How to Write a Good CV in the UK (Examples, Tips, and Templates)
How to Write a Good CV in the UK (Examples, Tips, and Templates)
- · November 28 2023
- · 6 min read
Table of contents
In today's competitive job market, a successfull curriculum vitae (CV) is essential to showcase your skills and experiences to potential employers. Ultimately, a CV is a personalised marketing document aimed at capturing employers' interest. Its primary focus is to align with your career goals by showcasing your professional background, qualifications, skills, and experiences. Whether you're an expert in your field or a recent graduate, this article provides valuable CV advice, examples, and tips to assist you in how to write a good CV.
There are certain must-have versus optional sections when writing a CV. The most important thing to remember is that a CV should be tailored towards your career goals. Therefore, selecting which templates to use also depends on which phase of your career you're in.
Consider the following must-have sections for a CV in the UK:
You may include additional sections if they are relevant. This includes but is not limited to:
Professional affiliations and memberships
Courses and certificates
Hobbies and interests
An excellent CV should highlight your work experience, education, achievements, and relevant skills clearly and concisely. Additionally, tailoring your CV to match the job requirements you are applying for can greatly increase your chances of success.
The following sections delve into important considerations, including UK requirements and the naming conventions for different CV sections.
A complete CV should always include personal details so that a recruiter or hiring manager can contact you. This section should be positioned at the top of your CV, and it's important to note that including a photo on a CV is not required in the UK.
Required on a CV in the UK:
Optional information (if applicable):
Link to your portfolio/website
Driving licence and type.
To be excluded:
Exact home address
Date of birth
Place of birth
For more tips, refer to whether or not to include a photo on a CV.
A personal profile serves as an introductory statement summarising your professional background, education, goals, and key soft skills tailored to your desired job and industry. It should be concise, clear, and relevant to make a strong impression on employers, giving them a quick overview of your identity and career objectives.
For more guidance and examples, refer to how to write a personal profile that has over 15 examples to effectively showcase your soft skills and create a compelling personal profile. Alternatively, review the examples below.
Retail CV personal profile example
Ambitious and customer-focused retail professional with over five years of experience in enhancing store turnover and productivity. Well-versed in sta ff training, coaching, and developing performance-driven teams. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with proven capabilities in problem-resolution, stakeholder engagement, and continuous process improvement.
Sales CV personal profile example
Customer-focused sales professional with 10+ years of experience in exceeding sales targets, spearheading new sales processes, and driving sustainable revenue growth within fast-paced environments. Influential leader, adept in delegating, training, and coaching cross-functional and performance-driven teams. Demonstrated track record in cultivating valuable business partnerships with proven success in implementing effective customer retention strategies.
Crafting the ideal CV involves tailoring it to align with your career goals, and the same principle applies to your skills section. The skills you put on a CV should be specific and relevant to the types of jobs you are targeting. If you find yourself unsure about which skills to include, seeking input from friends or colleagues can provide valuable insights into your top qualities. The example below shows very specific skills for a bookkeeping role.
Avoid common CV mistakes such as:
listing too many skills
adding irrelevant skills
neglecting the distinction between specific skills.
Selecting the right skills can be challenging, but researching and evaluating company expectations helps identify your expertise and determine which skills to include in your CV.
Language skills on a CV can be a great addition, refer to the article for more tips.
When it comes to work experience on a CV, it's important to consider that individuals have different levels of experience —some possess extensive backgrounds, while others are launching their careers. The main purpose of this section is to emphasise daily tasks, achievements, and pertinent background.
A CV should always include recent work experience, focusing primarily on the past 10 to 15 years. Including irrelevant or outdated work experience can be detrimental to your job search, as it may make your CV excessively long.
Include short-term or past experience in an additional experience section and elaborate on it during an interview.
Refer to how to write work experience on a CV for further guidance.
This section plays a vital role in showcasing your qualifications and expertise, providing valuable information for prospective employers to assess your suitability for a position. It serves as a powerful differentiator, emphasising your dedication to personal and professional growth.
Education encompasses not only formal or tertiary education but also informal education. If you lack secondary or tertiary education, you can consider including relevant courses under the education section to make boost your CV.
Refer to our education on a CV article for more tips and examples.
For more examples of good CVs, refer to the following:
The format of a good CV you choose relies on your unique career objectives and current circumstances. Nonetheless, the reverse chronological format is widely advised, where you start by listing your most recent experience and continue in descending order. Nevertheless, it's important to note that there isn't a universal format that applies to all situations.
For example, if you are transitioning to a new career, have taken a career break as a parent, or have recently embarked on a sabbatical, you may prefer to conceal any employment gaps and emphasise your skills.
For more tips and different CV formats, refer to the below examples:
Modify the structure as necessary, considering your particular circumstances and the job requirements for which you are applying.
Refer to the CV Writing Process: Master CV versus Job-specific CV for more tips on what makes a successful CV.
When creating a CV with no experience, highlight transferable skills, relevant coursework or projects, volunteer work, internships, or other experiences demonstrating your abilities and commitment. Emphasise your education, skills, and personal qualities that align with the job requirements. If you have no experience, are a recent graduate, or are transitioning into a new career, it may be best to opt for a skills-based CV. For more examples, refer to the following:
To create a perfect CV, it's important to customise it according to your career goals and ensure it is applicant tracking system (ATS) friendly. Using a generic CV is unlikely to pass through ATS, and recruiters or hiring managers may perceive it as a lack of attentiveness to the job description, resulting in rejection.
If you're still unsure about how to structure your CV or what information to include, visit our extensive range of cover letter templates and CV examples for inspiration. Alternatively, you can consult with an expert at CVMaker for our CV Writing Service.
There might be various reasons for gaps; perhaps you took a career break or had personal matters that required time off. Either way, hope is not lost, as we have provided key tips on how to explain unemployment gaps on a CV. Alternatively, you can refer to our article on how to write a CV if you have no experience.
CVMaker is an all-in-one career platform that aims to simplify the job search process for all users. With an easy-to-use builder and career advice, you can now also write professional career documents including matching cover letters. For more information, refer to how to structure a cover letter.
The universal length for a CV is generally two pages. However, this can vary depending on your level of experience and job requirements. If you have extensive experience or a lengthy publication record, a CV may exceed two pages, especially if you are creating an academic CV. Conversely, if you are a recent graduate or have limited experience as a school leaver, a one-page CV is suitable. Explore more tips on how long a CV should be.
Ensure that the information included aligns with the job you are applying for.
Check for clear and concise language, avoiding excessive jargon.
Ensure a consistent and visually appealing layout, with appropriate use of headings, bullet points, and white space.
Double-check for any spelling or grammatical errors.
Assess if your CV effectively showcases your skills, experiences, and achievements in a compelling way.
Use a clear and professional font.
Maintain consistent formatting throughout the document.
Organise content with clear section headings.
Prioritise the most relevant information and place it prominently.
Utilise white space effectively for visual appeal.
Consider using a well-designed CV template for guidance and consistency.
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Updated November 28 2023
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