Curriculum Vitae Tips

Keep it short

Generally, CV's are four pages long. You may be used to a CV that includes information about every job or course you've ever done, but we want to know about how suitable you are for the vacancy. Be sure to include your most recent history, if you are more experienced the last 10 years is great.

Give examples of your skills

CVs are used to decide which candidates will be invited for an interview. Writing about skills may be different from what you are used to. Don't just list your skills - make sure that you give an example of how you've used each skill. Identify what you did, the setting in which the activity was carried out, and what happened as a result.

Example: "Customer service skills - managed a busy bookstore and twice achieved a 95% grading during the annual mystery shopper survey."

Get it checked

As much as spell check works - make sure someone proof reads it for you.

Sell yourself

Don't be afraid to write about your strengths (what you do well). Use your CV to say why you should be employed.

Make your CV reflect the job description

If it asked for five main qualities, make sure they're on the first page. Reflect the words used in the job description and job advertisement. If they talk about "human resources" don't refer to your time in "personnel".

Tailor each CV to the job you are applying for

For example, if you apply for the same role in a large firm and with a niche player you will want to highlight your experience working for large businesses or demonstrate how you work in small teams. Unless you are applying for a multitude of roles as some systems don't allow you to register multiple CV's. In that instance make sure your front page clearly states why you are applying for the roles.

Make everything positive on your CV

This includes learning from negative experiences. Your CV should convey a sense of vitality and confidence.

What to Include

Personal details

Write your full name, address, email address and phone number.

Career or personal objective

State your goal and the skills that make you suitable. For example "I'm looking for a career, preferably outdoors, where I can develop my skills. I'm hardworking, strong, versatile and in good health."

Key Skills

List your work-related skills and abilities. Some of these might be skills you learnt outside work. You may like to include unpaid, community or family work and say how these skills might suit the job you're applying for.

Work experience

List the jobs you've had, including part-time and voluntary work, starting with the most recent. Write the job title, the employer's name, the date you started and finished, and a brief description of what your duties included including any achievements.

Education and training

List your schooling and other training. Give details of technical and trade certificates, and any study or courses you've done.

Hobbies and interests

Optional - Give brief details of your hobbies and interests. You could also include any voluntary work you've been involved with.


List two to three people who can talk about how well you've worked in the past, but check with them first if it's alright to put them as referees. They may be former employers or someone from work or your community who can vouch for you. Write their name, company or organisation they work for, position and contact details.

A future employer may want to contact your referees to verify what you've written in your CV and answer any questions they may have about you.

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