Advice for writing a good CV

In today’s market place there is a lot of competition when applying for roles which is why good CV writing is key to getting that all important interview. Your CV is potentially the first (and possibly the only) introduction an employer has to you as a prospective employee, so it’s absolutely essential you ensure your CV reflects your experience, skills, qualifications and strengths.

There are many formats and layouts and templates available on the internet to make the job of creating your CV easier. Find the one that best suits you, and the role you are applying for.

The Basics

You must give careful attention to the 5 key elements of the CV:

  • Presentation
  • Layout
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Content

Tailor your CV to each specific job rather than sending out a generic CV. Read the job description and pick out the key capabilities listed and ensure you show your ability to meet the employers needs within your skills and experience section.

Keep your CV simple, concise and easy to read.

Presentation and layout

Keep your CV simple with adequate white space to enhance readability and ideally keep it to two pages long.

  • Use simple font like Arial, 10-12pt, and keep formatting like italics and underlining to a minimum.
  • Bulletsare extremely useful in CV’s as they allow you to highlight key points succinctly and keep the document looking tidy.
  • For past roles, start each bullet with an action verb instead of using “I” to start the sentence.
  • Spelling and punctuation must be perfect, so after you proof-readit, ask a friend to check it over for readability and any errors you may have missed.
  • Create your CV in Word so it can be opened and read by recipients easily. PDF formats can often cause issues if the reader does not have the appropriate software packages.



Basic CV structure

  1. Name, address and contact details

Make sure to use the phone number and email address that you use most often. Make sure the e-mail address you use appears professional as something like would not be appropriate.

  1. Relevant experience and skills
  • List your work experience in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. Include employer names, positions held and primary responsibilities and any relevant key achievements.
  • Do not leave gaps in your CV. If you took a year out, carried out an interim assignment, or travelled for six months, say so.
  • If you are a graduate or someone who has only started or is intending to do a course, you may not have a great deal of work experience. In this case highlight the relevant skills that you gained in your course, on work experience or from caring for a family member or relative, again, list your experience in reverse order, so that the most recent appears first.
  1. Education and training
  • Use your common sense here. If you have an educational qualification, most employers are not going to be concerned about your Junior Cert.
  • Make sure to include any training courses that you have done that are relevant to the job that you are applying for.
  • Where appropriate include any computer or software packages that you have experience using that may be required for the job.
  1. Include Nationality and working visa details

This is only relevant if you are on a working visa.

  1. Referees

You can either include your referees in your CV or state that they will be vailable on request.