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How to Create a Great CV that Stands Out

CV with pen and clock on white desk

Whether it’s your first summer job or taking that first step on your career ladder, making a good first impression is essential. Follow our tips to create a CV you’ll be proud to show potential employers. 

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is your chance to showcase yourself to impress future employers. It summarises your education, skills, qualifications, job history, etc. This will be your first impression, so you need to make it count!

Keep it short and clear

Think of your CV as a quick snapshot of your skills and experience. Employers often get lots of applications for a job, so you need to keep it short and sweet and give them an idea of who you are quickly before they get bored of reading. Ideally, a CV should be one page. Use bullet points and clear headings to make it easier to read.

Smiling teen girl making phone call

Contact information

Start with your contact information. Make sure your name, phone number, and email address are at the top, and consider adding a link to your online portfolio, like LinkedIn, or social media profiles (if appropriate for the job).

List your experience

Even if you’re young, you likely have more experience than you think! Include things like:

  • Part-time jobs: e.g. babysitting, dog walking, or working at a local shop
  • Volunteer work: helping out at a charity event, community project, or school club
  • School, college or university projects: did you lead a group project or participate in a competition? Mention the skills and teamwork involved

The more recent the experience, the better. Try to pick things you’ve done in the last few years.

Young boy handpicking litter from the river at the park.

Highlight skills

This is your chance to shine! List your relevant skills, like computers, communication, teamwork, or languages you speak. 

Don’t just list them; show them off! Use action verbs to describe how you’ve used these skills in past experiences:

For example: 
I volunteered at a local animal shelter, demonstrating excellent teamwork and communication skills while coordinating fundraising events.

If you can, include numbers to support your statement. 

For example: 
I raised £150 at the cake sale for Macmillan Cancer Support
I worked in a close team of 5 people to create a social media takeover.

Tailor your CV

Research the specific role you’re applying for and adapt your CV to highlight the specific skills and experience they are looking for. Make them see that you have what they are looking for.

Update your CV

Keep your CV updated. Every time you do something and think, ‘that will look good on my CV’, go back and add it. It’s easier to keep it updated as you go rather than try to remember everything when you need to update it. Every new experience, even a short volunteering activity, is worth adding!

Young girl using laptop on sofa with headphones


Typos and grammatical errors can make a bad impression. Ask a friend, family member, or careers advisor to proofread your CV before you apply. You can also use tools like Grammarly or SpellCheck on Microsoft Word or Docs to help you, or use Cysill for Welsh text.

Save a few copies 

Once you’ve crafted your impressive CV, don’t let it disappear into the digital abyss! Here are a few ways to ensure you always have a copy:

Ask for help 

Creating a CV can be tricky, but you don’t have to do it alone! There’s loads of CV advice and examples on the Careers Wales website.

You can also call us at the Meic helpline if you want support. We offer confidential advice, support and signposting on various issues, including careers and job applications. Call us at 080880 23456 or chat with us online. 

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