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.

You can find out more information about writing CV's, cover letters and applications on SkillSPACE.