Build a winning CV

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An introduction to the Curriculum Vitae.

A CV, or curriculum vitae, is Latin for “course of life”. When applying for jobs, the CV will be the first thing that your prospective employer will see and it’s important that you make a great first impression. This course will explain the structure of a CV, and what you can do to stand out against the other candidates.

How are CVs structured?

Your CV should have four components, which are outlined below:

  • Executive Summary. Provide a brief description of who you are, your background, and specialities.
  • Timeline. Provide details of your previous employment history. Start with your recent positions first, and then list your previous five positions.
  • Education. State the education that you have received, and include the grades you attained.
  • Hobbies. List any hobbies that you have. Be sure to use this category as a method of conveying your personality.

Executive Summary.

The executive summary section should be included at the top of your CV. Use this section to outline who you are, the position you are applying for, and your current work experience.

For example: “I’m a highly motivated sales manager, with a willingness to set -and exceed- ambitious targets. I work well in a team, and I thrive when leading a team towards a common objective. I’ve worked in sales for five years and I am passionate about customer service.”


Your timeline should list your employment history. Start by listing your most recent positions, and then list previous jobs that you’ve had. For example:

June 2018 – April 2019 – Sales Manager, Thomas Tunnock.

I managed a team of sales representatives for Tunnock’s between 2018 and 2019. I was responsible for setting sales targets, performance management, and team management. I achieved 20% sales growth month on month throughout my time at Thomas Tunnock.

May 2013 – May 2018Sales representative, Thomas Tunnock Ltd.

I worked within a sales team to grow Tunnock’s client base in Manchester. I achieved 10% sales growth year on year, and won the company’s top salesperson award twice in a row.

Writing a powerful CV.

Your CV is the first thing that employers will see, and it’s crucial that you make a great first impression.

This video outlines the steps you’ll need to take when building your CV, and how you can make your CV stand out.


This section is included after the timeline section. Here, you’ll need to list what qualifications you have attained, the school/college/university you attended, the grades you achieved, and when you graduated. For example:

Degree in Business with Marketing (Hons), The University of Strathclyde.

Grade: 2,1.

Graduation month: June 2019.

CV Design.

A job opening can gather hundreds of applications, and recruiters don’t have the time to read through every application they receive. The design of your CV can help (or hinder) your chances of getting noticed.

Eye tracking software has been used to reveal what employers look at on CVs. The areas highlighted in red receive the most attention from employers. Typically, employers will look at your name and your most recent experience first.

Each CV is given a brief glance by the recruiter, and a shortlist of the top CVs is created. Therefore, you should ensure that your CV is well structured and easy to read.



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