It can sometimes be hard to know where to begin when you’re writing your CV and increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd in a competitive jobs market. Whether you’re a new graduate putting together your first CV, or an experienced professional thinking about making a move after many years in a role, follow our guide to creating a strong CV that you can feel confident about.
Your CV is the first thing an employer will judge you on, so make sure it showcases all your relevant skills and experience in the clearest and best possible way. Begin by assembling the facts and chronologically listing the information you need to include in your CV. You won’t get it perfect the first time but you can improve and add to your CV over time.
What details should I include in my CV?
This is your chance to grab the reader’s initial attention, so this section should use short sentences and be around 60 - 70 words. This section should highlight key aspects of your CV such as your key skills, job roles and achievements. You may also use this section to briefly outline your career aims and reasons for seeking a new role.
List all work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your current or last position.
Provide brief details of the companies you've worked for i.e. the name and type of business plus turnover.
State the dates of employment and include details of your key responsibilities and key achievements within the role.
Ensure the detail is factual and quantitative. Future employers want concise and informative information that sells your skills to them.
In reverse chronological order list:
Any professional qualifications achieved, including any you’re currently studying
Your university, course & degree gained (if applicable)
Your secondary and further education including A-Levels, GCSEs/O Levels and grades obtained
Detail all the systems in which you're literate or have used previously i.e. Word; Excel; SAP; Photoshop; etc. State your proficiency in each honestly.
List any foreign languages along with your proficiency at each as either Basic, Conversational or Fluent.
Hobbies and Interests
Listing interests and hobbies provides a more personal profile for employers and helps to present you as a rounded individual.
It is up to you whether you include referee’s details in your CV or prefer not to disclose them at this stage. If you do decide to include these, detail the following information:
Position and relationship to you i.e. ‘previous line manager’
Make your CV look professional: write it in MS Word and focus on clear, consistent formatting.
Don't have unexplained gaps if you have been travelling or unemployed - include the details. Time out is often a good discussion point at interview.
Be concise: your CV should ideally be about 2 pages.
Short paragraphs and bullet points look neat and make the CV easy to read
In January 2017 Quest, in partnership with Retail Gazette, launched the most comprehensive salary review of retail professionals in the UK. Over 500 UK retail professionals were surveyed and their opinions and answers form the basis of the report alongside insights from our experienced consultants. We would like to thank everyone that took part in the survey and made this report possible. Initial findings show that despite all the uncertainty in the past year most retail professionals are sat... Read more.