A CV is just another sheet of paper without a cover letter to show your human side. Use these 3 generic cover letter samples to write your own non-general cover letter fast.
You don’t need a literary talent equalling Dickens or Austen to write a good CV from scratch.
In fact, you only need a good set of instructions, some free time, and something to write with. And a few expert tips explaining how to write a CV without falling for common errors. That’s helpful, too.
In this guide:
- A sample CV better than other curricula vitae out there.
- Detailed instructions explaining how to write a CV from start to finish.
- What to watch out for while writing a CV for UK jobs.
Save hours of work and get a CV like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 21 CV templates and download your CV now.
What users say about Resumelab:
I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your CV.”
I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work!
My previous CV was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful!
Not sure if a CV is what you need? Check these guides:
Need more expert tips for your CV? See the articles below:
- Academic CV: Template, Sample, & Tips
- American CV Format
- Best Practices for CV Writing
- Is Your CV Targeted? How to Tailor Your Application
- Popular CV Mistakes to Avoid
- Simple CV Templates for All Job Types
- The Perfect CV Exists and Can Be Yours
Good CV example
Motivated business analyst with 6+ years of experience in the food processing industry. Proficient in Scrum and Agile methodologies. Eager to improve GSN Grains & Cereals business processes to cut production costs and increase operational efficiency. Saved £720,000 in 2021–2022 by introducing changes to the supply chain management at a brewing facility.
Armory Brews, Ledbury
- Introduced changes to the business growth strategy for 2020–2022 that led to a 7% increase in projected revenue.
- Implemented new key account management processes that helped to reduce the delayed payments rate by 19%.
- Reviewed financial forecasting plans for 2019–2023 to analyse where action needs to be taken.
- Developed a business feasibility study covering the economic, operational, financial, and cultural assessment of the organisation’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Redesigned the supply chain management processes, leading to £720,000 in savings in 2021–2022.
Junior Business Analyst
Drumming Frog, Upton upon Severn
June 2016–August 2018
- Collaborated with the Purchasing, Trading, and Production departments to analyse data for strategic decisions.
- Analysed business processes to identify opportunities for improvements in order to increase efficiency.
- Presented findings in monthly reports and during quarterly meetings with stakeholders.
- Utilised Scrum and Agile methodologies to organise the workflow and track updates.
- Spotted an opportunity to cut waste management costs by 22% by reselling spent malt and grains to bakeries in the local area.
Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics
University of Worcester
September 2013–May 2016
- Thesis topic: The application of business intelligence systems in the food manufacturing industry.
- Analytical skills. Used various sources of data and analytical tools to suggest data-backed improvements and aid executive decision-making.
- Financial modelling. Created financial forecasts for multiple departments to aid budgeting decisions.
- Leadership skills. Mentored junior staff and delegated duties to ensure smooth operations within the department.
- Effective communication. Frequently communicated with department heads and company stakeholders to provide updates and respond to inquiries.
- Scrum and Agile methodologies. Worked within both frameworks to deliver objectives within established deadlines.
- Proficient in Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Good working knowledge of Jira and Confluence
- Certified Analytics Professional, CAP, June 2021
- Agile Analysis Certification, IIBA, December 2020
- German—Proficient (C2)
- French—Advanced (C1)
Impressive, isn’t it?
Carry on and learn how to write a CV in 8 easy steps:
1. Create a professional CV layout
Picture this: it’s a Saturday night, and you’re attending a performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Everyone’s wearing their best attire, but you’ve decided to go against the crowd. You’re in sweatpants and your favourite Arsenal T-shirt. Guess what—everyone is looking at you but for all the wrong reasons.
Just like you should dress appropriately for the occasion,your CV must follow certain rules to look professional.
Here’s how to make a good CV layout:
- Set the CV margins to 1 inch on all sides of the document.
- Pick a classic CV font, such as Calibri or Georgia.
- Make the font size 10–12 pt for the paragraphs and 13–14 pt for the headings.
- Use bullet points to arrange information efficiently.
- Highlight important elements, such as your name and job title, with bolding or a dash of colour.
- Keep the length of your CV reasonable: 1 or 2 pages maximum.
