Your curriculum vitae

More commonly known as a CV, a curriculum vitae is one of the main things that employers will base their decision on. 

A CV should be a concise summary of your work and educational history, as well as your main skills and a little about you. For most people who are in their early career, a CV should be one page, and those with more experience may need two pages.

When sending a CV as a digital file, whether by email or as part of an online application, include your name and surname in the file title, rather than just ‘CV’, to ensure that your application can easily be filed and used by the employer.

A CV should contain the following: 

Your Contact Details  

Here add your full name, phone number, and email. You can also add a link to your LinkedIn profile here if you have one. 

Personal Profile 

This is a space to sum up your work ethic, achievements, and strengths. Try to be clear and concise, giving yourself a few sentences to do this in – around 100 words. Select the ones that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for, especially any that are in the job description.  

Educational History 

List your educational history, starting with the most recent first and the oldest last. Include the name of the qualification, where you were awarded it (school, university, training centre, etc.), and the dates(s) you attended, as well as grades where applicable. Don’t forget machinery licenses and any relevant qualifications.  

A college qualification might be formatted like this: 

  • 2017-2018: City and Guilds Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture, Sparsholt College – Distinction 
  • 2018-2019: AQA A-Level Environmental Science, Mander Portman Woodward Cambridge – B  

Whereas a pass/fail license might be formatted like this: 

  • 2016: City & Guilds NPTC Award in the Safe Use of Handheld Hedge Cutters (QCF), Sparsholt College 

Work Experience  

Similar to your education, list past roles in reverse date order. Include the name of the employer, your job title, and how long you worked there. If you have room, you can also add one or two lines describing your main responsibilities. This is also where you can add work experience placements and voluntary work, so don’t worry if you are short on paid experience.  


Briefly list key relevant skills here. This can be things like report writing, using Microsoft Office, ecological survey experience, additional languages you can speak, and team leading abilities. If you have received any awards that you want to highlight, such as one for being best on your course or 1st place in a competition relevant to your field, you can put this here as well.  


Let your prospective employers know a little about who you are and get them interested in you. List your hobbies and pastimes, trying to avoid generic things such as watching films or going for walks. If you have any interests relevant to the job, make sure to highlight them.  


References are important but employers don’t need them at this stage. Get some potential people in mind and write ‘references available upon request’.

Have a look at the resources section for more top tips.