The UK CV Writing Guide

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in the UK needs more than just the obvious the UK cover letter and UK CV writing and translation – it requires methodical preparation. You will be confronted with problems that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in the UK jobs.

Do not underestimate the influence the UK CV can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.

A CV is similar to a resume in that it provides more details about one’s professional qualifications, experience and education. However, the term "Curriculum Vitae" most often called CV, typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one distribute the CV within the US, Canada or internationally (external to the US or Canada) or is seeking a faculty, academic, research, clinical or scientific position.

You can turn your current resume into a CV. A CV is similar to a resume in that it outlines your professional qualifications and history, but it does so with more detail by adding to the resume the detailed descriptions of your educational and/or professional experiences and personal information that may include nationality, date of birth, marital status, photograph, etc.

However, the term "Curriculum Vitae" most often called CV, typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one distribute the CV within the US, Canada or internationally (external to the US or Canada) or is seeking a faculty, academic, research, clinical or scientific position.

art tip UK CVIn recent years it become increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or XING social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with current CV. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the CV you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your CV.
However, you should manage your online presence. You should eliminate any photos that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. Online CVs should not include sensitive information as they could show lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.

The aim of your UK CV should be to persuade recruiters to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your CV is a marketing tool, which should be adapted to the market in which you intend to use it. Use power words and action verbs to describe your achievements, such as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated etc. Bullet point these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact. Scanners that are programmed to select specific words notice these keywords.

Prepare yourself - before writing your  UK CV research the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your CV more effectively to each specific job and use of proper examples illustrating your achievements.

For the format of your CV choose either a reversed chronological CV - most recent activity first or a functional CV - activities grouped thematically. The functional CV is getting more popular, since it allows you to strengthen certain skills and experience, and “gaps” in your CV are less obvious.

art_tip UK CVThe brief one or maximum two page CV, giving only the facts and figures, is usually all what UK employers expect to see. However, the order in which your data are listed is important. Your UK CV should contain “Personal Details”, “Education”, “Language Proficiency”, “Work Experience” and “Leisure Activities” sections.

Start your UK CV with “Personal Details” and list your name, address, contact information, birth date, marital status and nationality. Often CVs are kept on file for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code, is most important one. Employers are not allowed to discriminate, so by putting date of birth and nationality details down saves them having to ask you.

The next section is “Education”. Starting from most recent first, list with dates only the academic centers where a qualification was earned, areas of study and diplomas/degrees. A-Level can be listed; the grades do not have to be included. Mention additional courses and training, and special skills such as computer programs in which you are proficient.

In “Language Proficiency”, list your foreign language fluency skills with reference to the spoken and written levels.

Begin “Work Experience” by describing your current position. For each position, provide starting and leaving dates, the name, location and focus of each company. Include concise details of what the job entailed your title and responsibilities. Make your CV more effective; provide examples that fit the job, to illustrate your achievements.

Make your UK CV more effective and emphasize what you have to offer to the employer. Use power words and action verbs to describe your achievements, such as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated, etc. Bullet point these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

If there are any time gaps between employments explain what you were doing in that time, for example raveling, at college, carrying out charity fund raising work.

Your “Leisure Activities”, hobbies, sports and interests can give an insight into your personality. Consider carefully what you are putting down and its implications. Team events indicate that you are a team player, other activities such as Scouting, show commitment and the fact you are not adverse to a challenge. If you like reading say whom you favorite author is.

Carefully consider what to leave out of your CV and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you. Legally job recruiters are not allowed to discriminate; they must select candidates based on equal opportunity for all, regardless of age, ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation.

art_tip UK CVYou may close your CV with “References are available on request”. However, it is best to avoid putting references on your CV unless you have been specifically asked to provide them. Employers usually ask for references when they actually need them. This is strong indication that an employer is interested in you.

If requested, give the contact details of two references, including they titles, names, addresses and telephones, at the end of the CV. Inform these people in advance, because references are usually verified.

Many British employers prefer an American-style resume instead of a common CV.

It is more common in the UK to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic CV does not look the same as a standard one. Employers often scan CVs, so make your CV scannable by avoiding for example lines or italic fonts etc.


Check the spelling and grammar of your UK CV. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your CV, send it to a professional for assistance.

art_remember UK CVRemember that your UK CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have a difficulty with your CV writing, instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use:

art_tip UK CV

We recommend that you send your CV together with a cover letter. If you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing use:

Other UK CV Info

If your UK cover letter and UK CV are ready, distribute them through the job search services to your prospective employers. When your UK job search have been successful apply for the UK visa with UK work permit and start preparing for the UK job interview.

Check the job interview tips do's and don'ts, and find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your UK CV!

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