How to write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Get advice on how to write your CV and download templates to help you.

What your CV should include

Your CV is the most important document when you're looking for a job. It tells your potential employer what you know, what you’ve achieved and what you can do. Now is the time to show how you can be an asset to a company.

Personal details

You should state your contact number and email address. You might want to include your address or location and any professional social media links.

Make sure you check your emails regularly so you don’t miss an interview invite.

Personal and professional profile

This is the first thing your potential employer will read about you so it needs to stand out. You should tell your employer about yourself and why they should employ you.

You can use lots of positive describing words. Your aim is to get the employers’ attention and show them why you're the employee they are looking for.

Read our list of suggested words to use in your personal and professional profile.

Employment history

Start with your most recent work experience and work backwards. This can include school work experience, voluntary work and paid employment.

If you've had a lot of jobs, show the ones that are most relevant to the role you're applying for.

Show who you worked for and the dates you worked there, highlighting the key things you achieved in that position.

Education, training and qualifications

List your secondary education, and any education or training you've done after that. Start with the most recent thing.

Lay it out in the same way as your employment history to keep it neat and professional. State what you studied, what you achieved, and include the dates you were there.

Key skills

If you don’t have a lot of work experience or education, you might want to include a ‘key skills’ section to demonstrate why someone should employ you.

You can talk about ‘soft’ skills here, like good communication and team work. Remember to always give examples.

You can also use this section to tell the employer if you have technical or language skills that are relevant to the role.

Hobbies and interests

You don’t have to include hobbies and interests on your CV, but it is another opportunity to show your skills or add depth to your CV especially if you don’t have much work experience.

If you play a sport as part of a team, this demonstrates your team working skills. If you like using social media, this shows your interest and understanding of digital trends. You can say how these activities have given you skills and experience. 


A referee is a person who can vouch for you and tell your potential employer why they should hire you. You will usually need to provide two references.

Ideally, they should be from your last place of education, your last place of employment or a combination of the two.

You don't need to put the details of these referees on your CV, so you can either leave this section off completely, or write ‘references are available on request’.

If you need more CV writing advice

Get more advice about how to write a CV on the National Careers Service website.