Many of us are looking to land a job in the UK, but it can be tough to land one in today’s market
This guide contains an example British CV and plenty of tips on how to create your own winning CV, so you can stand out amongst the other candidates and get the job you want.
- British CV example
- Structuring and formatting your CV
- Writing your CV profile
- Detailing work experience
- Your education
British CV example
This CV example demonstrates the type of info you should be including within your British CV, as well as how to format and structure the information in a way which looks professional and is easy for time-strapped recruiters to read.
This is the look and feel you should be aiming for, so remember to refer back to it throughout your CV writing process.
British CV structure and format
Think your CV is just about the content within it? Think again.
Facilitate ease of reading by using a simple structure which allows anybody to easily navigate your experience.
- Length: While there’s no ‘official’ CV length rule, the majority of recruiters agree that less is more. Aim for two pages of A4 or less. This is just enough room to showcase your suitability to the role, without overwhelming recruiters with irrelevant or excessive content.
- Readability: By clearly formatting your section headings (bold, or a different colour font, do the trick) and breaking up big chunks of text into snappy bullet points, time-strapped recruiters will be able to skim through your CV with ease.
- Design: It’s generally best to stick to a simple CV design, as funky or elaborate designs rarely add any value to your application. A clear, modern font and a subtle colour scheme work perfectly and allow your skills, experience and achievements to speak for themselves.
- Avoid photos: Logos, profile photos or other images aren’t necessary and rarely add any value – save the space for written content, instead!
Structuring your CV
Divide your CV into the following major sections when writing it:
- Name and contact details – Head your CV with your name and contact details, to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you.
- CV profile – A brief paragraph which summarises your skills and experience and highlights why you’re a good match for the role.
- Core skills list – A snappy, bullet-pointed list of your most relevant skills.
- Work experience – A structured list of your work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Education – A summary of any relevant qualifications or professional training you’ve completed.
- Hobbies and interests – An optional section, which should only be used if your hobbies are relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.
Now I’ll guide you through exactly what you should include in each CV section.
CV Contact Details
Write your contact details in the top corner of your CV, so that they’re easy to find but don’t take up too much space.
You only need to list your basic details, such as:
- Mobile number
- Email address
- Location – Don’t list your full address. Your town or city, such as ‘Norwich’ or ‘Coventry’ is perfect.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Remember to update these before listing them on an application.
British CV Profile
Recruiters read through countless applications every day.
If they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they’ll simply move onto the next one.
This short and snappy summary sits at the top of your CV, and should give a high-level overview of why you’re a good match for the job.
This way, you can ensure that busy recruiters see your suitability from the outset, and so, feel your CV is worth their time.
Tips for creating an impactful CV profile:
- Keep it brief: When it comes to CV profile length, less is more, as recruiters are often time-strapped. Aim for around of 3-5 persuasive lines.
- Tailor it: Recruiters can spot a generic, mass-produced CV at a glance – and they certainly won’t be impressed! Before you write your profile (and CV as a whole), read through the job advert and make a list of any skills, knowledge and experience required. You should then incorporate your findings throughout your profile and the rest of your CV.
- Don’t add an objective: You only have a short space for your CV profile, so avoid writing down your career goals or objectives. If you think these will help your application, incorporate them into your cover letter instead.
- Avoid cliches: If there’s one thing that’ll annoy a recruiter, it’s a clichè-packed CV. Focus on showcasing your hard skills, experience and the results you’ve gained in previous roles, which will impress recruiters far more.
What to include in your British CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Start with a brief summary of your relevant experience so far. How many years experience do you have? What type of companies have you worked for? What industries/sectors have you worked in? What are your specialisms?
- Relevant skills: Make your most relevant key skills clear in your profile. These should be tailored to the specific role you’re applying for – so make sure to check the job description first, and aim to match their requirements as closely as you can.
- Essential qualifications: Be sure to outline your relevant British qualifications or overseas equivalents, so that anyone reading the CV can instantly see you are qualified for the jobs you are applying to.
Quick tip: Even the best of writers can overlook typos and spelling mistakes. Whilst writing your CV, use a free writing assistant tool, such as Grammarly, to help you avoid any silly errors.
Core skills section
In addition to your CV profile, your core skills section provides an easily digestible snapshot of your skills – perfect for grabbing the attention of busy hiring managers.
As British jobs might receive a huge pile of applications, this is a great way to stand out and show off your suitability for the role.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points and be made up of skills that are highly relevant to the jobs you are targeting.
Work experience/Career history
Recruiters will be itching to know more about your relevant experience by now.
Kick-start this section with your most recent (or current) position, and work your way backwards through your history.
You can include voluntary and freelance work, too – as long as you’re honest about the nature of the work.
Structuring your roles
Whilst writing your CV, it’s essential to look at it from the eyes of a recruiter.
If they’re met with giant blocks of text which are impossible to navigate, they might get frustrated and skip onto the next CV.
Instead, make use of the 3-step structure shown below, to give them a pleasant reading experience.
Start with a brief summary of your role as a whole, as well as the type of company you worked for.
Use bullet points to detail the key responsibilities of your role, highlighting hard skills, software and knowledge wherever you can.
Keep them short and sharp to make them easily digestible by readers.
Finish off by showcasing 1-3 key achievements made within the role.
This could be anything that had a positive effect on your company, clients or customers, such as saving time or money, receiving exemplary feedback or receiving an award.
Next up, you should list your education and qualifications.
This can include your formal qualifications (a degree, A-Levels and GCSEs), as well as sector-specific British qualifications and/or training.
While school leavers and recent grads should include a lot of detail here to make up for the lack of work experience, experienced candidates may benefit from a shorter education section, as your work experience section will be more important to recruiters.
Interests and hobbies
The hobbies and interests CV section isn’t mandatory, so don’t worry if you’re out of room by this point.
However, if you have an interesting hobby, or an interest that could make you seem more suitable for the role, then certainly think about adding.
Be careful what you include though… Only consider hobbies that exhibit skills that are required for roles as a British, or transferable workplace skills.
There is never any need to tell employers that you like to watch TV and eat out.
Writing your British CV
A strong, compelling CV is essential to get noticed and land interviews with the best employers.
To ensure your CV stands out from the competition, make sure to tailor it to your target role and pack it with sector-specific skills and results.
Remember to triple-check for spelling and grammar errors before hitting send.
Good luck with the job search!