports for review with management (order accuracy, right first time delivery, complaint resolution, customer DSO level).
  • IT including SAP, Word, PowerPoint and MS Outlook
  • Responsible for maintaining and updating customer database

Training & Development:

  • Working with Departmental Managers to develop appropriate training & development programmes and progression plans for employees
  • Identifying and selecting external training companies for company wide training plans and specific skills training.
  • Developing and co-ordinating induction programmes for new employees


  • Postgraduate degree in DESS Employment and Human Resources Economics, University of Lyon (France), 2002 – 2003
  • Bachelors’ degree in English and Business studies, University of Lyon (France) 2000 – 2002
  • Baccalauréat (A- Levels equivalent) in Economic and Social Sciences: English, Spanish, Economics, Mathematics, French Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences. Lycee St Justin, Lyon (France) 1998 – 2000

Employment History:

May 2006 – October 2009 Ultra International Consulting (UIC), Bordeaux, France

January 2004 – May 2006 Jacques et Jacques SA, Bordeaux France

Personal Details:

Languages: French (mother tongue), English (fluent), Spanish (working knowledge)

Nationality: French

References available on request.

Example Targeted CV

Guiseppe Torini

58 Holly Park Lane,
London, NW1 3RB
Telephone : xxxx 333 9876
Mobile : xxxxx 555 333
Email :


An enthusiastic Italian speaking Sales Team Leader with solid experience in the mobile telecommunications sector. Outstanding sales skills and staff motivation skills with a proven track record of achieving and exceeding performance targets. Good team player with excellent communication skills.

Key Skills:

  • Business Development including initial contact calls, face to face presentations and achieving the sale.
  • Developing Business Plans for the Italian market in line with company’s market share and profitability objectives.
  • Motivating and managing improved performance of the Sales Team
  • Excellent understanding of all available mobile telecommunications products and services in order to generate additional sales within existing customer base whilst enhancing the benefit to each customer


  • Led the team to exceeding the sales target for the Italian market by 20% in 2007, resulting in a 60% year over year profit improvement, achieving the company’s award for “European Sales Team of the Year”
  • Developed new sales incentive scheme for the Italian Sales Team which motivated both improved sales performance and increased profitability for the Italian market.
  • Streamlined and enhanced Sales Training induction program for new staff and on-going product update training for existing staff, saving €120,000 per year whilst improving level of sales skills and product knowledge within the team.

Employment History:

February 2006 to date – Inter Galactic Telecommunications Ltd, London, UK,

October 2002 to January 2006 – Alpha Zeta Telecommunications International S.p.A., Milan, Italy

Education & Qualifications:

  • Master of Science in Business Administration – University of Chicago, 2001 – 2002. Major subject: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Economics – University of Milan, Italy 1997 – 2000. Subjects included Marketing, Finance, Banking, International Trade.
  • Diploma – Liceo Scientifico, Milan specializing in scientific studies 1993-1997. Subjects included: Italian, Latin, English, English Literature, History, Geography, Astronomical Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Philosophy.

Personal Details:

Languages: Italian (mother tongue), English (fluent), Spanish (conversational)

Nationality: Italian
Driving license: Full, clean

Example Student / Graduate CV

Jean-Pierre Charbonnier

28 Hamlet Avenue,
London, SW1 8DG
Tel: xxxx 444 5432


A French speaking Business & Accounting graduate who is eager to find an entry level role within a Finance Department of a large international company. Hardworking and reliable with excellent interpersonal skills. Quick learner with good administrative skills and attention to detail. Native French speaker, fluent in English with excellent numerical skills and IT skills. Able to work as part of a team or using own initiative.


2006 – 2008. Master’s degree in Business Management, University of Limoges (France)

Subjects studied:

  • Advanced Business English
  • Advanced Financial Management
  • International Financial Management
  • International Trade
  • Strategic Business Planning

2004 – 2006. Two-year university degree in Business & Accounting, University of Limoges (France), Specialisation in Finance & Accounting

Subjects studied:

  • Business English
  • Financial Accounting
  • Business Accounting
  • Company Taxation
  • Personal Finance & Taxation

2002 Secondary School Diploma (A level equivalent), High School of Limoges (France),
main subjects : Mathematics and Economics


French (mother tongue) English (fluent written, spoken and business)


2007 (6 months internship) – Le Grande Vacance Travel Company, Paris, France

Financial Controlling Department – Business Assistant

  • Assisted in budget planning
  • Developed commercial and financial reporting

2006 (3 months ) – St Juliet SA, Bordeaux, France

Finance Department – Finance Assistant

  • Analysed actual cost prices and reported variances, highlighting control issues
  • Created databases on Excel

2005 (3 months) – Select Transportation SA , Paris, France
Accounting Department – Accounting Assistant

  • Studied the VAT application in the international exchanges
  • Involved in the daily accounting (Purchase Ledger, Sales Ledger, month end accruals, journals, VAT submissions)


Nationality: French
Driving License: Full, clean


Running – Treasurer of university athletics club
Football – Captain of the university Second Team


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