Expert Hint: If you struggle with arranging information on the document to fit everything, you can create a two-column layout. It should help squeeze the information in better than a single-column one. Try a free CV template if you don’t feel confident in your editing skills.
2. Choose the best CV format
We’ve covered the looks, so let’s discuss the contents now.
Before you get down to writing a CV, you must decide which format to follow. You’ve got three CV formats to choose from:
HR professionals recommend using the reverse chronological CV, as it gives a spotlight on your most recent career achievements. This type is also best for creating ATS-friendly CVs.
Here’s what you must include in your CV that uses the reverse-chronological format:
- Header area including your name, job title, and contact details
- CV profile that serves as a summary of your qualifications
- Work experience section that highlights your career achievements
- Education section listing your degree and other relevant information
- Skill section that presents your hard and soft skills
- Additional CV sections such as certificates, associations, publications, etc.
3. List your contact information at the top of the CV
The first thing a hiring manager sees on your CV is your name. That’s why you should give it prominence. The CV header is the best spot for it. But is it only a place for your name? Far from it.
Include the following information in the CV header:
- Your full name and professional title: use the job title from the job posting or the one you’ve had most recently.
- Contact details: while adding a physical address to a CV is optional, remember to include your email address and phone number.
- LinkedIn profile: it can provide a broader picture of your career than just the CV.
- Personal website or portfolio address: especially if you work in creative industries.
- Professional social media: only if you use them for business purposes.
Always check your online presence before sharing social media links. You don’t want a silly photo from 10 years ago to make you look unprofessional!
One more thing—never include information about your age, date of birth, marital status or nationality. This kind of information is protected according to the Equality Act 2010. Adding it to your CV could make it immediately rejected due to anti-discriminatory practices in recruitment.
4. Write a personal profile for your CV
It’s time for some self-promotion. Your personal profile is designed to advertise your strengths on a CV. It’s not just a space to fill with a basic introduction—you must do it well.
First, choose the type of profile you want for your CV:
- CV summary: highlights your career achievements, recommended for experienced professionals.
- CV objective: showcases your skills and specifies what you can achieve for the employer, recommended for entry-level candidates.
Done? Great. Now, let’s try creating one.
How to write a CV personal profile:
- Start with a character trait such as “determined”, “dependable”, and “ambitious.”
- Continue with your job title, degree, or professional qualification.
- Follow up with years of experience or a bit of context.
- Mention what you can do to help the employer succeed.
- Describe an impressive accomplishment from a previous job or other activity.
Here’s a sample CV summary for clarity:
How to write a summary for a CV: Example
The first example provides specific information about the candidate’s experience, accomplishments, and goals. The second one—not so much.
Writing a CV with no work experience? Here’s a CV objective to inspire you:
How to write a CV personal profile: Example
Notice the difference between the two examples above? While both are for entry-level candidates, the first one highlights their skills and mentions what they could do for the employer. The second only focuses on what the candidate wants.
5. Make a strong work experience section
You don’t need Sherlock Holmes’ deduction skills to guess that the work experience section of a CV is important. Hiring managers want candidates who have relevant experience. It’s as simple as that.
But how to serve it right?
Here’s how to write a CV work experience section:
- Start with the most recent position and continue the work history in reverse chronological order.
- Provide the job title, company name, location, and work period for each position you mention.
- Describe your duties in 3–4 bullet points that use action words to highlight your worth.
- Mention a key achievement for each position and back it up with numbers.
- Add optional information about promotions on your CV.
- Include CV keywords that mirror the ones from the job ad.
Just like in the example below:
How to write a CV: Example work experience section
The first example focuses on the applicant’s actions and wins. It gives factual information (numbers and percentages) to highlight the achievements.
The second example? Too generic and unimpressive.
Expert Hint: If your work history includes employment gaps, don’t try to hide them. Be honest about it. Learn how to describe employment gaps on a CV in a way that gives you an advantage.
6. Include education on your CV
Here’s some good news for you: you don’t have to be an Etonian to make your CV education section shine.
Adding education to your CV is essential, as a degree is an entry-level qualification for many jobs out there. Employers may require certain qualifications from candidates, so it’s worth checking the Register of Regulated Qualifications to learn more about them.
