How to Write Curriculum Vitae / Résumés

When responding to a job advertisement in writing, you will be required to submit a curriculum vitae (CV)/professional résumé, along with your letter of application. Your CV should be brief. Most employers prefer CVs of between two and four pages. 

It should provide a concise summary of your: 
  • contact details
  • residence status, eg permanent residence, work visa
  • qualifications and computer skills
  • professional/trade skills
  • work experience and achievements
  • referees.

 It is not necessary to include letters of reference or academic/professional certificates with your application. These will be requested later for review during the job selection process. Make sure that you either deliver these personally or by courier, and that they are returned once the job and get ready for job interview.

You'll also find extra information on writing CVs/résumé and job applications in the dictionary centre section.

Firstly, here are some general CV do's and don'ts:


  • read the advert carefully and tailor your CV/résumé to match the job you're applying for
  • be concise when outlining your education and employment history
  • try to keep your CV/résumé to one or two sides of A4 paper
  • use brief, informative sentences, short paragraphs, and standard English
  • structure your CV/résumé in a logical way, with a limited number of main sections
  • begin with an action verb when describing your duties (see the CVs/résumé below)
  • use bold type or bullet points to highlight key points
  • proofread your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation (many employers just discard job applications that contain such errors)
  • see your college careers adviser: they'll have a range of sample CVs/résumés and will be able to help you when writing specific applications
  • update your CV/résumé regularly, as your situation changes


  • go into too much detail: employers are too busy to read rambling and unfocused CVs/résumés
  • leave gaps in your employment history: it's better to add a sentence explaining any periods that are unaccounted for (such as a gap year)
  • forget to read your CV/résumé for both content and mistakes (you could also ask someone to read it for you)
  • use many different typefaces: keep to one or two that are clear and easy to read
  • brighten up your CV/résumé with inappropriate colour, photos, or graphics
  • name people as referees unless you've already confirmed that they're happy to provide a reference for you
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