Writing a CV

Writing your personal statement

Your personal statement is useful for a CV, an application form or a covering letter. It is two or three positive sentences that sum up your qualities and main skills – in other words, the type of person you are.

  • Use only positive language
  • Include your strengths
  • Think about the aspects of your personality that will make you a good employee, e.g. hard working, good team member, paying attention to detail.
  • Reinforce your skills and experience.
  • Be honest – you should expect to talk in an interview about what you have written.


 Transferable skills

These are skills that you can use in lots of different jobs. Don’t forget that you can develop these sort of skills at school, college, training, work, university and in some of your free-time activities. Most employers will want their employees to have some skills such as these examples. If these terms help describe your skills, you can use them in your personal statement, CV or application form for work, learning or training.

  • Able to work without supervision
  • Able to work as part of the team
  • Written communication
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Planning and organising
  • Supervising and managing
  • Oral communication
  • Following instructions
  • Using a computer
  • Giving instructions
  • Handling money
  • Working with the public


 Writing a covering letter

This makes your application more personal. You can use it to highlight areas of your CV or application form that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. It should be no longer than a page of A4 paper.

Make sure you use correct spellings, use paragraphs and layout letter properly.

If you know the name of the person, start your letter ‘Dear Mr…’ or ‘Dear Ms…’ and end ‘Yours faithfully’.

If you have a named person to write to but cannot tell from the name whether this person is male or female, write at the top ‘For the attention of...’ and then begin your letter ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.

What to include in a covering letter:

  • Date
  • Your name and address
  • State the job you are applying for including any reference number
  • Include where you saw the job advert
  • Match the skills and experiences in the job advert to your own skills listed in your CV or application form
  • Be positive and enthusiastic
  • Highlight your transferable skills


 What to include in your CV

Your CV (Curriculum Vitae means ‘course of your life’) is a summary of your basic details, skills, experience, learning and qualifications. Check out our templates and see below what you need to include:

  • Name and contact details (including an e-mail address if you have one). It should be clear and well presented
  • Personal statement: a short paragraph which is a positive summary about you. Highlight your key strengths and qualities
  • Education, qualifications and training; put the most recent first
  • Your skills
  • Work experience: this might be paid, part-time, casual and voluntary. Include the employer, the dates, your position and duties
  • Additional information: anything else which shows you positively or any achievements
  • References

Top Tips

  • Your CV should ideally be no more than two sides of A4 paper.
  • It should be clear and well presented. Use clear headings and bullet points to make it easy for the employer to read.
  • Make sure it is typed with all spellings, punctuation and grammar correct. Proofread it and get it checked.
  • Be sure to check with people first before using their names as a reference.

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