Components of a Good CV

Original Editor - Kim Cusack Top Contributors -

Introduction[edit | edit source]


Your CV and cover letter are often the first impression that a company gets of you, which makes them daunting for new graduates. You have to know how to make your achievements shine!

CVs should provide basic information about your education, work experience, skills and achievements. The following is a guide to what should be included:

  • Use a clear, easy to read letter font like Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Don't try to put everything about yourself into the CV. Stick to two pages of the most relevant and important info: potential bosses don't want to know about the Irish dancing medal you won when you were six!
  • Start with your name and contact details at the top so that they're easy to see.
  • Make sure to include your date of birth, education, qualifications, relevant jobs and work experience, achievements and interests that help prove you've got the right skills for the job.
  • Don't include gender (unless you're asked), info on your children, a photo, if you're married or not, state of health, nationality or reasons why you left other jobs.
  • Change your CV for each job you apply for. Look carefully at the job description and emphasise the skills or experience mentioned.
  • If you're asked for referees, include a past employer or teacher. Make sure to ask that person if they will give you a reference. If you're not asked write 'References available on request' at the end of your CV.
  • Always proof read and check for spelling mistakes 

CV Language[edit | edit source]

  • Keep sentences short, sharp and positive, for example:  “Developed training manual for new employees” or “Gained valuable experience in team-leading and problem solving”.
  • Make sure your CV is up-to-date. There’s no need to include information that’s more than five years old, unless it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Use bullet points to list your duties, skills and achievements in recent jobs.
  • Don’t include useless information just to fill space.
  • Keep your CV positive and make sure to highlight your achievements.
  • Don't lie about your experience and skills: you’ll get caught out eventually!

Components of a CV[edit | edit source]

PERSONAL DETAILS[edit | edit source]

  • Name, address, telephone, DOB, e-mail. Make sure name is big and bold and stands out from page.


  • State Years of Study and Qualifications Gained (most recent first) eg:
    • 2008-2012: University College Dublin.
                       BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy
  • Grade Achieved
  • Thesis Title

  •  Don’t get carried away writing exam results. Just state what exams you did, especially when talking about school. State school and ‘Leaving Cert’ / A-level, no need to list every subject and grade.
  • Don’t go back any further in time than secondary school, no need to list primary school.

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY[edit | edit source]

  •  State dates and relevant places on employment. No room on CV for things like bar work when applying for a physio job. State things like health care assistant, nursing home work, team physio, previous physio posts eg:
      • Jan10th – 15th 2012: Irish Junior Volleyball Squad
                     Irish team physiotherapist for the European Qualifiers in the Faroe Islands
      • June – Oct 2011: Physiofusion, 16 Warner’s Lane, Dublin 6
                Physiotherapy assistant and instructed a weekly osteoporosis class

CLINICAL EXPERIENCE[edit | edit source]

  •  State clinical area, clinical site, dates of placement, experience gained – keep brief ie only a line or two.
  •  Use a table format to save space while allowing for adequate delivery of information.
  •  Remember CV should only be approx 3 pages MAX so you don’t want to use up too much space, important to keep brief.[1]

CERTIFICATION[edit | edit source]

  •  Any classes or workshops you have gained a certificate for eg
    • 2011: Neurology Workshop with Grainne McKeown
      Sports Traumatology including CPR/AED with Santry Sports Clinic
  •  Again state in chronological order: most recent first.
  •  Sports Coaching course.

ACHIEVEMENTS[edit | edit source]

  •  Scholarships
  •  Academic awards
  •  Head boy/ head girl at school, senior prefect
  •  Sporting achievements eg cups won, international/ provincial / county honours
  •  Music grades

HOBBIES[edit | edit source]

REFERENCES[edit | edit source]

  •  One from UCD, one from a previous placement. Always give 2 referees and state ‘further references available on request’

NB: CV should be no longer than 3 pages, MAX. You want it to be as short and concise as you can. It should be as relevant as possible to the job you are applying for ie take out irrelevant info and talk up relevant info for each job. Page layout is very important; it should look neat and tidy and look good on the page. It should appear organised and flow well, while getting your point across clearly.
Sign and date CV.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Osoian C, Zaharie M, Miron A. Career management tools: Curriculum vitae design. Managerial Challenges of the Contemporary Society. Proceedings. 2011:210.