When you apply for a new position, regardless of company, age or sector, you’ll need to have a CV.
Understanding how to create an engaging, effective CV is a universal skill that will serve you well over the course of your career.
When you start writing a CV, it’s a good idea to break down the process into several different chunks and focus on them individually before you bring them together.
In this article, we explore how to write a CV in 8 simple steps and offer an example you can use during the creation of your own CV.
How to Write a CV in 8 Steps
By following the next 8 steps, you can discover how to create the perfect CV ready for your next application.
We’ve split the process into these steps as it makes it easier to create the document rather than jumping in at the deep end and trying to tackle everything at once.
Once you’re finished, you can reconnect the sections to create a logical, effective order. The 8 steps are as follows:
1. Choose a format
Your first step in how to write a CV is choosing a suitable format for the document. A CV isn’t a one-size-fits-all document and depending on your own background, the styling and content of your CV may change.
For example if you have a lot of work experience, you may opt to lead with this information in a ‘reverse-chronological format’.
If you have more skills and qualifications than experience, however, a ‘functional order’ format may be much more useful.
You can also plan out how you plan to style your CV during this process – explore different fonts, weights and colours.
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2. Provide your contact details
List out your most recent contact information at the top of the page.
This is critical information for an employer and should be your first port of call. Include your email, phone number and home address.
3. Create a personal statement
Your personal statement is a clear overview of you as an individual and your professional background.
Make sure that you personal statement is concise and engaging – this is likely the first thing an employer will read so it needs to make an impact.
Within your statement, consider highlighting any career goals, development or achievements that are relevant to the job description.
Your personal statement should always be tailored to the individual role.
4. Demonstrate your work experience
The work experience section of your CV is another section that employers often focus on initially. This is because it offers some of the most pertinent information on whether you’re right for the role.
Your work experience demonstrates your longevity, the responsibilities you’ve held and how you much experience you’ve built during your career.
It’s recommended to lead this section with your most recent work position and work backwards. if you have a number of different past roles, only highlight roles that have some relevance to the job you’re applying for.
As you define the responsibilities of past roles, list out any key achievements you experienced during that time.
Format this section in bullet points as they’re easier to read and allow you to fit more information into a smaller space.
5. Detail any educational qualifications
Your education acts as a demonstration of your fundamental knowledge base and tracks how you’ve developed your qualifications around a subject.
As you apply for more specialised roles, it’s more expected that you’ll have elements of higher education.
Make sure you demonstrate any prior education during this section, including any online certifications you’ve earned.
6. List your professional skills
The skills section of the CV is your chance to highlight technical knowledge and ‘transferable skills’ that make you a well-rounded employee.
Here is where you want to talk about complex software, technical experience or specific understanding you have relevant to the position.
You may also include examples of your ‘soft skills’ that you’ve developed during your career.
Examples of skills you might include are:
- Organisational skills including time management and task prioritisation
- Management skills such as delegation, interpersonal skills and reporting
- Communication skills such as collaboration and providing or receiving feedback
- Technical skills such as experience with specific software such as MS Office or Adobe suites
- Core knowledge such as finance concepts or marketing techniques, backed up by statistics
7. List out any additional information
Additional information generally means any professional activity you’ve completed outside of your general responsibilities.
This could be awards that you’ve won, certifications you’ve earned or courses that you’ve passed.
If you have experience in a management course, for example, this is the perfect place to include that information.
8. Review your CV
Once you’re done, take a break.
You want to review your CV with fresh eyes and pick up on any mistakes you might have missed during the creation phase.
Consider sharing your CV with a friend or family that can pick up on errors or issues.
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What To Include in Your CV?
When you first start creating a CV, it can be overwhelming when you consider exactly how much information you’re expected to cover.
Remember that while you want to be thorough, you need to hold the employer’s attention. You don’t want to create a large document that is a struggle to read.
If you want to know more about how to properly edit your CV, we’ve split the process into two sections: compulsory and optional.
The following sections are vital and expected by an employer:
- Your contact information
- Your work experience (including responsibilities)
- Your education
- Your skills
- Professional qualifications or certifications (if required by the job description)
The following sections are optional and may help your application but are not expected:
- Your personal statement
- Your awards, honours or certifications (if not mentioned in the job description)
- Hobbies and interests outside of work
Template for How to Write a CV
Below is an example CV template that you might use when creating your own CV:
I am a motivated, experienced and knowledgeable marketing executive with a deep understanding of core concepts such as lead generation. Over the course of my career I’ve built skills in SEO, PPC and Social Marketing, learning more about how these functions all collaborate to provide a diverse and high-performing lead generation pipeline. In my last role, my work in optimising the company website using SEO techniques helped me increase the number of leads in a month by 32%.
MarketingCo: Jan 2019 – Present
Run SEO optimisation across the website and our blog content
Provide reporting to senior management around our SEO performance
Managing our social channels, including the creation of social assets
MarketingCo: Jan 2018 – Jan 2019
Supported the creation of company emails
Creating website content for the SEO manager
Support the creation of social assets for social marketing
Marketing Degree: July 2015 – July 2018
3 A-Levels: A – B
5 GCSEs: A* – C
SEO and Content Marketing
Knowledge around advanced keyword research for SEO and PPC
Understanding of email builders including Mailchimp and DotDigital
Effective operation of multiple social platforms including Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn
Experienced in using WordPress and associated plug-ins
Hubspot SEO Certification
DotDigital Email Certification