CVs, cover letters and written applications

Write a good CV, application and cover letter and you’re half way to getting the job of your dreams.

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What are employers looking for?

Employers want someone who is a good fit for the job, both in terms of skills, experience and motivation.  An employer will often produce a job description and work out a list of essential requirements to do the job (known as a person specification). Shortlisting is usually done on how closely you match the criteria.

Key tips

  • Tailor your CV or application to the role using the person specification (if there is one)
  • If you are writing a CV without a specific position to apply for, find an overview of what that job might involve. Prospects job profiles are good for this
  • Back up your claims with evidence, it’s not enough to say you are a good communicator, give some context (see the link below on demonstrating your skills)
  • Take our How to write a CV or job application course on
  • Get some advice before you send it off. You can book a CV Advice appointment once you have a draft CV, cover letter or application form.  Come to the session with a printed version or the open document on your laptop.  For a specific job bring along details such as the job description.

CVs for specific sectors

Some sectors have different conventions in terms of CV layout and content:

For creative roles there is more information and inspiration in the Creative CV Guide from the University of the Arts.