How to write the perfect CV

by Emma Grafton-Williams

Writing your first CV may seem like a daunting task. You may not have any work experience or finished your GCSEs but it’s important that you create a CV if you’re looking to find a job.

A CV gives you the chance to promote yourself and highlight your skills to potential employers.

The layout is important and should be clear, concise and brief. A good CV needs to cover these topics and needs to be sent with a covering letter or email telling your potential employer which job you are applying for or enquiring about.

Anna Jacobs was branded an "odd ball" and invited to an interview for a laugh. Stock image.
Anna Jacobs was branded an "odd ball" and invited to an interview for a laugh. Stock image.

Personal details

This will be at the very top of your CV and should include your full name, address, contact number and email address. Your email address should be professional and appropriate and include your name and not something silly like

Personal statement

You don’t need to write a long personal statement, this should just be a few sentences about why you would be good for the job. If possible it should be tailored to the role you are applying for. Use the job description and relate your experience to this.


If you haven’t got any work experience it’s vital to get some. It could be volunteer work, a paper round, extra-curricular activities or internships. Most schools offer work experience so this is a good starting point to add to your CV. Write the name of the company and contact details, and the dates you worked. Also list out your main role and responsibilities. Always put the most recent work experience/job first on the list for future reference.


This should start from GCSE level and list your grades. If you want to apply for a post before you receive your your grades, write your expected results or mock exam results. Also put the dates you attended school.

Skills and achievements

These could be social media skills, online researching or practical skills such as using computer software. Make sure to name specific programmes like Office, Powerpoint and Excel. List elements of your personality you feel are a positive attribute. Are you a great communicator or good with numbers? Do you work well within a team? Add in any achievements, these could be personal or education related.

Hobbies and interests

List your hobbies and interests. Try and link to transferable skills, so if reading is one of your hobbies expand and say who your favourite author is and which genres you enjoy.


This will be a previous employer, teacher or family friend. Make sure you have their contact details handy. You don’t need to list all of their details you even simply put ‘references available upon request’ if you prefer.

Writing a CV is easy if your follow our guide
Writing a CV is easy if your follow our guide

Things to remember when writing your CV

  • Double check there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Get a parent or teacher to go through it.

  • Use a simple text format like Times New Roman, Verdana or Arial.

  • Tailor your CV to the particular job you are applying for. Use the job description to help identify what experiences, skills and qualifications to emphasise.

  • Check your referees are happy to be contacted.

  • Keep your CV within one to two pages

  • Include hours and days you are available to work at the top of your CV in your personal statement.

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