How to Write Good CV


How to write good CV? Julie-Ann Amos, in her book Write a Winning CV, summaries in clear and exact terms, what a good CV should be like. It highlights what you need to do to deliver a CV that gets attention and pull you a short listing and interview.

Most employers spend between 10 to 30 seconds, flipping through CVs, with hundreds of CV to wade through on occasions as the sea of the UK job market becomes even more restive.

Knowing how to write good CV that separates you from the crowd is thus a must if you want to succeed.

The first step to writing a good CV is to know exactly what a good CV is , and what a bad CV can be like.

Everyone says a CV is a document that tells the story of your life. True, a very bad CV may tell exactly that. It may go on and on to tell all what you have done, and as Julie-Ann Amos puts it, may also attempt to make excuse for things you failed to do. That is not the type of CV you want to write.

A good CV is one that is well presented, and tells your prospective employer in concise, sharp, active terms, what you have done in the past, where you did it, and what you can bring with you should you be engaged in his or her employment.To achieve these, you must be able to satisfy four requirements

• Present the CV with the best possible looks

• Must have some essential Contents

• Agree on best format

• Writing in a way that keeps the reader awake


First impression matters; you may not have a second chance. You therefore need to present your CV in an easy to read, most attractive way, with excellent page lay out, good text font size (12 or 14), well selected text fond type and margins.

Your paper should be crisps, 100grams weight A4 printing paper if you can afford it. Look out for stationary shops like for specially designed papers for CV, and pick one. You may use a cream coloured paper, though always safest to stick with white. Your printing should be done with a laser printer, and not any other.

You can get more on this at the CV writing section.


The next step towards writing a good CV is to be clear on what will go into the CV in terms of content. There are essential contents that are expected in any good CV.These include your name, correspondence address, telephone number, email address. It also includes:


This is a short paragraph that highlights your strong points, skills and experience. It tells your employer in a split second who you are, your qualities and attributes that you will bring to the job in four to eight positive words.

Employment History

This will tell the employer what you have been doing and the skills you have accumulated over time. On occasions, you may be required to list ALL jobs you have ever done, where, and roles and responsibilities you have undertaken. On other occasions, you may be able to skip jobs you do not want to feature, and present only what is relevant, depending on what CV format you are using.

Education and Training

This is where you need to show case your educational achievements if any, and extra trainings on the job you have had.


Employers want to know what you do outside work, and how you are able to switch away from work related matters, as this is vital for you to maintain a sound mind.

List interesting hobbies and interest you have. So may coincide with what your prospective employer enjoys…who knows?


Always provide a column for referees. You must not include the names of the referees, unless specifically asked. Just saying references available on request may be okay on your CV.

These are the basic requirements in any CV. Much more than theses may be required, depending on type of employment. Other requirements in terms of content may include teaching experience, management experience, publications, audits, e.t.c. Please see the section sample CV for profession specific CVs.

To be able to provide what is needed here, you need adequate preparation before even writing your CV. Get the job description and person’s specification of any job position you are about to apply for.

Always start from there. You can often get this on the advert or from the employer directly by request. Take the pain to do this. Every job and employer is unique; so must your CV for this job.

Once you have perused the requirements for the advertised position, take a pen and paper. Make a note. How do your skills, education, and experience match that requested? Think of informal experiences that may be useful. Write them down. Did you help in looking after granny when her dementia became so bad and was soiling herself?

That may be useful if you are applying for geriatric care job in a nursing home; or were you the treasurer in your college associating, keeping accounts and records? That may be useful if you were applying for a clerical job somewhere.

Take a good look at the kind of goods or services your prospective employer supplies. Learn about the company. Write your CV to blend to fit the industry’s requirement. This is a very important component of how to write good CV that works.

CV Format

Depending on the type of job that you are looking for, as well as your achievements and work history, you will have to choose to build your CV in a chronological or functional CV format.

Most people will do with a chronological CV format, but if you are returning to work after a long time, or undergoing a career change, you will need a functional CV format.For more on this, please see the CV Format section.

Active Writing

If you must excel on how to write good CV, you need to master the art of writing in a sharp and concise way. Be guaranteed that not all the contents of your CV would be read. So make what may be scanned through interesting to read, not sending the reader to sleep.

Use active words or action words like "achieved", "definite", "generated", "streamlined", "optimised", "won", "facilitated".

Also give specific examples. "Successfully initiated a departmental debt buy back scheme that reduced our annual debt servicing out goings by 60%" demonstrates the use of both active words and specific achievement examples, rather than saying I help in reducing our department’s annual out goings on debt...another must on how to write good CV.

Proof Read

Once you have done all the above, make sure that your CV is on a single side of 2 – 3 pages of A4 for general CVs. For medical CV, as well as some graduate, academic and top managerial CVs, 6 – 8 pages are not uncommon.

It is time to proof read your CV. Check for typographical errors, make sure that your page lay out is okay, not crowded, with plenty of white spaces on the page.

Get a trusted friend to proof read the CV for you.

If you have done all the above, you would have taken the most important steps on how to write good CV. For more information on how to write good CV, please see the CV writing section.

Know how to write good cv? Get free critique here

If you want specific further information on how to write good CV, please do not hesitate to contact us via our contact us page.

Useful Links on How to Write Good CV

CV Writing Tips - Further tips on How to Write Good CV

Free Sample CVs

Professional CV Writing Services

Sample Chronological CV

Sample Functional CV

CV Covering Letter

Great CV Writing Books on How to Write Good CV

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