Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students



Employers only give 30 seconds to a CV so you need to have immediate impact.

In a competitive job market, your CV is a prime marketing tool and will often be the first impression employers get of you. Many recruiters will receive large amounts of CVs and it's vital that yours delivers maximum impact. 

Find out how about:

  • the length a CV
  • tailoring your CV 
  • types of CVs
  • specialist CVs
  • writing a CV for countries outside the UK

How long should a CV be?

The length of your CV will depend on the vacancy you're applying for, so check if the employer has specified that it should be a certain number of pages.

In the UK, CVs are normally two pages long.

Times when you may use a different length include: 

  • applications for an investment banking position (one page only)
  • working in USA (one page only) 
  • an academic or research CV - three pages or longer to allow for lists of publications and research papers 

How to tailor your CV?

You will need to tailor your CV to meet the requirements of each position you apply for. By targeting your CV you'll demonstrate that you've researched the company and are suitable for the position you've applied for. 

Research the job, the employer and the industry and be sure you're demonstrating you meet the person specification, if the employer has included this. 

You can target your CV by including:

  • relevant degree modules and referencing specific knowledge and skills
  • relevant work experience, voluntary jobs and part-time work and emphasise the skills the employer is looking for 
  • examples of when you've demonstrated the attributes the job requires. Use the job profiles on the Prospects website to find attributes associated with the role you're applying for 

What are the different styles of CV?

There are many different styles you can adopt when creating your CV which present information differently. Primarily, the difference between styles is in the layout of the content. What style you use will depend on what information you want to highlight.

The three most common styles of CV are: 


  • Outlines your experiences in reverse chronological order
  • Contains sections for relevant work experience and education
  • Easy to compile and useful if you have relevant experience for the position you're applying for
  • Won't be suitable if you have little or no relevant experience for the role you're applying for


  • Focuses on skills and provides evidence of these, usually in a bullet point format
  • Education and work experience are kept brief
  • Relevant if you have little experience in the position or area your applying for 
  • Appropriate when applying for casual work.
  • Be sure to match your skills to the employer's requirements


  • Used by PhD students seeking a career in academia. 
  • If you are applying for a PhD, you should use a skills based or chronological CV, not the academic style. 



Careers and Employability Service

The University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679