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CV Writing Tips

The secrets to creating a stand out CV

What is a CV?

A Curriculum Vitae or CV is the summary of your background, achievements, experience and skills that you have to offer any prospective employer. It is on many occasions the first impression any potential employer will have of you and so it is essential that you make it a positive one.

Your CV is a tool you can use to market yourself and give yourself the best possible opportunities in this very competitive job market.

We at Setsquare have combined our considerable years of knowledge and experience to compile some guidance and tips that will help you to produce a compelling CV, enabling you to stand out amongst the crowd.

What to include?

Personal details
Name, home address and (if applicable) temporary address, contact telephone numbers (preferably landline and mobile) and email address should all be included clearly at the beginning of your CV, date of birth is optional.

Personal statement

It can be good to start with a personal statement. It should be no more than three or four sentences in a short paragraph. It is the "free text" element of your CV and gives an opportunity for you to overview your skills, qualities and aspirations to any future employer. It should encourage the reader to continue the review of your details. Photos on a CV are not usually necessary, unless you are a model!

Education, qualifications, certifications, competencies and clearances

  • Education: Places of education where you have studies, most recent first.
  • Qualifications: May include but not limited to GCSE, A Level, NVQ, ONC, HNC or Degree etc.
  • Certifications: Will include SMSTS, SSSTS, First Aid, CSCS (stating which type), CCNSG, Scaffold Appreciation, Asbestos Awareness etc. Include expiry dates for each.
  • Competencies: Examples would be driving licence, CPCS, Plant and/or Banksman tickets stating full details for each.
  • Clearances: May include current MoD or other security clearance and recent CRB checks.

Work experience

List your most recent experience first giving the name of your employer, employment start and finish dates (usually accurate to the month is sufficient) and job title, along with a brief description on the nature of your duties and responsibilities within the role. This may also include examples of representative assignments or projects you have worked on.

If you have progressed within a company, the dates you were in each role is beneficial to show your progression and development. This brief job description gives a summary of your duties and should be limited to a short paragraph for each role. Keep this information informative and to the point. Waffle will not be read and will have a negative impact on your CV.


A prospective employer may be interested in your activities outside of the workplace. Highlight activities which give insight into your personal qualities and where possible highlight specific achievements.


Clearly identify your specific skill set which may include the ability to speak other languages, competencies with specific software packages etc.


Try to give two names, preferably work related and if possible from your recent previous employment history. Give contact telephone numbers, email addresses and ensure that any potential referees are willing to give you a reference.

Remember the employer wants to discover your skills and you need to show them. Good luck and for any further advice on producing a CV please get in touch with our consultants.

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