How to Write a CV in English – Tips to Write a Great Resume in English


Hi, I’m Martin. Welcome to Oxford Online English! In this lesson, you can learn to write a CV
or resume in English. If you’re wondering, ‘CV’ and ‘resume’
have the same meaning. The word ‘CV’ is more common in the UK,
while ‘resume’ is more common in the USA. Although some people say that there’s a
difference, in everyday speech, a CV and a resume are the same thing: you write a summary
of your employment history, your education and your skills in order to apply for a job. In this video lesson, you’ll see how to
write an effective CV in English. We’ll share some useful language tips to
make your CV clearer. Before we start, we highly recommend you visit
our website: Oxford Online English dot com. You can find many other free English lessons
like this one, on all kinds of topics. You can also book a lesson with one of our
professional teachers to improve your English further. But now, let’s look at how to write your
CV in English. We’re going to divide your CV into four
sections. Your personal profile is a short introduction
to you, your key skills and your career goals. It generally goes at the top of your CV, under
your contact information. Not all CVs include a personal profile, but
many do. Many people we’ve spoken to find it the
most difficult part to write. So, if you need a personal profile, what should
you include? Aim to write four to five sentences. In the first sentence, introduce yourself. For example: ‘I recently graduated from
the University of Toronto in International Affairs with a 3.8 GPA, and I am seeking employment
in the NGO sector.’ ‘I am a web development professional looking
to move into a senior role in an established company.’ ‘I am a cardiology nurse with over ten years’
experience in Spain; I am now looking for a position in the UK.’ Here, you can see language which you could
adapt to your situation. Take a few seconds: how could you use these
sentences to talk about yourself? Pause the video if you want more time to think
about it! Generally, you should write your personal
profile in full sentences in the first person. You can write in the third person, but this
can sound impersonal; it’s simpler to write in the first person, using ‘I’. After your introduction, write one to three
sentences about the skills you will bring to the job you’re applying for. Be specific and focus on the facts. Avoid using clichés like ‘team player’,
‘good communicator’ or ‘passionate’. These are overused in job applications; try
to *show* your good qualities by giving specific examples instead. Let’s look at some examples here: ‘During
my degree, I did a six-month internship at a Toronto-based charity, and also volunteered
for two local charitable organisations. This has given me an understanding of NGO
work in both smaller and larger organisations, as well as the desire to learn more about
the field.’ ‘Over the last fifteen years, I have honed
my technical skills by working on a wide range of projects, both working individually and
in large teams. Recently, I have developed my managerial abilities
by working as a team leader for my current employer.’ ‘Since I started working as a ward nurse,
I have pursued every opportunity to learn and develop my skills; consequently, I have
been working as a specialised cardiology nurse for the past five years.’ Because your personal profile should be short,
it’s useful to organise your ideas using time references, like ‘during’, ‘over
the last … years’, ‘recently’, or ‘since…’ If you’re writing in the first person, this
also helps you to avoid repetitive sentence structures. It doesn’t sound good if every sentence
you write starts with ‘I’. End your personal profile with a sentence
summarising your career goals. For example: ‘I hope to build on my prior
experience and make a meaningful contribution by working in an international NGO.’ ‘Having worked mostly for start-ups and
smaller firms, I would now like to challenge myself by managing projects and teams in a
larger company.’ ‘My short-term goal is to work in an English-speaking
environment, with a view to moving into a training/teaching role in the medium term.’ And you’ve finished! If you want to read the three full profiles,
go to the full version of this lesson on our website. There’s a link in the video description. The exact order of sections on a CV can vary. However, in many cases, you’ll put your
work history at the top, after your personal profile. Let’s see how you can write about your employment
history on your CV. In this section of your CV, you should list
the companies you’ve worked for, the dates you worked there, your responsibilities and
any significant achievements. For example, you might write: ‘Customer
service supervisor, Juice-It, September 2016 to January 2019’. ‘Main responsibilities: responding to customer
queries and complaints, creating and implementing surveys to gather customer feedback, organising
training sessions for other staff members.’ Often, you won’t write in full sentences
to talk about your responsibilities and achievements. Instead, you’ll write bulleted lists. There are two possible styles you can use,
and you should choose one. One way is to write sentence fragments starting
with an -ing verb. You saw this in the example just now. The other common possibility is to write sentence
fragments starting with a past simple verb. So, for example, a full sentence about your
work experience might be: ‘I designed training programs for other staff members.’ You could make this a fragment with an -ing
verb, as in ‘Designing training programs for other staff members.’ Or, you could make a fragment with a past
simple verb, as in ‘Designed training programs for other staff members.’ Of course, you can write in full sentences
if you want! However, it’s more common to use one of
these two styles on a CV. Just remember: don’t mix styles. If you’re writing in fragments starting
with an -ing verb, then all of your bullet points should be in the same style. Also, when describing your responsibilities
in a role, try to use active, specific vocabulary. For example, instead of ‘Making promotional
materials in print and digital formats’, say ‘Creating promotional materials’ or
‘Designing promotional materials’. Using a more specific verb is better where
possible, so it’s better to use ‘create’ than a more general verb like ‘make’. Instead of ‘Worked with customer data to
suggest alternative strategies for sales team members,’ say ‘Analysed customer data
in order to devise more effective strategies for sales team members’. Next, let’s add one more vital section to
your CV. On most CVs, education either goes at the
top, after the personal profile, or after the work experience section. Here, you list the institution, qualification,
grades and dates. For example: ‘University of Warwick, 2015
to 2018, BSc in chemical engineering, two one.’ Do you know what ‘two-one’ means? University grades for UK degrees are given
in classes: first class, upper second class, second class, and so on. ‘Two one’ means an upper second class
degree, which is the second highest grade. On a CV, you can write BSc *in* chemical engineering,
or you might write it without the preposition. This might be all you need, but you might
also add modules you studied, projects you worked on, or the title of your thesis or
dissertation. Here, the simplest way to add this information
is to use a colon to introduce a list, like this: ‘Modules studied: chemical reactor
design, distillation and absorption, process synthesis, …’ You could also use this to list exams you
took at school; for example: ‘A-Levels: geography, English
literature, politics, economics. Do you know what A-levels are? They’re the exams you take at the end of
secondary school in the UK. Usually, people take three or four subjects. Depending on where you are in your career,
you might not need a lot of details about your education. If you’ve been working in your field for
many years and have lots of relevant achievements, then you probably don’t need to go into
details about your high school exam results. At this point, you have the most important
parts of your CV. There’s one more section you might add. At the end of your CV, you might list relevant
skills, such as other languages which you speak, certificates, or software you can use. You might also list your hobbies and interests. Should you add your hobbies and interests
to your CV? Some people say yes, others say no. We don’t know—this lesson is about how
to write a CV in English. Here, you can keep this simple; introduce
a list using a colon, like this: ‘Proficient with: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign,
MS Office, QuickBooks.’ You can show different levels of skill by
using different adjectives like ‘proficient’, ‘familiar’, or ‘competent’. ‘Proficient’ suggests a higher level of
skill; ‘competent’ suggests a medium degree, while ‘familiar’ suggests a more basic
level of skill. You can use these adjectives with the preposition
‘with’ plus a noun; for example: ‘proficient with AutoCAD’, ‘competent with WordPress’,
or ‘familiar with a range of common double-entry bookkeeping applications.’ You can also use some adjectives like this
plus ‘at’ plus an -ing verb. For example: ‘competent at building and
styling web pages using HTML and CSS.’ ‘Skilled at using a range of Abode Creative
Suite applications for graphic or print design.’ With languages, you can use a similar format;
introduce a list using a colon, like this: ‘Languages spoken: Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese.’ If you want to add additional information
to something, add it in parentheses, like this. As before, you’re not writing in full sentences
here. That means you can be flexible with the structure;
for example, you don’t need to add ‘and’ between the last two items on your list. However, you *should* still pay attention
to grammar and structure, because it’s important to be consistent. Finally, you can add your hobbies and interests
if you want. For example: ‘Hobbies and interests: surfing,
DIY, arts and crafts.’ At this point, your CV should be close to
complete. Don’t forget to proof read carefully before
you send it in! In most situations, recruiters won’t spend
long the first time they look at your CV. Even small things, like spelling mistakes,
can mean your CV gets thrown out. So, take the time to check everything. Do you have any other tips for writing a good
CV? Please share your ideas in the comments! Thanks for watching! See you next time!

