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CVs and applications

We can help you improve your chances of getting that interview.

CVs and applications

Navigate through the drop-down tabs below for our templates, examples and top tips for CVs and job applications.

For more advice, you can contact the Employment and Skills Team on 0800 111 4013, or by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.

Standard CV guidance

Keep your CV relevant and to the point. Think 'TCP':

  1. T is for Target
    Always bear in mind what the job, the company and the reader need from you – check the job advert and see if you can get hold of the job description and person specification.
  2. C is for Content
    Sticking to point one will keep your CV relevant. Write about what’s important to that job in that company. Be prepared to re-write your CV for every job you apply for.
  3. P is for Presentation
    Use clear headings, bullet points and plenty of space between sections to make it easy to read. It’s better to spread your CV over two pages than cram it into one.
  4. Summarise
    Put a bullet-point summary of your skills and experience at the top of your CV, under your contact details – the reader will see this first and want to read more.
  5. Leave it out
    Nowadays, you don’t need to include your age, date of birth, nationality, national insurance number, marital status, level of health or care commitments. You don’t need to include any exam failures. Hobbies and interests can be left out to save you space, unless they're relevant - see point one again! And you don't need to give your full postal address - just your town/city is enough.

Download our CV template here.

Please click here to download our example of a strong CV with dates.

CVs - returning to the job market

As a returner to the job market, you have a lot to offer employers.

  1. Check out our standard guidance for CVs
    This'll give you a good overview of how to lay out your CV.
  2. Leave out specific dates
    Instead, state the length of time you were in previous jobs.
  3. Be positive
    Your experiences both in employment and elsewhere are all valuable. Focus on what you have learned and can do, not what you think is missing.
  4. Use your hobbies and interests
    There may be things you do in your spare time that give you transferable skills, e.g. helping a neighbour, taking part in local community activities etc.
  5. You're in charge
    Remember: you control the information in your CV and how it's presented. No one is expecting you to say anything you're not happy with.

Download our CV template here.


Click here to download our example of a strong CV without dates.

Application forms
  1. Do a rough draft first
    That way you can check and correct mistakes before uploading/writing out in neat.
  2. Follow the instructions carefully
    This shows you’re paying attention to detail and helps the employer to assess you more easily.
  3. Keep it relevant
    Try to provide as much information on every aspect of the person specification as you can.
  4. Fill in all the boxes
    If a question doesn’t apply to you, write ‘N/A’ to show the reader you haven’t ignored the question.
  5. Keep a copy of your application
    You'll need this when preparing for your interview.
Cover letters

When you send an employer your CV, include a short email/letter to improve your chances of getting a positive response. Four simple paragraphs will make a good impact:

  1. Introduce
    Briefly say why you're sending your CV and include the job title and reference number. If sending your CV by email, mention these in the subject line as well.
  2. Draw attention
    Tell the employer about the skills and experience in your CV that you believe make you a good match for the job. They’re then more likely to look at your CV.
  3. Make it personal
    Tell them why you're interested in working for their business. For example, you could refer to something you've seen on their website or tell them about your own personal experience as a customer of theirs.
  4. Invite
    Tell them you look forward to hearing from them and give them your contact number.
  5. Then remember…
    Make sure you attach/enclose your CV!

Download our example of a cover email here.

Get in touch

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