If you’re an experienced professional, you can keep the information in this section to a minimum. But for candidates with no experience, adding more can prove beneficial.
Here’s how to make a CV education section work for you:
- Start with the highest qualification you have, such as a university degree.
- Mention the name of the institution and the years of study
- Give additional details about your academic experience, such as your thesis title, academic awards, scholarships, publications, relevant coursework, or extracurricular activities.
Now, see an example:
How to create a CV: Education section sample
The first example looks professional, but the second—not really. Apart from the degree, you need to mention the school's name. That’s just the minimum.
The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your CV in our CV builder now.
7. Highlight your key skills in a separate section
It’s time to adorn your CV with relevant skills. Relevant to the job, that is. But before you can sprinkle them on your application, you must ask yourself this question: “Which skills are required for this job?”
The answer might seem obvious at first glance. But the truth is, you shouldn’t guess it. You should check it in the job advertisement. Because the requirements might differ from what you deem essential.
Here’s how to create a CV skill section:
- Make a long list of skills you’ve mastered, including soft skills, hard skills, and technical skills.
- Compare the list with the job requirements outlined in the ad.
- Pick 4–6 hard skills (plus computer skills) and 2–4 soft skills that match the job description perfectly.
Check an example below:
How to write a CV: Examples of skills
The good example shows a set of skills that match the requirements for a business analyst job. The second one includes skills that seem pretty random.
8. Add extra CV sections
We’re getting closer to completing your CV. Now, it’s time to upgrade it with additional CV sections. They’re designed to provide valuable information that doesn’t fit into the classic sections like education or work experience.
Choose from the following sections:
- Certificates and licenses
- Hobbies and interests
- Personal projects
- Professional references
- Volunteer work
Take a look at the example below:
How to make a CV: Additional sections example
Not sure which sections to choose? Add only information relevant to the job posting. For example, if you’re applying for a UX designer role, you can mention UX certification and your passion for graphic design.
Now that you’re done writing, make sure you know how to email your CV professionally!
Expert Hint: Remember that even the best CV won’t guarantee you a job interview. But there’s something you can do to boost your chances of landing one—and that’s writing a cover letter. Need help with that? Head on to our dedicated guide on how to write a professional cover letter easily.
Double your impact with a matching CV and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
Here’s a quick reminder of the main points from this article.
How to write a CV for any job:
- Make a professional CV layout.
- Choose the CV format that suits you best.
- Create a header with your contact information.
- Write a CV profile to introduce yourself.
- Describe your career achievements in the work experience section.
- Add education to your CV.
- List your key skills for the job in a separate section.
- Select a few additional CV sections.
Got any questions about writing a CV for UK jobs? Would you like to share some tips with other readers? Let me know in the comments below.
Frequently asked questions about writing a CV
What is a good CV format?
The reverse-chronological CV format is considered the best one for most job applicants. It focuses on experience and shows your most recent position first, which helps to highlight your career achievements. It’s best for experienced candidates but can also be adapted for entry-level applicants.
What does a good CV look like in 2023?
A good CV features a clean layout and standard CV sections that hiring managers expect to see. It presents relevant information about the candidate’s qualifications in a way that’s easy to read—both on screen and on paper. Because of that, applicants must know the CV formatting rules.
Here’s how you can ensure your CV looks good:
- Use classic CV fonts such as Cambria, Calibri, or Verdana in size 10–12 pt for paragraphs and 13–14 for headings.
- Apply 1-inch CV margins on all sides of the document.
- Organise the information in paragraphs and use bullet points when listing your job duties or skills.
- Limit the length of your CV to 1 page if you have less than ten years of experience.
- Save the CV in a PDF or Doc file to preserve formatting.
What are the 5 main parts of a CV?
The 5 main parts of a CV are:
Those CV sections are essential. However, candidates can also include additional ones, such as certifications or language skills.
For experienced candidates, the work experience section is the longest part of the document. Entry-level applicants, on the other hand, should extend the education section and may skip the work experience section altogether.
How to create a CV in Word?
The easiest way to create a CV in Microsoft Word is to find a free CV template for Word and fill it out with your information. You can visit Microsoft Office’s page and browse their selection of templates to pick the one you like best. You may also access them on the desktop or web app.