How to write a CV with a basic CV template (and tips)

Updated 29 March 2023

When hiring, employers typically request a CV from candidates to identify the ideal person for the role. Using a quality template can help you organise your thoughts and present your qualifications effectively. A well-written CV makes the recruiter select you for an interview and learning the techniques of CV writing can enable you to write one that gets you the job. In this article, we define a CV, explain the steps to writing a CV with useful tips and a basic CV template you can use for job applications.

What is a CV?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is a comprehensive document containing a summary of your education, experience and skills information. This document is one of the first factors for screening candidates. Due to the influx of applications, employers begin the hiring process by selecting the most appealing and convincing CVs for the interview. Most CVs are two pages long. Candidates with numerous years of experience and those in managerial positions can write up to three pages long. When writing a CV, ensure the information is accurate to the best of your knowledge.

Related: The ultimate guide to CV basics (With example)

How to write a basic CV with a template

Here's how to write a CV for virtually any job:

1. Select a unique format

Carefully consider how to organise your CV when applying for a job before you start writing it. You can start writing a CV on a plain page or a template. There are many CV formats to choose from and selecting the ideal one guides your writing endeavour. Although some CV templates are suitable for many industries, some employers prefer certain CV styles.

Find out the most used CV formats in your industry. You may search online for options or ask professionals in your industry for suggestions. You can start writing your CV once you discover the ideal format for your job application.

2. Provide your contact details

The first information to include in your CV is your contact details. It involves the official manner of addressing and contacting you. Although labelling this section is unnecessary, you may use your name as its header. Write your full name boldly and your certification if applicable. On the next line, provide your contact details, including your email address, phone number, official portfolio and location. You may add your photograph and social media profiles if you're applying for a modelling or acting job.

Related: What is a visual CV? (Plus tools to create one)

3. Write a professional summary

A professional summary is a brief statement highlighting your skills, qualifications, accomplishments and reasons for applying. It's usually a two or three-sentence-long section where you hint at what you can offer the organisation upon joining it. Make sure you start your sentences with action verbs and use pronouns sparingly.

4. Add your work history

Experience is necessary to get most non-entry jobs. Create a section to highlight your work history. In the 'experience' area, you provide information on where you worked, including your role and responsibilities. You can also use this opportunity to highlight some of your achievements in your previous positions.

State your position and how long you worked in the role on the first line. Write the name of the company and its location on the following line. After providing details of your position and previous place of employment, list your duties below. Make a bullet list of your responsibilities and what you achieved. You may only include details of the two most recent and relevant work histories in a basic CV.

Related: How to write a sales promoter CV (with an example and tips)

5. Create a skills section

Besides academic qualifications and experience, every role requires specific skills to execute them perfectly. Employers prefer to hire candidates with industry-relevant skills. Although you probably have multiple skills, select the ones relevant to the position you're applying for and add them to the CV.

A basic CV may contain between five and seven relevant skills. List them in bullet format in no particular order of importance. According to the Secretary of State for Education, most jobs require English, digital and mathematical skills. In addition to these, research the most in-demand skills for your industry. Develop them and add them to this section.

Related: How to show a promotion on your CV (With examples)

6. Add academic history

After adding your skills to the CV, create an education section. Highlight your academic information in this section. Write the degree you earned and the institution on the first line. Underneath this line, write the institution's location. You may also add other certificates you earned to this list. Write the certification name, the awarding institution and the year you received the certificate.

7. Proofread your document

After writing your CV, you want to ensure it's accurate and presentable. The final stage of writing a CV is editing and proofreading for errors. Editing is when you check the document to ensure the content is accurate and well-formatted. You conclude by proofreading for spelling or grammatical errors when you're sure your information is accurate and clear.

It's not unusual for professionals to make punctuation or spelling errors when writing a CV. Proofreading can be time-consuming. You may use proofreading software to check for, remove or correct errors. These tools help you detect errors in seconds and proffer suggestions for editing or replacing them.

Related: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

Basic CV template

This is a basic CV template you can use as a guide for writing yours:

[First name] [Last name]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City]

Professional Summary
Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional.

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]


[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]


[Degree] | [Name of school or university]

[Certification name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Related: 7 best CV writing services to consider (With key benefits)

Example of a basic CV

Here's an example of a basic CV you can create using the template:

Tina Chamberlain 07574 993311 || Hartlepool

Professional Summary

Highly skilled professional with over four years of experience managing the production of top-rated hiring and payroll software for more than 10 companies. Seeking an opportunity as a production director to produce responsive, compliant and highly efficient systems to inspire innovation at Giant Leap IT Solutions.

Production director | January 2018–Current
MEGA Electronics | Hartlepool

  • managed the development of responsive and efficient payroll software for a global workforce

  • planned software production strategies, guidelines and goals with management and client

  • managed employees and contractors with high recommendations in the production team

  • planned and allot budget with quality assurance guidelines to guarantee high product quality and reduce operational costs

  • wrote project proposals, make presentations and give sales pitches to prompt interest in company products

Production assistant | March 2014–January 2018
MEGA Electronics | Hartlepool

  • developed methods to reduce production costs through negotiation and budget management

  • researched and reviewed daily operation techniques with HR experts to ensure labour law compliance and quality assurance

  • organised meetings and gave presentations on the potential of new software products


Software and systems management | Microsoft Office | Leadership | Organisation | Collaboration | Project management


BSc (Hons) Management, University of London

Professional Certificate in Production and Operations Management, Institute of Management - 2020

Tips for writing a CV

Follow these tips when writing your CV:

Allow someone else to review it

When you send your CV to the recruiter, they assess it and determine if you qualify for an interview. After writing, it's advisable to let someone knowledgeable, probably a colleague, review it before sending it. This allows them to scrutinise the document to provide an outside-in perspective. They can help you identify errors or suggest information to include in the document.

Make it easy to read

Often, interviewers review thousands of applications and CVs within a short period before identifying those who qualify for the interview. Since interviewers have little time to view each CV, they prefer an easy-to-read CV, saving them time. Using bold font sizes and font styles enhances readability. A well-structured, single-page CV is easier to read than multiple pages with complex formats.

Related: Business CV samples (and tips for writing a corporate CV)

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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