How to write a CV in English

The style and layout of a curriculum vitae (also called a CV or resumé) are often different in English to those in other languages. These steps explain how you can write a great CV in English, while keeping it simple and easy to read.

Step 1: make notes

Make notes on your work experience, both paid, unpaid, full-time and part-time. Write down your responsibilities, job title and company information. Include everything!

Step 2: make more notes

Make notes on your education. Include your degree or any certificates, names of major courses, school names and courses relevant to the job you are applying for.

Step 3: … again more notes

This time make notes on other achievements. Include your membership of organizations, military service and any other special accomplishments.

Step 4: relevant skills

From the notes you’ve made, choose which skills are relevant (skills that are similar) to the job which you are applying for. These are the most important points for your CV.

Step 5: personal details

Begin your CV. Write your full name, address, telephone number, email, date of birth, marital status and nationality at the top of the CV.

Step 6: objective

Write an objective. The objective is a short sentence describing the job you hope to get. This is common only in an American-style CV (called a resumé).

Step 7: education/qualifications

Summarize your education, including important facts (type of degree, specific courses you have studied) that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Step 8: experience

List all your work experience, job by job. Start with the your most recent job and progress backwards in time. Again, focus on skills that are relevant. Include details of companies and your job title and responsibilities at that company.

Step 9: skills

Include other relevant information such as languages spoken, computer skills, etc.

Step 10: interests

Very briefly include your hobbies and main interests.

Step 11: references

Finish with the line: References available upon request.

More tips

  • Ideally your CV in English should not be longer than one page. Two pages are only acceptable if you have had many different jobs and a variety of experience.
  • Spacing, aligning and layout are very important when you write your CV, in order to create a positive and professional impression.
  • Use ‘dynamic’ and ‘action’ verbs such as attained, accomplished, conducted, established, facilitated, founded, managed, etc.
  • Do not use the personal pronoun ‘I’ in your CV; use sentences without a personal pronoun: Established and managed a new sales force, not I established and managed a new sales force.