How do I write a CV?

This information is part of a guide to support Brighton’s international community. We hope it is helpful.

CV’s (curriculum Vitae) are very important. A good CV will get you a job quickly. If your CV is not very good, you could be searching for a job for a long time. It can be challenging to write a CV in your own country. If you are a member of Brighton’s international community and your English level is low, it can be a lot harder to write a CV. Try to get someone who is good at English to check your CV for you when you have finished it. If you study English on an English language course in Brighton, you could ask your teacher to look at it.

What is a CV?

A  curriculum vitae (CV) is a document for promoting yourself to potential employers. When you write a CV, should contain information about you, your employment history, your work experience, your achievements, qualifications and skills. It should tell an employer that you are the best candidate.

Include a well written cover letter with your CV and improve your chances of getting the job.

How to write a CV

There is no “perfect” CV because every CV should be different. A CV should contain information that demonstrates you are a strong candidate for the position you are applying for. The information should always be relevant to the job. However, the structure of different CVs is usually quite similar. You can find lots of free CV templates online, for example:

Information to put on every CV

Name and contact details

Put your name and contact details at the top right corner of the page. You do not need to write “CV” or “Curriculum vitae” at the top. Don’t waste space on your CV. Space, especially at the top of your CV, is valuable!

Your contact details should include your phone number and email address. It is a good idea to also add the name of the town or city you are living in at the moment.

Personal Profile

Next is your personal profile (sometimes called “Personal Statement”). This is the first section of your CV after your name and contact details because it is very important. This section shows an employer who they are hearing from.

You should change this part of your CV to be relevant to each job application. This paragraph needs to be short. Perhaps two or three short sentences are enough. It needs to show the employer that you have the qualities and skills to fit the job perfectly.

It should show you have a positive attitude, and should show what you can give the company.

Employment History and experience

Use this section to give information about jobs you have done in the past, including work experience and internships.

If your jobs were in your home country, try hard to translate them clearly into English. Some industries are structured differently in different countries. The jobs may have slightly different titles. There may not be a direct equivalent in England. Therefore, try to call the job by the most similar job title that is used in England. Otherwise, the employer might not understand.

 Always list your employment history in reverse chronological order when you write a CV. This is because your most recent job is the most relevant to an employer.

If you have a long list of jobs in your work history, try to give fewer details about the jobs that are not relevant to your application. Give more details about the jobs you think are relevant to the job you are applying for.

How to do it

For each job you must write the job (role) title, the employer, the dates you worked from and until, and an “outline” – a few words that summarise what you had to do.

Then list your key responsibilities with bullet points. If you want, you can also list any achievements with bullet points. Here is an imaginary example:


June 2016 – July 2018

Good Stuff, Brighton

Sales Assistant

Helping customers with their shopping experience

Key responsibilities


Opening the shop

Closing the shop

Stock taking

Receiving payments from customers


Key achievements/projects

Exceeded sales targets

Designed shop window display


Education and Qualifications

Always list your education and qualifications in reverse chronological order when you write a CV. This is because your most recent qualification is the most relevant to an employer.

The same as with job titles, if you achieved your qualifications in your home country, try hard to translate them clearly into English. Educational systems are structured differently in different countries.  There may not be a direct equivalent in England. The employer might not understand. This link might help you find the name of the equivalent qualification in England.

You could try contacting the institution that awarded you the qualification. They might be able to find out the English equivalent for you.

How to do it

For each institution write the name of the Educational institution, then the dates of the course, then the name of the qualifications and your grades.

For example:

Imaginary College Sept 2015 – June 2018

GCSE English Grade A


If you have a degree, you might want to list any modules that are relevant to the application below the qualification.

Hobbies and interests

Only add a hobbies and interests section if you believe you have hobbies and interest that might help show the employer that you are the right person for the job. Do not list irrelevant hobbies and interests. This can look very unprofessional. 


You don’t have to list references if you don’t want to, but you need to say “References available on request” at the bottom of the page to show the employer that you have a good history with your previous employers.

Good Luck!

This guide has shown you how to write a CV. There are other approaches but this is a very standard structure and should be appropriate for almost any job in England.

It is a bit time consuming to start with but when you have a CV it is easy to change and edit it to suit your next application. Good luck with the job hunting!

Images: Write a CV and find a great job

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