Careers Service

CVs

CVs

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The purpose of a CV is to tell a recruiter all about you, your skills and experience – and hopefully persuade them to invite you to interview. It’s often the first opportunity you have to make an impression. Read on for our tips on writing a good CV.

Five key principles

There's no right or wrong way to write a CV, but always remember to tailor it to the role you're applying for. If you apply the principles below, you will be able to write a CV for any purpose.

1. Relevance

Find out what the role involves and show how your knowledge, experience and skills are relevant.

2. Order

Put your most relevant information first and give it the most space. Based on what you know about the job, decide what is most relevant, for example, your degree, work experience or voluntary work.

3. Format

Aim for a professional-looking CV. This means it should:

  • be consistent in layout
  • have a good balance of text and space
  • have careful use of italics, bold and underlining
  • be printed on good quality paper (if posting)

4. Attention to detail

Spelling and grammar must be correct. Check it over carefully. If you're unsure, get someone to help you.

5. Letter

Always include a covering letter, unless you are asked not to. It introduces you and lets you highlight the important parts of your CV and your reasons for applying.

Watch the Careers Service's online Masterclass presentation: 'CV Writing: Where to start' (11:24)

To view the presentation with subtitles, click the subtitle/closed caption button in the player below. You can also view a full screen version.

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Get Feedback

Find out how the Careers Service can help you write a winning CV.

We have two ways to help you get feedback and support with your CV:

We recommend that you use CareerSet first, to get instant feedback on your CV and advice on how you can develop it further. Once you've updated your CV, book an online CV appointment or submit your CV via MyCareer to help you strengthen it further and answer any questions you might have.

*Graduates will only be able to access CareerSet while your Newcastle email is still valid (up to 7 months after graduation), but you can still access 1:1 feedback with a CV adviser for up to 3 years after graduation. 

CareerSet

Upload a pdf copy of your CV to CareerSet to get instant AI-generated feedback 24/7.

CareerSet scores your CV on key skills that recruiters look for, focusing on impact, brevity and style. You can use the feedback to edit your CV and re-submit it to CareerSet as many times as you like. You can also match your CV with a job description, to help you tailor it to a specific role.

After using CareerSet, we recommend you book an online CV appointment or send your CV to us for written feedback via MyCareer, to help you refine your CV further. You don’t need to have achieved a specific score on CareerSet to be able to do this.

CareerSet can only provide feedback on chronological CVs – for other styles (such as skills-based), please book an appointment or submit your CV as above.

If you would like any of the content in an accessible format, you can request this from CareerSet – see More> Accessibility for details.

How to access CareerSet:

  1. Log into CareerSet with your Newcastle University email address to get an authentication link – this will log you in for the duration of one session. Your account is created on your first login – to access CareerSet, you will need to accept their privacy policy and terms of use.

    The Careers Service will have access to your scores and feedback reports to help us develop further support and advice, but your CV is not stored in CareerSet. All information is in line with the University’s data protection policy.

  2. Click on Score My CV and upload your CV to get your feedback report – this takes about 30 seconds. Your CV must be in PDF format. If you need help with this, see how to convert a Word document to PDF.

  3. Review your score and work your way through the feedback and tips to help you improve your CV. For the first time you use it, click on ‘Show me around’ for a full tour of the report. There’s no such thing as a perfect CV, so you don’t need to try to get to 100%! We’d suggest aiming for a score above 70%, but if you’re struggling to reach that, don’t worry – you can book an online CV appointment to get help from a CV adviser.

  4. You can then upload your CV again to see if you’ve improved your score. 

Target your CV 

If you’re applying for a specific role, you can add a job/placement description to CareerSet to see how well your CV matches it, based on the keywords and skills required.

Click on Target My CV (on the dashboard or in the left-hand menu on your report) to upload or copy the text to get your relevancy score and advice on how to improve this.

You can also get help from our CV advisers. Share the job description during your online appointment or upload it with your CV to MyCareer for advice on how to tailor your CV to the role. 


