How to write a CV / Resume

prepare a CV - how to write a cv
Writing a CV is something that at one point we are all going to have to do, so we’ll tell you how to write a CV as it can seem a little daunting at first. If, like me, you are on a working holiday visa and are planning on working then you will definitely need to write a CV. Some people may already know how to construct one, but just because you have constructed one doesn’t mean it is any good. I’ve been a Manager in various jobs before and have seen some absolutely shocking resumes that I really wouldn’t give any of my time to. Remember, you are competing against other people for the same job, so you need to make sure your resume is up to scratch and hopefully stands out from all the others.

Below are some useful pointers in helping create your resume that will hopefully land you that job you are after.

How to Write a CV

Contact details

Make sure you include your up to date contact details. Seems obvious but your full name, telephone number and email are how they will know who you are and contact you if they want to get you in for an interview, and for those on working holidays make sure you include your visa status too (working holiday visa valid until…). Make sure also that you have a sensible email address. An email address like [email protected] is not very appropriate and will more than likely make your resume head straight into the bin.

Spelling and grammar

A badly written and spelt resume will also usually head straight into a bin from a potential employer. It looks lazy that you haven’t proof read it and also gives the impression that you don’t really care, qualities not many employers (if any) look for. Always get somebody to proof read it just to iron out any mistakes you may have missed.

Keep it short

Different countries have different ways in which to write a good resume. Here in New Zealand nobody is looking for your life story, nor do they really care. They just want you to be concise and to the point. It really shouldn’t be more than a page, unless it is for a job specific role, then in which case a cover letter should be included.

Be sure to sell yourself

Now as well as letting an employer know of your previous work experience and academic qualifications, you also need to sell yourself and make the employer interested in hiring you. Going OTT or lying is not a great idea because if you are called for an interview you will probably get caught out, but list a few of your strengths within a work environment. eg. A diligent worker that can work within an individual or team atmosphere, determined to learn new skills as well as developing the skills you have already learnt. You want to tell them why you should be employed by them. If you can, give examples of your skills in use in your previous jobs section.


Make sure you have two references from previous jobs that you can add. Make sure you include their correct contact details (phone number and email) as most employers will contact them to back up your working abilities.


Make sure your resume is nicely presented. A scruffy looking one will not be given the time of day. A recent photo of you can go onto the resume in the top corner, but make it small, just a headshot and make it a presentable photo (one of you drunk is really not a great idea).

Organise your CV

  1. Contact Details
  2. Personal statement – why you are here, what you hope to achieve, long-term ambition. Try and make it relate to the job you are applying for. This is the first thing that gets read, if it doesn’t engage the potential employer then you will be overlooked.
  3. Education – Don’t list everything. Nobody really needs to know about your primary school education. Always list your most recent first and include the title of the course studied, the academic institution you studied at, the years you were there and the qualification/grade you achieved.
  4. Previous employment – Again, start from your most recent. You need to provide the full name of the company, the period that you worked there, your role and your key responsibilities.
  5. Interests – Now this is the area a lot of people fall down on. Socialising and hanging out with friends is not a hobby, nor is playing computer games. Tell them an actual hobby that interests you and is actually interesting eg. volunteer projects you are involved in, deep sea diving, courses that you take in the evening, or even just hiking through various terrains. This area just needs to be short and sweet, but it’s a finalising part of your resume that may be the tipping balance to you getting a call.
  6. References – This is the last part of your resume. Here you need to add the already mentioned contacts of your previous two jobs. You can just place here ‘References available upon request’ but you do need to make sure that you can provide these references upon request.


If you are unsure how best to set a resume out then have a look online. There are many examples of great and bad ones, so spend the time having a look at them and make sure you remember our tips for how to write a cv!

If you do manage to get a call back from a potential employer, do a bit of research on the company you are going to an interview for. It shows that you are actually serious and interested and will impress the interviewer if you can get into the conversation if asked what you know about the company. You can find more handy tips for preparing for a job interview here.

Ok, so we’ve told you how to write a cv, but make sure you prepare your CV for the specific job you’re applying for. Click here for tips on preparing your CV.