CV Checklist


Use the following checklist to check your CV. If all the boxes are ticked you are a long way towards a high quality CV!

You may wish to print this off to check your CV more easily.

Spelling and Grammar

Have you used a spell checker?

Is capitalisation used correctly? (BSc and not Bsc, Capitals used for names of roads - 10 Acacia Avenue, etc.)

Have you also proofread it thoroughly? A spell checker won't pick up the difference between form and from! Also check the grammar and punctuation carefully.

Has it got a lively writing style?  Use of positive, active language, Easy to pick out facts. Authentic and truthful. Information is presented in a well-thought-out manner, avoiding clichés.



Is it no more than two pages of A4? This is the standard length for a graduate CV, PhD CVs can however be much longer.

Are the page margins at least 1 cm all round? (and preferably more). You can check this is page setup.

Hold it at arm's length: does it have a pleasing and professional appearance?

There should be no dense paragraphs more than 7 lines long. If there are any, they should be separated into smaller paragraphs or you should use bullets or bold out key words.

Is it easy and clear to read? Not too cramped.

Not too much white space at the end? This suggests that you've run out of things to say about yourself!

Is the most important information on the first page of the CV?

Is everything neatly aligned?

Is all the information about a particular topic together in one place on the CV, rather than fragmented throughout? E.g. education and qualifications should be together under a single Education heading rather than separated into Education and Qualifications sections.



Is there a clear structure with appropriate headings and logical development? Carefully organised. Identified sections (e.g. education, work experience). At least a line gap between sections. Normally education before work experience for a student CV.


StyleCV with tables and bullets

Are you using bullets for lists? (see example on right)

Are these bullets proper bullets e.g. circles or squares rather than just dashes - or asterisks * ? (see example on right)

Have you included your modules if doing a vocational course and applying to jobs related to your degree subject? You can also add projects, technical skills gained and grades (if good!). Again, see the example to the right.

If you do include modules, are you putting these into neat columns? The easiest way to do this is by using a table. (see example on right)

Are no more than two different fonts used? any more than this looks messy. Sans fonts look clearer on the screen, so a good choice is Lucida Sans 10 points for your body text.CV sub headings

Are you using larger fonts for subheadings such as education, work and interests? 14 points Lucida Sans is a good size for these. A classy dark (so it photocopies easily) colour, such as burgundy, or navy blue ads visual interest and makes your CV stand out. (See the WORK EXPERIENCE example to the right)

Are bold or italic used to draw eye to key points? (see example to right).


Personal details

Have you put your name at the top in a large font size (say 18 points) so the selector can easily find your CV and know who it is from? You don't need to put Curriculum Vitae at the top by the way! (see example to the right).CV Name

Have you included your email address? This is the most common way that recruiters will contact you.

Is this email address sensible and businesslike? (Not!)


Work Experience

Have you described key tasks, responsibilities and skills gained from work experience e.g. customer service skills.



    Your CV needs more than just a brush-up. It needs to be completely re-worked and then carefully tailored for each and every job that you go for. If you send the same CV out for 10 different jobs, nine times out of 10 you will be sending the wrong CV.

    Deborah Meaden

Are you mentioning languages (good conversational French, basic Spanish), computing (e.g. "good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills" and driving ("full current clean driving licence") if you have these?

Are there appropriately selected examples to provide evidence that you have the skills, interests and personal attributes to do the job and fit into the organisation e.g. relevant people skills such as teamworking and business skills?



Have you included a broad variety of interests? e.g. team sports, independent or challenging holidays/foreign travel?
Having all your interests in one category (e.g. all you do is sport) suggest you may not be a rounded individual who can relate to a wide range of people.

Do you have social and active interests rather than just solitary and passive interests? Evidence of being able to get on well with other people? If not, you may come across as an introverted loner!

Is there evidence of serious commitment to at least one activity? This suggests that you have the determination to carry things though to a high level and are not a "butterfly" - constantly flitting from one activity to another but doing nothing well.

Is there organising or leadership experience/evidence of taking responsibility and the initiative? These will be looked for for most management and professional roles.

Are there any interests relevant to the job? current affairs if you wish to be a journalist; a fantasy share portfolio such as Bullbearings if you want to work in finance.



Have you thought about whether you need to include referees? You don't need to include referees unless you have been asked for these. Normally two referees are sufficient: one academic (perhaps your tutor or a project supervisor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last part-time or summer job). See Choosing and Using Referees for help.


Scores can range from 0 to 33




  • 0 - 10 Tear it up and start again! Sounds like you need to see our CV Examples and follow the tips given carefully

  • 11-20 Getting there. Show it to the duty careers adviser for some advanced tips

  • 21 -27 Buy yourself an interview suit. See our interview tips section as you will need these shortly!

  • 28 - 33 Brilliant. Employers will be flocking to your door. Maybe you should be advising us on how to write CVs!

But remember there is really only one rule. If your CV is getting you regular interviews it's a good CV and if not, you need to keep improving it!