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A CV is a short written summary of your skills, achievements and experiences.

CV’s are necessary when you are applying for a job in the initial stages and employers often ask for a CV instead of an application form but sometimes you’ll need both.

Submitting a CV is your first chance to promote yourself to an employer and why they would want to hire you.

Below we will be discussing how to correctly layout your CV’s to make it engaging for the reader and consider some tips and common mistakes made when initially writing your CV.


The layout of your CV is a hugely important factor in landing job interviews.

A professional and well-structured arrangement will create a great first impression which allows you to highlight your skills and achievements to potential employers.

The best well-known layout for your CV is as follows:

  • Your name and any contact details
  • Introductory profile about yourself
  • Education and qualifications
  • If applying for technical roles it is important to highlight any relevant technical skills in your CV
  • Work/ experiences (in reverse chronological order)
  • Hobbies and interests
  • References

It is best to start off with your name and any contact details at the very top such as your phone number, place of residence and email address. These personal details are an important starting point when writing your CV as it allows employers- if you are successful- to be able to contact you. Furthermore, you could link your LinkedIn account details so recruiters can find you through Google and easily access what you have been and currently are up to.

Next, head your CV with an introductory profile about yourself, this gives the recruiter a little insight into who you are as a person, what qualities you have and what you enjoy. Keep this section brief- below this paragraph you will have the opportunity to expand on points by explaining and proving your achievements.

This segment is just a little insight into who you are and hints what you will go into explaining later.  Although a personal profile is not always necessary and when applying for STEM roles it is better to tailor this section to the role and match your skills.

The next two paragraphs can be either your education and qualifications or a list of your work/experiences in reverse chronological order. Both are equally important so it doesn’t matter which you put first.

Being a woman in STEM and just coming out of education might be a good idea to showcase your most recent achievement in your academic subject first. Your education and qualifications immediately shows the employer if you meet their requirements of the job they are offering so they will know to consider you as a candidate due to every job role requiring minimum A-level or degree grades, although more and more employers are now removing this criteria within the STEM industry and focusing more skills based attributes, but this does vary firm to firm.

If you are applying for a STEM job which requires you to have had a lot of experience in the particular industry and demands you to show specific skills then putting your work/experiences first would be more ideal. Your work experience will show off your capability and knowledge immediately making you more attractive to recruiters, do ensure again this is tailored to the role.

You need to cater your CV to the jobs you are applying for and make sure your achievements and successes are emphasised as the recruiter will want to see that first.

Finally, make sure your achievements are ordered from your most recent experience to your first. Employers are more concerned about what you have been up to recently and what you have done which could link to the industry you are now applying for.

Next you could add your hobbies and interests but these are an optional addition. By adding this section it can give the employer a great insight to you as a person, some of your hobbies and interests outside academia could present vital skills and qualities the recruiter is looking for. Whether it be that you attend (attended) a sports club for multiple years every week which shows your commitment and dedication to the sport and club. Or it be that you enjoy reading in your spare time, this demonstrates your thirst for knowledge and shows you are keeping your brain active.

Whatever it may be, describing your hobbies and interests are a good addition to your CV as you never always know what a particular recruiter is looking for in a person and your hobbies or interests may display a characteristic they are looking for.

Finally, including references, again this is not necessary, however it can be good to mention as it shows there are people who can vouch for your character and give support when necessary about your achievements and what kind of person you are if you successfully land the job.

Top tips and CV mistakes

You should always make sure you tailor your CV depending on what job you’re applying for. By highlighting the skills that demonstrate your knowledge and experience in the particular industry you are applying for will  give the reader a good idea if you could be a potential candidate.

There is always a big temptation to use flashy templates with all different colours, designs and logos- these simply detract from the content you’re trying to show off and makes your CV a confusing read.

Keep it simple.

Stick to a black and white colour scheme, choose simple fonts and make sure you use clear headings.

This creates a more pleasant read and ensures your CV does not confuse any CV scanning software.

Further, big blocks of text can be daunting to see, recruiters are busy people so keep to short and sharp sentences.

One way of breaking up text you can use bullet points as it allows the reader to quickly navigate through your CV and pick out the information they are looking for.

Additionally, keep your CV in a one column layout for simplicity.

It allows you to control what order the recruiter views your information on your CV.

If you were to have a layout with more than one column the recruiters eyes will be darting all over the place and they will decide what to read first which is not what you want, you are in control so take advantage and showcase what you want to in the order you want.

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