Creating the perfect CV

No-one likes to write about themselves, and it’s never an easy thing to do without thinking that you sound a little silly. However, writing a CV is something that you should get used to – you will need one to apply for most jobs, and it’s always good to have one to hand if that dream job appears.

Standard Life have put together some great CV hints and tips to help get you started, and don’t forget to take a look at the example CV too so you can make sure that your CV is as good as it can be.

To start off, have a read through the top tips – they will help you to make sure that you have covered everything:

Top tips

  • Your CV should be typed on a computer and should be short – a maximum of two sides of white or cream A4 paper (coloured paper does not photocopy well).
  • The layout should be clear and easy to follow.
  • You should use plain English and short, concise sentences.
  • It should be positive, always stressing your good points.
  • Make sure it is accurate and kept up to date by adding any recent qualifications and experiences.
  • Check your spelling and grammar, and get someone else to.
  • Don’t use slang expressions or ‘texting’ language.
  • Put your name on both sheets of paper and staple both sheets together to avoid them getting lost.
  • Save your CV somewhere safe so you can update and change whenever you need to.
  • Make sure you update your CV and change it to suit different kinds of job applications.
  • Keep a copy so that you can refer to it before your interview as some interview questions may be based on your CV.
  • If you are posting your CV, use an A4 envelope to send it, it looks better than folding it into a smaller envelope.

Now you know all the ‘Dos and don’ts’ of writing a CV, it’s time to start constructing it. It might help if you have a look at the example CV before you start to lay it out.

All the information in a CV is organised under headings. This is so that the details are clear and easy to read. There are different types of CV but the type mainly used is the chronological CV – it gives the information in date order, the most recent first then working backwards.

To create a chronological CV start with your:



Date of birth

Telephone numbers

Email address (make sure it is suitable)

These details can be listed without a heading and are often presented at the top centre or top lefthand side of the first page. It is always a useful idea to provide your name on the top of all pages in case your pages become separated.

There are lots of different ways of constructing a CV. There is no “right” way, however whatever you do it should be clear and easy to read. One way is to arrange it under the following headings (you might find it helpful to take a look at the example CV again so see exactly where they should go):

Personal profile – give a little detail about yourself, perhaps something about what you want/hope to achieve.

Skills and Achievements

Education – put your highest grades first.

Career Summary or Employment History

Hobbies/Interests – make sure they are appropriate.

Achievements – any awards you have won.

Other relevant information – details of your year out to travel, voluntary work or an ability to speak another language if not already detailed.

Referees – Guidance teacher/Head teacher, supervisors from previous jobs, University lecturer.

Once you have finished, compare it to the example CV and check through the top tips again to make sure that you have done all you can to make sure your CV is perfect – then you’re ready to send it off!