Careers and Employability Centre

CVs

A CV sets out the skills, experience and knowledge you have that will enable you to perform well in a job, course, or other opportunity. It is a crucial opportunity to market yourself by showing how you meet the reader’s requirements and getting them interested in interviewing you.

There are three main types of CV:

  • Chronological – education, work experience and other major activities are listed in date order. This is the most popular style of CV for new graduates.  
  • Skills – this type of CV centres on a list of the main skills you have to offer the role, with examples of when you have demonstrated them.
  • Academic – for academic careers, CVs tend to be much longer, with details of research carried out, and lists of publications, conferences attended, etc.

LinkedIn works as an online CV. See our social media page for advice on how to make the most of it.

A chronological CV usually contains the following sections:

Name and contact details
  • Use the name you are known by in a work context.
  • Give your university address if you are applying for work in Brighton. Use your home address if it is closer to the opportunity – it can help show a local connection.
  • List one phone number, ideally your mobile number.
  • Using your personal email address has the avantage of not expiring when you leave Sussex. Be sure to use an email address that is professional and is a variant of your name.
  • Depending on the role, it can be a good idea to provide links to your social media accounts ie. LinkedIn and Twitter, or any blogs you regularly update.
Personal profile
  • Your personal profile introduces you to the reader and encourages them to read the rest of your CV.
  • Be brief and informative, stating where you are in your career, the type of role you are seeking, and what skills and experience you can offer.
Education
  • List your education in reverse chronological order from your most recent course back to GCSE level (or equivalent).
  • Give the start and finish dates, title of the course, and name of the institution, followed by the result if known.
  • If relevant, you can give more details about your degree, such as a selection of the modules studied; a brief description of your dissertation; transferable skills which you gained during the course.
Work experience
  • You can include any type of work, including part-time, temporary, and voluntary experience.
  • Give details in reverse chronological order with dates, job title, name of employer.
Skills
  • This section is a main part of a skills CV and would usually replace the Work experience section.
  • Make sure that the skills you highlight reflect the skills required for the job.
  • Be specific when writing about your skills e.g. Excel – able to create pivot tables and design charts.
  • See our Skills page for help with identifying and evidencing your skills.
Activities/interests
  • Mention any significant activities and specify your level of involvement e.g. student societies which you help to run.
Referees
  • It is perfectly acceptable to write ‘Details of referees are available on request’.
  • If you are asked to provide referees’ details, it is usual to give two: one from your current or most recent course ie. your Academic Adviser, and one from a current or recent employer if possible.

Tips

  • Keep your CV to one or two pages unless you are writing an academic CV.
  • Use bullet points to summarise your skills and experience.
  • Write clearly and use active language.
  • Use a conventional font ie. Arial, Calibri or Helvetica, in at least 11pts.
  • Think about design – use lines, bold and underline to emphasise and separate information.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Got your CV ready? Don't forget to send a covering letter with it!
  • Waiting to hear back about your application? It may take 1-4 weeks to receive an invitation to interview.
  • If you haven't been successful, you can ask for feedback on your application, which will help when you come to make future applications.

How to use us

  1. Come to a CV workshop

     

  2. Use our resources and create your CV
  3. Get CV feedback. Make an appointment or submit online via Ask a Question

Presentation slides on writing effective CVs