What is a CV?

A CV is a marketing tool to attract future employers and secure an interview. It is essential to have a well-presented CV that highlights your skills and achievements. 

Essential Content

All CVs must contain:

CV Language

Language should be professional and skills focussed. Where possible, avoid simply writing a list of duties. Rather, highlight the skills you have developed that are specific to the role you are applying for, as well as any transferrable skills, as this will have greater impact.


CVs should be clear, easy to read and have a consistent style throughout. Use of headings and a clear font will enable you to highlight key pieces of information to an employer. A CV should be two pages of A4 however there are occasionally exceptions: a longer CV for Academic roles, or a one page Resume if requested by the employer.

CV Formats

A Chronological CV and a Skills Based CV are the two main formats. The Chronological CV is the most common form of CV and involves giving a detailed history of your education and work history, highlighting your skills and experience . A Skills Based CV focuses on highlighting your suitability through a prominent and detailed skills section, which draws on the full range of your experience. You will find examples of both formats further on in this guide.

Covering Letters

A covering letter should be no more than one side of A4. This is often the first document the employer reads (prior to reading your CV). This is your opportunity to link your personal skills and attributes to the key attributes the employer is looking for (you will find this in the job description/person specification). Focus on why you want to work for the company, why the particular job appeals to you and why you are the right candidate for the role.

CV and Covering Letter Support

This is a critical stage of the application process and often determines whether you are called for interview.

The Careers Service offers a range of CV and Covering Letter support to Manchester Met students and graduates.

Powerful Action Words


Getting Ideas Across

Addressed Advised Controlled Coordinated
Counselled Delivered Encouraged Guided 
Instructed Liaised Marketed Mediated
Motivated Performed Presented Processed 
Promoted Provided    


Analysis and Problem Solving

Arranged Assessed Collated Conducted
Controlled Coordinated Defined Distributed
Edited Evaluated Identified Improved 
Investigated Processed Redesigned Researched
Resolved Reviewed    


Demonstrating Ideas

Advised  Coached  Conducted  Directed 
Guided  Illustrated Instructed  Managed
Organised Presented Taught Trained


Showing Initiative

Composed  Created Designed  Established 
Founded Generated  Implemented  Initiated
Introduced Launched  Planned Prepared  


Making Positive Change

Broadened  Combined  Consolidated  Converted 
Developed  Devised Eliminated  Expanded 
Improved  Innovated  Modernised  Recommended
Refined  Resolved  Restructured Revised 
Serviced  Unified    



Administered Approved  Conducted  Controlled 
Delegated  Directed  Led  Managed 
Represented  Supervised    


Useful Adjectives

Analytical Capable Creative  Effective 
Resourceful  Successful    

Careers and Employability Support

We offer range of support services to Manchester Met students and graduates:

For more information visit mmu.ac.uk/careers