Careers tip: Creating the best CV

Victoria Matthews gives some pointers for creating your CV

It is crucial to have a good CV and cover letter, as it is the first contact you will have with a prospective employer. Make sure they are specific to the company, and that you demonstrate why your skills and personality match their requirements.

If you are a student or graduate, your CV format will need to be different from that of someone who is already in a career. This will ensure your CV draws employers’ attention to your most relevant and saleable skills and experience.

If you’re replying to a job advert, ensure the skills in the person specification are mentioned in your CV. If you’re applying speculatively, think about what the job will involve and what the employer might be looking for.

Your CV should be no more than two pages. Try to use the same font all the way through, with bold and bigger font sizes to bring out headings. The layout should be as simple as possible. Try to use punchy and “active” words, especially when describing achievements in previous jobs. Use powerful words such as “managed”, “led” and “achieved”.

Be honest. There’s a difference between selling yourself and inventing things. Never be tempted to invent qualifications or previous jobs. You might be asked for more information about them at interview.


Victoria Matthews is a National Careers Service adviser. For information and advice on CVs, contact the NCS on 0800 100 900 or search online and try the CV Builder tool