29 thoughts on “How to Write a CV in English – Tips to Write a Great Resume in English”

  1. After you watch, take our free quiz to see what you learned! https://www.oxfordonlineenglish.com/write-cv-in-english

  2. Of course teachers!!! I am learning many things to your video it's esplended and many New Words I'm grateful for that

  3. Amazing info….. Hey Martin, your English sounds very Neutral beautiful English teacher u are thanlqqq very helpful video 💐👍

  4. Hello I usually follow your channel and the videos are really helpful. I have a question is it good to talk about fish like goldfish, angelfish as your pets. Generally , people talk about dogs and cats as there pets so I am little bit confused..

  5. Thank you Sir/Ma'am, for your amazing videos. Please clear my doubt as to this sentence i read in a newspaper. It reads as….

    Perhaps, the ruler himself also COULD NOT HAVE HAD SEEN the future valour, achievement and foresight of his own self.

    Please tell are those capitalised words grammatically correct? What the HAD is working as in this sentence? What does it mean? I am confused. I want to know how those two third forms of verb are used together in the sentence? shouldnt it have been written as Could Not Have Seen instead of Could Not Have Had Seen?

  6. This video is very helpful for new graduates to find a job. The content is professional and informative. Thanks.

  7. Thank you very much, I was writing what you say while watching the video and although I haven't even finished university I really like how my CV is taking shape and that motivates me (;
    Thank you again

  8. Hello Martin and Lori, thanks for the video It's very helpfull
    I just started extension class at University last week , how to include that in my resume, should I write just started extension class at Uni? 🙏🙏

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