CV Writing 101

Jun 1, 2018 | 3 min read
Hello world! I'm Niesh's Head of Student Engagement and I run our ON Event Series. My expertise ranges from food all the way to sharing knowledge on how to make the most of your student experience.


Need a job but got a crappy CV? Read on, and learn how to fix it!

Credits to Paul Rataul founder of Millennial Mindset who gave a killer workshop on CV writing at our Employability Workshop!

What You Need in Your CV

  • Education
  • Academic Scholarship & Awards
  • Work Experience
  • Miscellaneous Experience
  • Leadership & Voluntary Experience
  • Major Achievements
  • Other

The Structure Breakdown

1. Education

  • Write your institution, degree, majors & dates.
  • Include any relevant academic results e.g. GPA (Optional)
  • DO NOT go back further than High School

How it should look:
University: Degree (Majors), Relevant Academic Results, Dates.

2. Academic Scholarship & Awards

  • List your best scholarships and awards
  • Keep your description as short as possible (Max 6-8 words)
  • Bold the ones that you want to stand out

How it should look:
Award: What did you win or why did you win? Dates.

3. Work Experience

  • Include the company name, role, one sentence highlighting quantifiable awards or successes (Max 2 bullet points)
  • When you write about skills, think about what employers want
  • If you have lots of experience, cherry pick the ones that are most relevant to the role that you are applying for (Max 6)
  • DO NOT focus on your responsibilities, employers don’t want to read about nitty gritty detail regarding what your tasks were. They want to know why you were good at them & what makes you stand out from other candidates.

When you are displaying evidence of work experience, you should only spend 20% of the section on your responsibilities. 80% should be spent on what you achieved or the consequences of your tasks & responsibilities.

Situation (10%) – What is the context?
Task (10%) – What did you do?
Achievement (40%) – Quantifiable awards
Result (40%) – How did it change the situation?


How it should look:
Company Name – Role Dates

  • Description of awards.
  • Description of successes.

4. Miscellaneous Experience Section (Optional)

  • This section is for any extra form of experience that deserves it’s own category e.g. entrepreneurship. Follow the above format in point number 3.

5. Leadership & Voluntary Experience

  • Follow the above format in point number 3.

How it should look:
Leadership OR Volunteering Location – Role Dates

  • Description of awards.
  • Description of successes.

6. Major Achievements

  • This section is for any awards that may not be related to your academics but extra curricular OR interests.
  • Describe how and why you won this award in (Max 1 bullet point).

How it should look:
Award: Award Sub Category if applicable. Dates

  • Description of awards.

7. Other

  • Interests: List these in one line using commas.
  • Anything else that you want to include.

How it should look:
Interests: rock climbing, video creation, design, Instagram.

Major Formatting Tips & Tricks

  • Align EVERYTHING to the left, and DATES to the right.
  • Always put your most recent experience first.
  • Unless you are in the field of design or other similar fields, keep your CV design simple.
  • Most CV’s should be no longer than 2 pages.
  • Bold your categories and increase their size.
  • Always research what format companies prefer for CV’s, not all are the same. Particularly if you are applying for overseas companies.
  • Employers spend less than 6 seconds looking at your CV, this is your chance to make an impression. Choose your best work!
  • Don’t be ambiguous, don’t leave any imagination to the employer.
  • THE ULTIMATE GOAL: The employer should understand who you are by reading for 6 seconds.

Did you make it to the bottom? Click here, for our Niesh CV Template!