Top tips for writing about jobs on your CV

Writing about the work you've already done is one of the most important aspects of your CV.

CV readers will find evidence of any past work useful, but will be especially looking out for signs that you have experience that will serve you well in the post you may be about to start.

Here are just six of the many things you may well need to think about when you're writing up your career section.

Use detail where it's needed

Don't limit yourself by thinking every job in your list needs the same amount of detail. As a rule of thumb, your current or last job will need the most detail (though this isn't always the case) following which you should let yourself be led by whether details will be relevant to the sorts of job you're applying for, when it comes to allocating space. 

So don't be afraid to offer only a couple of lines on a job that has little link to the industry you're making applications in, and two paragraphs on another that gave you lots of great skills for that sector.

Order things to your advantage

When listing things you did in a job, try to lead with the most pertinent, impressive and relevant – don't let these slip to the middle or bottom of the list, where they might not be spotted as easily.

Be positive

Talking about parts of the jobs that you enjoyed or got things out of sounds a lot more engaging than simply dryly listing duties – although you may end up doing that for some jobs you aren't as concerned about highlighting.

Be specific

It's all about accuracy on a CV. That means reminding yourself of accurate dates, job titles and company names so that you don't make any embarrassing errors. Sometimes you might struggle to find the exact day you started and finished a job – in general, you'll be fine with just the month and year, especially for jobs you were in for a long time.

Don't overrun

There's more to be talked about on a CV than simply jobs, so don't allow this part of your CV (normally one of the first sections) to outstay its welcome, or you'll risk not showing yourself off in all your variety.

Choose your words carefully

The only way to ensure accuracy on a CV is to choose your words carefully, to ensure they do not mislead, while selling you as well as possible.

Every statement you make should be subject to consideration, especially because some of the things you're writing about may have happened a long time ago, which means it's easy to end up being inaccurate without realising.

Ask yourself whether what you're saying is actually true, or whether it might be an exaggeration (or even under-selling the facts) and amend accordingly before you send the CV off.