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How to write a good CV in English? (Or in any language for that matter)

March 20, 2023

When you’re applying for a job, a great CV (curriculum vitae) (UK) or resume (USA) is essential.

A great CV is the key to landing your dream job, but writing one that stands out from the crowd can be challenging. Whether you’re a native English speaker or someone for whom English is a second language, it’s important to know what employers are looking for in a CV.

Read our following blog post to find out what to include and what to avoid for the best chance of getting an interview.


When you’re looking for work, you need an attractive, clear and memorable CV that shows your potential employer all the skills and experience you have for the job.

What should you include in a CV?

This article mainly focuses on writing a UK-style CV. If you’re applying for a job internationally, be aware that the standard length, format and tone can vary from country to country. It’s a good idea to check the expected format in the country or company you’re applying to.


Contact details

Make sure the potential employer has a way of contacting you. Include your full name, telephone number and email address.



In many countries, employers expect to see a professional-looking photo on a CV. In others, like the UK, Canada and the USA, the law prohibits employers from asking for a photo, and it is better not to include one. Try to find out if it is usual to include a photo in the working environment you’re applying to.



List and date the most important qualifications you have obtained, starting with the most recent. You can also include any professional qualifications you have.


Work experience

List and date the jobs you’ve had and the companies you’ve worked for, starting with the most recent. It’s usually enough to cover the last ten years of your work history. Include your job title, responsibilities and achievements in the job.

If you have a lot of work experience, give the job titles but be selective about which responsibilities and achievements you highlight. Reduce the detail about jobs that are less relevant to the role you’re applying for and draw attention to the most important experience you bring.



These could include the languages you speak, the computer programs you can use well, the class type of your driving licence and any other professional skills you might have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Eight useful tips

Before you start getting ready to list your qualifications and work experience, here are eight useful tips to think about :


1. Start with a clear and concise objective statement

Your objective statement is the first thing that employers will see when they look at your resume, so make sure it’s eye-catching and impactful. This statement should clearly articulate what you want to achieve with your next job and why you’re the right person for the position.


2. Keep it short … but not too short!

Employers receive many resumes, and they don’t have time to read a novel. Keep your resume to one or two pages, and use clear and concise language. Use bullet points to highlight your skills and accomplishments, and keep your sentences short and to the point.

If you find you’ve got too much information, summarise and select the most relevant points. If it’s shorter than a page, consider including more information about your skills and the responsibilities you had in your previous roles.


3. Use active verbs and focus on your accomplishments, not just your responsibilities

Employers want to see how you’ve made a positive impact in your previous roles, not just what you were responsible for. So, instead of listing your duties, focus on highlighting your accomplishments and the results you achieved. Use specific, quantifiable examples to demonstrate your achievements, such as, “Implemented a new sales strategy that increased sales by 25%

Use active verbs for a strong positive effect on the reader. For example, to make a change from “was responsible for”, use verbs like led or managed (a team / a project); created or developed (a product / a positive atmosphere); delivered (results/training); and provided (support/training).


4. Fill in the gaps

Avoid leaving gaps in your employment history. If you were travelling the world, on maternity/paternity leave or looking after small children, include that in your CV.


5. Make sure it’s up to date

Always ensure your CV is up to date. Include your most recent experience at the top of each section.


6. Don’t exaggerate or lie. (especially about your 2nd (or 3rd) language level)

Your potential employer can easily check information about where you have studied and worked and whether you speak a foreign language well, or not. Don’t be tempted to lie or exaggerate about your expertise, because sooner or later this will be discovered and may result in you losing the job.


7. Spend time on the layout

Make sure your CV is clear and easy to read. Use bullet points and appropriate spacing, keep your sentences short, line up your lists neatly and use a professional-looking font.


8. Include a cover letter

When you send your CV to apply for a job, you should send it with a cover letter or email to introduce your application. The cover letter should show your personal interest in the role, highlight the skills and experience you bring and encourage the employer to read the attached CV.


9. Use keywords relevant to the job and tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for

Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen CVs before they reach a human recruiter. These systems use keywords to determine if a CV is a good fit for the job. Make sure to research the job you’re applying for and include relevant keywords in your CV.

It’s tempting to use the same CV for every job you apply for, but that’s a mistake. Employers want to see that you’ve taken the time to understand their needs and have tailored your CV specifically for the position. Make sure to adjust your objective statement, highlight the most relevant skills and accomplishments, and use the language and tone that’s appropriate for the job.


10. Proofread

Be careful with spelling and grammatical errors. These can quickly turn off employers, so make sure to proofread your CV carefully. Ask a friend or family member to review it before you send it.

If you have translated it from your mother tongue into English, make sure you check those Google translated terms and vocabulary! Google isn´t always right.

Writing a good CV takes time and is hard work, but these tips and your effort will help you get the best possible start in your job search. And it will be worth it!

By focusing on your accomplishments, using keywords relevant to the job, tailoring your resume for each job, being concise and proofreading through what you’ve written, you’ll increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Good luck!


All the words in the Blog highlighted in RED are explained below :

essential (adj) – fundamental

to stand out (v) – to be easily noticeable

challenging (adj) – difficult to do

memorable (adj) – something you can´t forget

potential (adj) – having or showing capacity to develop into something in the future

aware (adj) – to be concious of the things around you

tone (n) – the general character or attitude of a pice of writing

to vary (v) – to differ in some way like size, amount or nature from something of the same general class

to prohibit – prohibits (v) – not to allow

achievements (n) – things done successfully with effort and skill

selective (adj) – choose carefully

highlight (n) – make visually prominent and draw attention to

relevant (adj) – that has meaning in one context

to draw attention to (v) – to make someone notice

eye-catching (adj) – immediately appealing to the eye

to articulate (v) – having the ability to speak fluently and coherently

accomplishments (n) – an activity that a person can do well

to summarise (v) – give a short statement of the main points

quantifiable (adj) – able to be expressed or measured as a quantity

maternity/paternity leave (n) – time parents are given without working to look after a newborn baby

to ensure (v) – make certain that something will occur

tempted (adj) – be persuaded to do something

expertise (adj) – expert skill or knowledge in a particular field

neatly (adj) – in a tidy way

to encourage (v) – to give support or confidence to someone

to tailor (v) – to make or adapt for a particular person or purpose

to screen (v) – to analyse for its suitability for a specific application or purpose

recruiter (n) – person who employs others

fit (n) – to be of a suitable quality or standard

to turn off (v) – to cause someone to feel bored or disgusted

to be worth it (v) – enjoyable or useful despite the fact you have to make an effort

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