Writing your CV

Your CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is a very important ‘sales tool’. It tells an employer what you have done and what you are good at. Here are some guidelines for you to follow.

Writing your CV
Your CV has one role – to get you an interview. So you only need a short summary to say who you are and what skills, experience, training and qualifications you have. There are lots of different ways to write a CV and there’s no right or wrong way. Start with a basic format and adapt it to show your skills in the best light. There are 2 samples over the page to guide you. Here are a few simple guidelines: • keep it short (1-4 pages) • put your best skills first • use simple language and short sentences • be positive and enthusiastic • don’t staple lots of things to it • make it look good – and always type it • check your spelling and grammar (get someone else to check it too) Make several copies. Don’t attach original certificates and references or send them to an employer – they could get lost (just take them along in a separate folder when you have an interview). Always take a copy of your CV when you visit an employer.

What should my CV say?
Here are the main things you need to include: • Personal details. Give your full name, and an address and phone number where the employer can contact you. Age and family details are optional. • Career or personal objective. Say what you want to achieve in your working future. This helps the employer relate your skills to the job. • Work experience. List the jobs you’ve had, starting with the most recent and working backwards. Give the job title, the employer’s name, the date you started and finished, and a brief description. • Skills and abilities. List your work-related skills and abilities. Some of these might be skills you learnt outside work. So include unpaid, community or family work and say how these skills might suit the job you are applying for. • Education and training. Include your schooling and other training. Give details of technical and trade certificates, and any study or courses you’ve done (even if you haven’t completed them). • Other things. Give brief details of your hobbies and interests. Include anything else you think is important such as driver’s licence or your state of health. • Referees. Include at least 2 people who can talk about how well you’ve worked in the past. Give their name, position, and phone number. But check with them first. Let them know they may be contacted and ask what they will say about you.

Write your career objective
Try writing a short career objective for a couple of different jobs. It should state your goal and the skills that make you suitable. For example ‘I’m looking for a career, preferably outdoors, where I can develop my skills. I’m hardworking, strong, versatile and in good health.’

Issues with work history?
An employer looks at your work history to see if you are suitable. If you don’t have specific experience in the job, highlight relevant skills and include your other experience (it doesn’t have to be paid work to count). If you have a gap in your work history, include a short sentence to say what you did and the skills you developed during that time. You don’t have to say in your CV why a job ended. But if you’ve had lots of jobs, have been out of work for a while, or have gaps in your work history, you may be asked about it and should have a brief explanation ready.

Two main ways to set out your CV
Functional CV
This example shows a simple functional CV. It matches your skills to the job you are applying for. It has a clear career goal, lists your skills first (both work and non-work) and then gives details of your experience and education. This approach helps if you’re applying for a different type of job or have a broken work history – but you’ll need a new CV for each application.
Personal details
Name: Aroha Hylton Address: The Crescent, Blockhouse Bay, Auckland Telephone: 123 4567

Chronological CV
This is a simple example of a chronological CV. It records all your jobs and training in order (starting with the most recent). This is a general CV and can be used for a range of positions. With this CV you show experience first and give details of work tasks. Note how the objective reinforces the key points.
Personal details
Name: Mathew Reid Address: The Street, Christchurch Telephone: 123 4567

Career objective
To find a position where I can develop my supervisory skills further and be an effective team member.

Personal objective
I am committed to finding work in the landscaping field. I have recently completed training in this area and am self-motivated, hardworking and reliable, with a range of practical labouring skills.

Relevant skills and experience
Communication skills • Excellent communication skills, able to put views across confidently and assist better team relationships. • Strong skills in helping others with problem solving in both work and non-work situations. • Guided and directed team members as captain of local club hockey team. • Able to communicate well in writing.

Work history
1993 –1998 Labourer, Harveys Bricks and Blocklayers Duties included: • spreading sand and gravel • laying a range of paving materials into various patterns • heavy lifting • driving a range of vehicles Builders Labourer (casual), Robinson Walker Construction Duties included: • measuring to instructions • cleaning and storage of tools • assisting tradesmen with a range of tasks Vineyard Labourer (seasonal), Beachcroft Orchard Duties included labelling, packing, cleaning sheds and equipment

Organisational ability
• Strong attention to detail and ability to help others improve their performance. • Effective in delegating tasks and making sure they are done well. • Track record in planning and organising events, including social functions at work and fundraising for a local sports club.


Numeracy skills
• Ability to develop and monitor budgets, through experience as sports club treasurer. • Responsible for handling money, banking and keeping accounts on other people’s behalf. • Assist others with managing their money, including working out a budget for personal spending and balancing cheque books.


Education and training
1999 1987-1990 Building and Landscaping Skills 6 month course at Carrington Polytechnic Christchurch Boys High School School certificate passes in horticulture and art

Work history
1996-98 1995 1994-96 1997 1992-96 Assistant checkout operator – General Food Supermarket Checkout duties – Food World Supermarket Temporary and casual positions, including fruit picking, planting, childcare and bar work Effective Communication Skills – 3 hours a week for 20 weeks at local Technical Institute Four years secondary education Mr William Whetu Sports Co-ordinator Sports Foundation Work phone 123 4567 Home phone 123 4567

Education and training

Leisure interests
Landscaping, canoeing, computer design

Mrs Kay Arland Checkout Supervisor General Food Supermarket Work phone 123 4567 Home phone 123 4567

Keith Harvey Former manager Harveys Bricks and Blocklayers Christchurch Work phone 123 4567 Home phone 123 4567 Susan Anderson Owner Beachcroft Orchard Henderson Work phone 123 4567 Home phone 123 4567

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