What CareerSet can’t do 

CareerSet is a valuable tool for getting feedback on your CV, but there are certain things it can’t do. Instead, you can book an online 1:1 appointment or submit a query via MyCareer if you:

  • have a CV in a different format, eg skills-based, academic, Europass, or a more creative CV. CareerSet only checks chronological CVs 
  • would like feedback on a covering letter, application form or LinkedIn profile
  • don’t have much work experience to add to your CV – book an online information appointment for ideas of how to find relevant opportunities and develop your skills.
  • are applying for opportunities overseas - CareerSet focuses on what UK employers look for. See Other Countries or book an online CV appointment for more advice
  • want to discuss how to include reasonable adjustments/extenuating circumstances on your CV 

Feedback from a CV adviser

Get 1:1 feedback on your CV through our online CV appointments. Log into MyCareer and click on 'Book', then 'Appointments' to chat to a CV adviser at a time that suits you.

You can also send your CV (preferably in MS Word) to us for written feedback - this can take up to 5 working days. Click on Resources in MyCareer (top right hand corner) to submit your query and CV. 

Examples

We have produced some examples of different types of CVs to help you think about content, layout and how to demonstrate your skills.

Sector-specific CVs 

You can also find examples of CVs for various sectors, including law and engineering, on TARGETjobs: example CVs and job hunting tools.

Go to Specific Sectors for information and advice on CVs for law, investment banking, science and academia.

 

 

Specific Sectors

Some sectors, like law, investment banking and academia have specific requirements for CVs.

Legal CVs 

For information and advice on applying for jobs in the legal sector, including work experience, training and employers, see our Sector-specific information.

TARGETjobs' Law solicitors page includes tips on what employers are looking for in candidates and advice for successful applications. See also ten ways to get your legal CV noticed and example CVs for vacation schemes.

Assess your application strengths and weaknesses on Lawcareers.net's website

AllAboutLaw.co.uk has advice on law CVs includes a law CV template.

TARGETjobs Law barristers section has advice on applications and CVs for pupillages and what recruiters expect from applicants.

Investment banking CVs

Recruiters tend to prefer a one-page CV for investment banking roles. efinancial Careers has advice on the perfect investment banking CV

Scientific CVs

See the Society of Biology's next steps: options after a bioscience degree for advice on writing CVs and how to demonstrate your skills. 

Architecture CVs

See our Architecture, Planning and Landscape: Applications for information about creating CVs, portfolios and what to expect at interviews. 

Postgraduate and academic CVs

We've created a guide to CVs for academic researchers below, for applying to academic positions. You can also access our accessible version of the Guide to CVs for Academic Researchers (PDF: 376KB).

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The following links also provide advice on writing CVs for postgraduate study and academia:

Other Countries

Different countries have different CV formats. It's important to find out what's required for the country you're interested in. Here we've shared links to information about writing CVs for jobs in some different countries.

Worldwide

You can find advice on CVs/resumes and covering letters for a wide range of countries at GoinGlobal (University login required off campus).

See also TARGETjobs country profiles for advice on applying for jobs overseas.

For useful phrases for CVs and covering letters in 14 different languages, visit bab.la.

Europe

GoinGlobal has tips on writing a CV and covering letter for several European countries, including France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

The Europass CV (a standardised CV template) is used by some countries in the EU, though not all. For more information, visit the Europa.eu website

Asia

GradMalaysia and GradSingapore provide useful advice on applications and CVs.

USA

For an overview of US resumes and CVs with examples for different sectors, see Columbia University Center for Career Education's information about resumes and CVs.

Australia and New Zealand

The following links contain further information about job applications in Australia and New Zealand:

More Help

The Careers Service provides advice and resources to help you create your CV. There are also a range of useful websites that provide further advice.

CV Feedback

The Careers Service can provide feedback on CVs through online CV appointments. Log into MyCareer and click on 'Book', then 'Appointments' to choose a time to suit you. You can also send your CV to us for written feedback - this can take up to 5 working days. Click on Resources in MyCareer (top right hand corner) to submit your query and CV. 

‘How to write your CV' workshop

Attend our careers workshop, ‘How to write your CV’. For dates and times, see our Events section.

CVs and Covering Letters workbook

For more advice on writing CVs and covering letters, see our CVs and Covering Letters workbook below. You can also access our accessible version CVs and Covering Letters Workbook (PDF: 116KB)

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External resources

You can find advice from professionals (often recruiters) at Guardian Careers: CV.

The following links provide further information about CVs: