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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Write a CV for an English-Speaking Job - Tips to Write a Great Resume

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Hi, Im Martin.

Welcome to Oxford Online English!

In this lesson, you can learn to write a CV or resume in English.

If youre wondering, ‘CVandresumehave the same meaning.

The wordCVis more common in the UK, whileresumeis more common in the USA.

Although some people say that theres a difference, in everyday speech, a CV and a

resume are the same thing: you write a summary of your employment history, your education

and your skills in order to apply for a job.

In this video lesson, youll see how to write an effective CV in English.

Well share some useful language tips to make your CV clearer.

Before we start, we highly recommend you visit our website: Oxford Online English dot com.

You can find many other free English lessons like this one, on all kinds of topics.

You can also book a lesson with one of our professional teachers to improve your English


But now, lets look at how to write your CV in English.

Were going to divide your CV into four sections.

Your personal profile is a short introduction to you, your key skills and your career goals.

It generally goes at the top of your CV, under your contact information.

Not all CVs include a personal profile, but many do.

Many people weve spoken to find it the most difficult part to write.

So, if you need a personal profile, what should you include?

Aim to write four to five sentences.

In the first sentence, introduce yourself.

For example: ‘I recently graduated from the University of Toronto in International

Affairs with a 3.8 GPA, and I am seeking employment in the NGO sector.’

I am a web development professional looking to move into a senior role in an established


I am a cardiology nurse with over ten yearsexperience in Spain; I am now looking for

a position in the UK.’

Here, you can see language which you could adapt to your situation.

Take a few seconds: how could you use these sentences to talk about yourself?

Pause the video if you want more time to think about it!

Generally, you should write your personal profile in full sentences in the first person.

You can write in the third person, but this can sound impersonal; its simpler to write

in the first person, usingI’.

After your introduction, write one to three sentences about the skills you will bring

to the job youre applying for.

Be specific and focus on the facts.

Avoid using clichés liketeam player’, ‘good communicatororpassionate’.

These are overused in job applications; try to *show* your good qualities by giving specific

examples instead.

Lets look at some examples here: ‘During my degree, I did a six-month internship at

a Toronto-based charity, and also volunteered for two local charitable organisations.

This has given me an understanding of NGO work in both smaller and larger organisations,

as well as the desire to learn more about the field.’

Over the last fifteen years, I have honed my technical skills by working on a wide range

of projects, both working individually and in large teams.

Recently, I have developed my managerial abilities by working as a team leader for my current


Since I started working as a ward nurse, I have pursued every opportunity to learn

and develop my skills; consequently, I have been working as a specialised cardiology nurse

for the past five years.’

Because your personal profile should be short, its useful to organise your ideas using

time references, likeduring’, ‘over the lastyears’, ‘recently’, or


If youre writing in the first person, this also helps you to avoid repetitive sentence


It doesnt sound good if every sentence you write starts withI’.

End your personal profile with a sentence summarising your career goals.

For example: ‘I hope to build on my prior experience and make a meaningful contribution

by working in an international NGO.’

Having worked mostly for start-ups and smaller firms, I would now like to challenge

myself by managing projects and teams in a larger company.’

My short-term goal is to work in an English-speaking environment, with a view to moving into a

training/teaching role in the medium term.’

And youve finished!

If you want to read the three full profiles, go to the full version of this lesson on our


Theres a link in the video description.

The exact order of sections on a CV can vary.

However, in many cases, youll put your work history at the top, after your personal


Lets see how you can write about your employment history on your CV.

In this section of your CV, you should list the companies youve worked for, the dates

you worked there, your responsibilities and any significant achievements.

For example, you might write: ‘Customer service supervisor, Juice-It, September 2016

to January 2019’.

Main responsibilities: responding to customer queries and complaints, creating and implementing

surveys to gather customer feedback, organising training sessions for other staff members.’

Often, you wont write in full sentences to talk about your responsibilities and achievements.

Instead, youll write bulleted lists.

There are two possible styles you can use, and you should choose one.

One way is to write sentence fragments starting with an -ing verb.

You saw this in the example just now.

