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Thursday, June 10, 2010

CV Writing Advice

A Guide to writing a CV (Curriculum Vitae) for Engineering students.


Your CV should summarise your suitability for a particular job and company.

List relevant key points concisely - use short statements and/or bullet points rather than lengthy paragraphs - and in a logical order.

Make sure you keep your CV up-to-date eg if you change your contact details, or gain new skills or qualifications, update it.

Consider starting off with a brief Profile - a short summary of your key skills and aspirations.

Aim to make your CV two A4 pages, but do not miss out key information - if you need more room, take it.

Accuracy is crucial. Make sure that spelling, grammar and punctuation are all perfect. Print out a copy and check it and/or ask a friend/family member to check it for you.

Always be truthful.

It is usual, where applicable, to include:

* Personal details
* Education
* Work experience
* Hobbies and interests
* Additional information
* References

Personal details

Make sure that key information, such as your name and contact details, is easy to find quickly - the beginning of the first page is usually the best place.

It is not a requirement to state date of birth, although most employers would probably find it helpful.

Give both term time and home time contact details (if appropriate), and dates you are contactable. You may wish to make anyone else you live with aware of the fact that an employer may contact you at this residence!

Give an email address that sounds professional eg (If necessary, create a new one.)

Nationality - not mandatory but, again, can be useful, particularly to clarify your ability to work in a country. International students may wish to use this section to state their work permit status. (Note: some UK employers do not recruit non-EU nationals who need work permits.)


Usually stated in reverse chronological order, with your most recent experiences first, back to secondary level education.

Include dates, name of institution, and town (full addresses are not required).

Degree: provide full title of degree, name of university and any significant exam results. Any modules/projects/dissertations or other academic work of particular relevance, along with average grades to date/predicted results and/or skills developed, could be included. If you include examples of team projects, focus on your contribution and how you coped with any unforeseen problems.

A Level/AS Level - list subjects and grades.

GCSEs - number of passes.

Work Experience

Whether internships, sandwich year placements, holiday work, paid, voluntary or shadowing - ideally, use examples which demonstrate your technical competence.

Use reverse chronological order with dates (if applicable).

Make clear your personal contribution/achievement/responsibilities, and results achieved.


For example, membership of/positions of responsibility in teams/societies/associations.

As well as your technical abilities, employers also want to see evidence of other skills - such as teamworking, problem solving, decision making, communication and interpersonal skills.

If possible, give examples which show skills such as these, for instance: ‘Captain of local football team - allows me to use, and develop, my teamworking/leadership abilities.’

Additional information

Could include driving licence details, courses attended, foreign languages and IT (include level of proficiency).


Usually two - one academic and one work-related, or a character referee.

Give their name, phone number, email, title, full contact address and relationship to you eg ‘tutor’.

Always ask their permission first.

If using an international referee, confirm with them that they can provide a fax/email in English.


Make sure the font is clear and easy to read.

Use different font styles (eg bold, italic) for headings - sparingly.

Name your CV sensibly and professionally (e.g. firstname.lastname.doc) to distinguish it from the oft-used “mycv.doc”.