How to prepare an effective CV

How to prepare an effective CV

3 Minute Read

Top CV Tips:

  • Be sure it’s neat, typed out if possible and to the best standard you can achieve regarding content and layout.
  • Be concise, 2 sides of a sheet of A4 paper is normally enough.
  • Be positive, it should emphasise your achievements, strengths, successes and make a good impression. This means presenting the facts about yourself in a positive way!

What to include in your CV

You should present your CV clearly and keep it simple. There is an example CV at the bottom of this article but you should always include:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address (if you have one)
  • Your career history

Put your most recent job first and include dates. Employers will be more interested in what you have done recently. Include the skills and experience you have gained across those jobs. If you have had a gap in your career, it is always better to be honest about this and explain why rather than hide it.

You don’t need to include your date of birth

Laws on discrimination mean that you don’t need to put your age or date of birth on your CV.

A personal profile

This is a short statement at the beginning of your CV to promote yourself as well as your specific skills, experience and personal qualities.

Make sure the statement is tailored to fit the requirements of each job that you apply for, so that you make it clear to the employer that you’re right for the job.

You can follow your profile with a list of two or three achievements that are relevant to the job, such as health and safety certificates or courses you have completed.

Key skills

Include any relevant work experience or anything you have done whilst you have been taking part in your hobbies and interests. Promote your good qualities and skills.

Work history and experience

Start with your most recent job and work backwards. It might be helpful to go through this with someone on a separate sheet of paper first, as things might come back to you as you talk and write. Make sure you don’t leave any gaps in your employment dates. If there have been periods of time when you haven’t had a job then say what you were doing, whether you were unemployed or doing voluntary work.

Education and qualifications

Include any qualifications and training from your school or college or any training you have done in a previous or part-time job. Put the most recent first and include any qualifications that you got from school or college.


Mention things you did well in your past jobs which could be relevant for the job you’re applying for.

Hobbies and interests

You should include some of your personal interests and how you like to spend your spare time. Employers appreciate that you are a person not just an employee and it’s good to show the different aspects of your character!


It is a good idea to put down two references. The rule is generally to include your most recent employer but if you haven’t been employed previously, you can put your tutor or teacher and a personal referee who is somebody from your community, a friend or relative with a professional status as a character witness.

Make sure you ask their permission before you include their details.

Don’t forget to…

Keep the employer’s needs in mind. Every employer will have their own needs and requirements, so make sure that your CV matches up with the skills and experience they’re actually looking for.

Ensure that all dates match up and everything is spelt correctly. Give your CV to someone to read through as it’s vital there are no mistakes – this is one of the main reasons CV’s are rejected.

Finally, look at the CV before you send it off. It might be that you need to make some small changes to make it more specific to the job you’re applying for.

If you are interested in learning while earning a salary, gaining valuable work experience and nationally recognised qualifications, then have a look at our apprenticeship vacancies and see what opportunities are available in your area. For more help, please contact us on 0800 783 2545 or email

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