The other common possibility is to write sentence fragments starting with a past simple verb.

So, for example, a full sentence about your work experience might be: ‘I designed training

programs for other staff members.'

You could make this a fragment with an -ing verb, as inDesigning training programs

for other staff members.'

Or, you could make a fragment with a past simple verb, as inDesigned training programs

for other staff members.’

Of course, you can write in full sentences if you want!

However, its more common to use one of these two styles on a CV.

Just remember: dont mix styles.

If youre writing in fragments starting with an -ing verb, then all of your bullet

points should be in the same style.

Also, when describing your responsibilities in a role, try to use active, specific vocabulary.

For example, instead ofMaking promotional materials in print and digital formats’,

sayCreating promotional materialsorDesigning promotional materials’.

Using a more specific verb is better where possible, so its better to usecreate

than a more general verb likemake’.

Instead ofWorked with customer data to suggest alternative strategies for sales team

members,’ sayAnalysed customer data in order to devise more effective strategies

for sales team members’.

Next, lets add one more vital section to your CV.

On most CVs, education either goes at the top, after the personal profile, or after

the work experience section.

Here, you list the institution, qualification, grades and dates.

For example: ‘University of Warwick, 2015 to 2018, BSc in chemical engineering, two


Do you know whattwo-onemeans?

University grades for UK degrees are given in classes: first class, upper second class,

second class, and so on.

Two onemeans an upper second class degree, which is the second highest grade.

On a CV, you can write BSc *in* chemical engineering, or you might write it without the preposition.

This might be all you need, but you might also add modules you studied, projects you

worked on, or the title of your thesis or dissertation.

Here, the simplest way to add this information is to use a colon to introduce a list, like

this: ‘Modules studied: chemical reactor design, distillation and absorption, process

synthesis, …’

You could also use this to list exams you took at school; for example: ‘A-Levels:

geography, English literature, politics, economics.

Do you know what A-levels are?

Theyre the exams you take at the end of secondary school in the


Usually, people take three or four subjects.

Depending on where you are in your career, you might not need a lot of details about

your education.

If youve been working in your field for many years and have lots of relevant achievements,

then you probably dont need to go into details about your high school exam results.

At this point, you have the most important parts of your CV.

Theres one more section you might add.

At the end of your CV, you might list relevant skills, such as other languages which you

speak, certificates, or software you can use.

You might also list your hobbies and interests.

Should you add your hobbies and interests to your CV?

Some people say yes, others say no.

We dont knowthis lesson is about how to write a CV in English.

Here, you can keep this simple; introduce a list using a colon, like this: ‘Proficient

with: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, MS Office, QuickBooks.’

You can show different levels of skill by using different adjectives likeproficient’,

familiar’, orcompetent’.

Proficientsuggests a higher level of skill; ‘competentsuggests a medium degree,

whilefamiliarsuggests a more basic level of skill.

You can use these adjectives with the prepositionwithplus a noun; for example: ‘proficient

with AutoCAD’, ‘competent with WordPress’, orfamiliar with a range of common double-entry

bookkeeping applications.’

You can also use some adjectives like this plusatplus an -ing verb.

For example: ‘competent at building and styling web pages using HTML and CSS.’

Skilled at using a range of Abode Creative Suite applications for graphic or print design.’

With languages, you can use a similar format; introduce a list using a colon, like this:

Languages spoken: Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese.’

If you want to add additional information to something, add it in parentheses, like


As before, youre not writing in full sentences here.

That means you can be flexible with the structure; for example, you dont need to addand

between the last two items on your list.

However, you *should* still pay attention to grammar and structure, because its important

to be consistent.

Finally, you can add your hobbies and interests if you want.

For example: ‘Hobbies and interests: surfing, DIY, arts and crafts.’

At this point, your CV should be close to complete.

Dont forget to proof read carefully before you send it in!

In most situations, recruiters wont spend long the first time they look at your CV.

Even small things, like spelling mistakes, can mean your CV gets thrown out.

So, take the time to check everything.

Do you have any other tips for writing a good CV?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

Thanks for watching!

See you next time!

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