Careers Service



Get Started

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 CV that will stand out to employers.

5 steps to make your CV stand out 

1. Make it relevant

Sending the same CV to all employers doesn’t work. Instead, use the job description and person specification to help you understand the role and identify the skills and experience the recruiter is looking for. You can then tailor your CV, using specific examples to show how your experience relates to the role.

Your examples could come from a range of contexts such as:

  • your studies
  • work experience
  • part-time jobs
  • extra-curricular activities, such as volunteering or peer mentoring
  • hobbies and interests 

If the job description isn’t very detailed or you’re sending a CV speculatively (when you contact an employer directly to ask about opportunities), you may not have information on the skills the employer is seeking. To help with this, use the skills listed in the job profiles on the Prospects website as a guide.

These links also have advice on the skills employers look for, and how to demonstrate them:

2. Emphasise your results rather than responsibilities 

Instead of just listing your tasks/responsibilities, make your CV stand out by highlighting any key achievements or positive impact you made. Try to quantify these where possible, for example, if you fundraised for a society, you could include how much money you raised. You could also include any excellent academic results for modules/assignments in your Education section.

Using strong action verbs such as ‘managed’, ‘implemented’, ‘co-ordinated’, ‘achieved’ will give your CV additional impact. You can find more action verbs on our CVs & Covering Letters workbook below.

3. Choose your format

Think about how you’ll arrange your experience, skills and achievements to make it easy for a recruiter to scan through quickly and pick out your key points.

Types of CV formats:

Chronological CV – lists your education and experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. This is the most common style of CV and is more suited to new graduates. It's also generally preferred by employers as it’s easy to skim through and pick out the information they need

Skills-based (or functional) CV– can be useful when your degree subject and work experience are not related to the role and you want to show that you have relevant transferable skills. You need to have a very clear understanding of what the employer is looking for and be able to provide evidence through examples.

They can be useful for experienced graduates who want to change career direction, but for new graduates, we'd suggest a chronological CV rather than a skills-based one.

targetjobs has additional advice on whether a chronological or skills-based CV is right for you.

Academic CV - use this style to apply for academic jobs such as a postdoctoral position or lectureship. It’s usually built around three areas:

  • your research
  • teaching
  • administrative experience

It can also include publications and conferences you’ve attended. 

Checklist for a professional CV format 
  • Choose a clear, readable CV font, eg Arial, with a minimum font size of 11 for your main content
  • Add the most relevant information first. Recruiters often scan through CVs quickly before deciding to read more thoroughly or reject, so the order’s important. Based on what you know about the job, start with what’s most relevant, for example, your degree, work experience or voluntary work
  • Use bullet points to break up the text, rather than writing in block paragraphs and start each point with a strong action verb
  • List each section in reverse chronological order, to show your most recent education, work experience and achievements first
  • Ensure your CV is the right length – usually no more than 2 pages, though if you’re applying for academic positions, eg postdoctoral roles, your CV can be longer. If you're applying for a role in investment banking, a one-page CV is standard - see eFinancial Careers for advice on the perfect investment banking CV.
  • Different countries have different CV formats. GoinGlobal has advice on CVs for specific countries in their country guides.

4. Check your spelling

Check your CV carefully to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. Read it out loud to yourself, use the spelling and grammar tool in Word, or try an online resource such as Grammarly. You could also ask a friend to proofread it for you.

You can find online resources to help you use grammar and punctuation correctly on the Academic Skills Kit (ASK) website. If you're an international student and would like some support with your written English, you can access the In-Sessional English Language programme.

5. Include a covering letter 

Unless it says specifically not to, always include a covering letter. This gives you the chance to highlight the important parts of your CV and your motivation for applying. 

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)

To view with subtitles, click the subtitle/closed caption button on the player.

Example CVs

Looking at example CVs can help you think about structure, content and how to demonstrate your skills. You can compare your own draft and see if there’s anything you need to add or improve.

We've created some example CVs in different formats for graduate and part-time jobs below, including some sector-specific CVs.

Chronological CV

Chronological CVs list your education and experience in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent and working backwards. This is the most common style of CV and is more suited to new graduates. It's also generally preferred by employers.

Skills-based CV

Skills-based CVs can be useful when your degree subject and work experience are not related to the role and you want to show that you have relevant transferable skills. They can be useful for experienced graduates who want to change career direction, but for new graduates, we'd usually suggest a chronological CV rather than a skills-based one. 

Part-time job CV 

Depending on what you're applying for, you would typically add any work experience before your education in a part-time job CV.

Sector-specific CVs 

Our example CVs below aim to give you an idea of the type of content you can include when applying for specific sectors. They also include top tips to help you strengthen your CV.  For format and structure, have a look at our examples above, eg chronological CV.

We've used Microsoft Sway, which lets you turn on Accessibility view. This offers a high-contrast style, disables animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers. 

If you need any resources in an alternative format, or any other adjustments to support accessibility, please contact us. You can also convert documents into formats that work better for you using SensusAccess.  

You can find more CV templates and advice for various sectors, including IT, media & journalism, investment banking and engineering, on targetjobs: CVs, applications and tests.

Go to Academic Researchers for information and advice on CVs for academia.



Get Feedback

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


Our online AI-generated checker, CareerSet gives you instant 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.

You can access CareerSet directly or via the CV and Covering Letter Pathway.

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 use CareerSet:

  1.  To access CareerSet, you will need to accept their privacy policy and terms of use.


    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’ll need our Newcastle University graduate voucher code. The voucher code is listed in the CV and Covering Letter Pathway and on the graduate homepage of MyCareer.

    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 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 in-person or online 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
  • don’t have much work experience to add to your CV – book an 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
  • want to discuss how to include reasonable adjustments/extenuating circumstances on your CV 

Feedback from a CV adviser

Before booking a CV appointment or sending us your CV for feedback, you need to first complete the CV and Covering Letter Pathway on MyCareer, including uploading your CV to CareerSet. Once you have completed the Pathway and made any changes suggested by CareerSet, you can then receive 1:1 feedback from a CV adviser. 

To book an in-person or online CV appointment, log into MyCareer and click on the button below. 

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 Queries/CV in MyCareer (top right hand corner) to submit your query and CV.

Academic Researchers

Academic CVs focus on academic achievements, research interests and specialist skills. If you're an aspiring lecturer or researcher then this type of CV is for you.

The following links provide advice on writing CVs for academia:

Guide to CVs for academic researchers

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).