How to get started on your Curriculum Vitae

By Neil Dickins


Writing a CV may sound easy enough in principle, but it is in fact stressful and can give rise to a lot of soul searching.

So give yourself lots of time and avoid procrastination! The person making a judgment about you may receive a large number of CVs and have very little time to read them, so use headings and spacing to make your CV easy to read. Bear in mind that you are in a competitive situation, therefore you must stand out from other candidates – be specific, highlight achievements, and make sure that your key technical skills are clear to the reader. Include the most important info on page 1.

So how long a CV should be? there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (for example, a graduate would have a shorter CV than someone with 15 years experience). Get the right balance – a CV must cover the salient points and provide a clear snapshot of you, without becoming too long and detailed. A good general rule is to aim for 2-3 pages, with 1 as an absolute min. and 4 or 5 as a max. 


  1. Give yourself lots of time
  2. Edit, edit edit
  3. Aim for 2-3 pages
  4. Never say anything on a CV that you can’t support.
  5. Don’t try to be clever or funny – let your sense of humour shine through at the interview!
  6. Triple check your spelling and grammar.

CVs are, ultimately, personal creations – therefore, by all means, follow these guidelines, but do not let them stop you from emphasising your strengths and achievements.

Download our example CV or discover how to create the perfect CV.

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