Examples of Good and Bad CVs - CV Plaza

Examples of good and bad CVs

Like any other documents, some CVs are great, some are good, and others are outright dreadful. This article will go through EACH section of the standard UK CV step-by-step and show the good (and the bad!) examples of how to write (or not to write!) a CV.

This article is a little lengthy, but it’s well worth the time to read it!

Let’s begin…

Personal details

Bad example:

Curriculum Vitae
Address: 66 Hendford Hill, Mouldsworth, WA6 8DE, United Kingdom
Tel: 07900257283
Email: coolguy007@hotmail.co.uk
DoB: 27 February 1985
Nationality: British
Gender: Male
Marital status: Single

Notes:

  • Heading: Full name in large, bold letters and centred on the page (not Curriculum Vitae or CV as it can be derived from the document itself that it is a CV);
  • Email: Should be professional (e.g. first and last name);
  • No need for ‘Address’, ‘Tel’, or ‘Email’ prefixes (unless it improves presentation);
  • Address: Should not take up a lot of space, needs to be better presented;
  • Nationality, date of birth, gender and marital status are optional information which is best left out unless there is a particular benefit to their inclusion.

Good example:

David Gibbons
57 Outlands Road, Dingley, LE16 9SJ
Mob: 079 3316 8158
Email: David.gibbons@live.co.uk

Personal Profile Statement

Bad example:

I am a hard-working individual who enjoys working. I am excellent at meeting deadlines. I have two years of experience in business, and I would like to contribute to a business with my excellent skills and past work experience.

Notes:

  • Avoid vague statements that are not specific enough to carry any weight or meaning;
  • The Personal Profile needs to be punchy and should outline your personal characteristics as it related to the role you’re seeking or applying for;
  • All sections of a CV, excluding the personal details, should be appropriately labelled.

Good example:

Personal Profile Statement
A motivated, adaptable and responsible Computing graduate seeking a position in an IT position which will utilise the professional and technical skills developed through past work experiences in this field. I have a methodical, customer-focused approach to work and a strong drive to see things through to completion.

Education and qualifications

Bad example:

1991 – 1992 Collingham Gardens Nursery
1992 – 1996 Stamford Primary School
1996 – 2002 Hall Green Secondary School
2002 – 2004 A-Levels Sandwell Sixth Form College

  • English: A*
  • Mathematics: C
  • Biology: B
  • Geography: A
  • Business: C

October 2004 – June 2007 UCB, Birmingham BSc Psychology

Notes:

  • The entries in this section need to be in chronological order (i.e. most recent first);
  • Omit irrelevant and outdated education;
  • State grade/qualification achieved;
  • Expand on important education (e.g. degree) and list some of the relevant modules;
  • Don’t forget: maintain the same structure and format throughout your CV!

Good example:

Education and Training
2009 – 2013      BSc Computer Science (Hons)       Aston University

  • 1st Class Degree with Professional Placement

Relevant Modules:

  • Professional and Social Aspects of Computing (73%)
  • Data Modelling and Database Systems (59%)
  • Understanding Information Systems (93%)
  • Information Security (67%)
  • Human-Computer Interaction (80%)

2007 – 2009      BTEC National Diploma in IT      Hall Green College

  • Grade Achieved: Triple Distinction*

2000 – 2007      Bournville Secondary School

  • 8 GCSEs at grades A*–C.

Employment and Work History

Bad example:

2011 – Present    IT Support Assistant     ABC Electronics Ltd.
2008 – 2011     IT Admin    Dana Corporation
2006 – 2008     IT Assistant    M&M Electric Vehicles Ltd.
2005     Cleaner     K Lacey Ltd.
2003 – 2005     Housekeeper     Plaza Hotel
2002     Packer     Packaging Products Ltd.
2000 – 2001     Cleaner     TB Group Inc.

Notes:

  • For each entry the following is required: name of the company worked in, start and end dates (month/year format), job title and main tasks performed;
  • Omit irrelevant or otherwise insignificant work experience;
  • Do not use many jargons or technical terms many readers will not understand;
  • The presentation of the information (i.e. layout) is equally important as the content!!

Good example:

Employment history
Jun 2008 – Present      IT Manager      Maplins

  • Mentoring and training new IT staff;
  • Researching, installing and configuring new computer systems;
  • Ensuring that all relevant licensing laws are adhered to;
  • Keeping up to date with the latest technologies.

Oct 2003 – Jun 2008      IT Support Officer      Ladypool Warehouse Ltd.

  • Provided extensive IT support to internal and external stakeholders;
  • Installed and configured computer hardware operating systems and applications;
  • Monitored and maintained computer systems and networks;
  • Resolved, diagnosed and solved network problems and relevant software faults.

Jan 1999 – Sept 2003      IT Admin      West London Council

  • Produced Requirements Documentation (diagrams and workflow);
  • Maintained the computer network and information systems.

1996 – 1999      Various jobs      Retail (sectors)

Hobbies and interests

Bad example:

I enjoy skiing, hiking, playing football, bird-watching and going to Church on Sundays.

Notes:

  • Do not mention any irrelevant hobbies on your CV that do not add additional value to your application;
  • Do not disclose political or religious affiliations;
  • Avoid listing too many hobbies; when will you have time to focus on the job?

Good example (when applying for a Business Analyst job):

Hobbies and Interests
I enjoy reading non-fiction books, solving puzzles and socialising with friends and family.

References

Bad example:

Mr Evan
Tesco
Birmingham, West Midlands, B55 1KE, United Kingdom, Europe, World, Universe.
Tel: 078 4320 3833
E-mail: evan.sanders82@hotmail.com

Notes:

  • The referee’s name needs to be mentioned in full;
  • Include the position that the referee holds in the company;
  • Do not disclose anyone’s private contact details on your CV except with permission.

Good example:

Mrs Saima Khan
Sales Manager
Flash Electronics Ltd.
Address: 24 St Denys Road, Postling, CT21 3QF
Tel: 0109 228 2091
Email: khan.s@flashelectronics.co.uk

Spot the difference: Good CV vs. Bad CV

Now that we’ve gone through all the sections of a CV we can now visually compare the two drastically different versions that we have reviewed:

Example of a bad CV:

Preview of a bad and horrible CV example and how not to write a CV

Example of a good CV:

Very good example of how an excellent CV should look like

Additional CV Writing Tips

If you’re still with us, then you fall into the second camp of readers: those that are committed, determined, and dedicated to their success and their careers.

Here is another bonus tip to improve your CV further:

  • Check out our Free CV Templates if you would like to give your CV a fresh look. We have more than a dozen templates that are all free and easily editable.

We hope that these tips have been useful and please don’t forget to check out the rest of our website for more tips and advice.

Good luck!