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CV checklist

The following information is designed as a quick test for you to check your CV. The checklist questions are split into the main categories that should be included in your CV. Why not print off this page and check it against a draft copy of your CV?

Personal details

  • Will the employer be able to contact you easily at this address?
  • Do your personal details account for no more than one third of a page?
  • Is your nationality and work permit situation clearly stated? (international students). Make this stand out if you feel this will work in your favour. However, you do not need to include this information on your CV. Think about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so bearing in mind the employer to whom you are writing and the likelihood of their recruiting an international student. If you are in any doubt about this, seek advice from a careers adviser.


  • Does this section include more than a listing of qualifications and grades?
  • Have you listed your most recent or important qualifications first? Have you listed relevant modules/projects? (Law firms like to see all results)
  • Is there a team project that you could discuss?
  • Have you stated the equivalence of any internationally obtained qualifications? (international students)
    The UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC) provides information and advice on the authenticity and comparability of international qualifications, courses and even institutions. They provide an advice line for simple queries from students - Tel: 01242 260010.
  • Have you received any scholarships or awards that would show relevant skills?

Work Experience

  • Have you included a broad range of relevant experience? What about work in a family business, voluntary work or involvement in university societies?
  • Have you included greater detail on more relevant experience?
  • Have you undertaken a period of national service that you could talk about? (international students)
  • What have you done to integrate yourself into your host community? (international students)


  • Have you clearly demonstrated evidence of skills outlined in the advert, job specification or employer's promotional material?
  • Have you used examples to demonstrate these skills? Remember, evidence can be used from any area of your life including home, academic, work, hobbies, university societies, etc. What about fundraising, group projects or societies you are involved with? Have you mentioned the skills you have developed on your course and given examples of how you developed them?
  • If you are sending your CV speculatively, have you identified the skills that are needed for your chosen area of work?


  • Can you use this section to demonstrate examples of skills and competencies that the employer is looking for?
  • Have you concentrated on a few key interests rather than giving a long list?
  • Have you lived/worked abroad or done some travelling?


  • If you are including addresses of referees, have you asked them for their permission and explained what sort of opportunities you are applying for?
  • Can they be contacted easily?
  • If you have run out of space you may want to add the line: 'The names and addresses of referees can be supplied on request'.


  • Has your CV been thoroughly checked for spelling, grammar and correct use of language?
  • Does it follow a consistent layout? Do the dates follow in the same order for your education and employment sections (reverse chronological)?
  • Is the most relevant information given priority on the page / the most space?
  • Do your section headings clearly reflect what information the sections contain?
  • Have you checked that there are no gaps in your history?
  • Is it clear to read, and fonts are consistent and not too small?
  • Does it fit on to two pages without looking crowded? Have you checked that you have not split a section over two pages?
  • Would you want to read it?

Remember: your CV may only be scan read by a busy employer.
This could be for just 20 seconds - would you be impressed?