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Writing your first CV

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over 4 years ago

by Robyn Warwick

Writing your first CV

When we were more able to get to talk to groups face-to-face, the Sarah West Recruitment team supported The National Citizen Service’s (NCS) programme, delivering a session to around 250 16 and 17-year-olds on Employability Skills. We covered topics such as how to put a CV together and practical sessions looking at examples of good vs not so good CV’s.

​How to put your first CV together sparked a lot of questions, so here are some of our hints and tips when you're staring at a blank piece of paper, not quite knowing where to start!

Some do’s and don’ts:


​Keep it simple, easy to read and in sections e.g. your contact details, a short profile, employment history, education and hobbies and interests. There are lots of free templates you can use to help you get started – we think Canva has a great selection! Don’t be afraid of leaving some white spaces, you don’t have to fill a page with words for the sake of it.

Show off your personality

​Keep it professional but don’t be afraid to let ‘you’ shine through. A good starting point is to write how you’d speak.

Use a professional font

​Our favourites are Calibri or Arial as we find those the easiest to read. Maybe it's just our team, however we're not a big fan of Times New Roman.


​One of our pet hates? Seeing the word ‘roll’ instead of ‘role’. We totally get that you can become word-blind so make use of spellcheckers and get someone else to have a read through too.

Hobbies and interests

​Make the most of this section as this is what can set you apart from ‘everyone else’. Do you do any voluntary work, are you part of a team, do you do any sports? What’s been your biggest achievement?


​No photos please!


​Unless you’re applying for a job that’s looking for particular skills e.g. Programming languages, your best bet is to use plain English. Avoid words that the reader potentially won’t understand.

Irrelevant information

​There’s no need to include information that’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for – we’re talking particularly about personal information such as if you’re in a relationship or what pets you have.

Shout about positions of responsibility

​Have you been given extra responsibilities at school? Have you been a prefect or helped out with younger people at school? You might not think it’s important to shout them but do!

Contact details

​It might sound obvious but you'll be surprised at how many CVs we get with no email address or phone number which can mean it's pretty tricky to get in touch.

​Below is a sample CV we’ve put together – it’s a template adapted from the selection on Canva.


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