You want a free CV template and you want it now. Consider your prayers answered with our selection of 20 CV templates that won’t cost you a brass farthing.
When you find the perfect job you don’t want to leave anything to chance. The better the job the tougher the competition and the harder it gets to be shortlisted for an interview.
If you want to be sure of securing your rightful place in the recruiter’s yes pile, you need a perfect CV and you’re about to learn how to write one.
You’ll get perfect CV examples and easy to action tips on how to make your own CV just as good.
Here’s an example of a perfect CV made with our builder.
Want to save time and have your CV ready in 5 minutes? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ CV templates and create your CV here.
Sample CV made with our builder—See more templates and create your CV here.
For even more perfect CV writing advice, read more here:
- Sales CV Example & Writing Guide
- Should a CV be One Page & How to Make it Fit
- Career Change CV Example & Writing Guide
- What is a CV & What Does CV Stand For?
- Teaching Assistant (TA) CV Example & Writing Guide
- Please Find Attached My CV: The Best Way to Say It
- Resume vs CV: What’s the Difference?
- References on a CV: Should You Include Them?
- 10 of the Best CV Templates for 2021
Perfect CV Example
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Efficiency focussed office manager with 5+ years of experience. Dedicated to sourcing modern and cost effective solutions. Keen to take on the challenge of managing the growing admin team at Knighthawk Systems.
EthLend UK, London
- Created new training and onboarding systems for office assistants, increasing performance in administrative tasks by 20%.
- Procured new contracts for 10 major suppliers, resulting in annual savings in excess of £20,000.
- Provided support and cover for front desk services, taking on receptionist duties for an average of one daily shift a month to cover absences.
- Outsourced payroll, saving HR team eight hours per month to focus on improving recruitment.
Key achievement: Redesigned monthly internal newsletter, receiving compliments from the executive team for the improved format.
Media and Communications BA (Hons), September 2011–June 2014
- Leadership: Created a positive and supportive environment for office admin team.
- Procurement: Conducted efficient procurement in accordance with national and EU directives.
- Teamwork: Provided support to HR and reception teams.
- Attention to detail: Identified invoicing errors and prevented significant losses.
- Time Management: Balanced conflicting priorities whilst maintaining high-quality service delivery.
- Volunteer for The Silver Line, a telephone advice service offering support and friendship for the elderly.
How to Write the Perfect CV
Every perfect CV example you’ll see in this guide was written using the same simple steps. Here’s the formula that’ll enable you to create a perfect CV template.
1. Prepare the Perfect CV Layout
Before you start writing the perfect CV, you’ve got to do the groundwork. A good CV layout is all about creating a neat and tidy framework for your written content. Get it right and it instantly conveys a sense of professionalism. It also creates an easy to read CV structure so the recruiter can effortlessly discover why you’re the perfect candidate.
Follow these steps to create CV layout perfection.
- Create lots of white space to give your CV clarity and structure. Do that by having margins set to one inch on all four sides of the page, double-spacing between paragraphs and using left-alignment only.
- Choose the perfect CV font. Calibri, Arial and Helvetica are smooth sans serif classics. Or if you do prefer a little serif action then go for Garamond, Cambria and Georgia. In fact, Garamond is so perfect it’s been with us since the 16th century. That longevity is a real vote of confidence if ever there was one.
- And don’t ruin your layout by choosing the wrong file type. Save your CV as a PDF to keep everything perfectly organised and razor sharp.
Read more: How to Create the Perfect CV Layout
2. Choose the Perfect CV Format
CV format, CV layout, same thing surely? Not exactly. When it comes to writing the perfect CV the format refers to the order you put your CV sections in and what you include in them. In the UK there are two main types, chronological and skills-based.
Chronological CV Format
For the vast majority of candidates, this is the choice for a perfect CV. Hiring managers are familiar with it and its centrepiece is your work experience. It’s also fully compatible with ATS software, which most large companies use to scan your CV. And if the ATS can’t read it then it’s rejected in a flash and never seen by human eyes.
Skills-Based CV Format
In a skills-based CV, the most important section is a skills summary, which does exactly what it says and describes your proficiency in key transferable skills. If you’re a freelancer without a conventional history of full-time employment, a career changer, or transitioning from the military to civilian life, it can be an effective choice. Otherwise, avoid it. Skills-based CVs are hard to write well, recruiters don’t like them and they tend to get rejected by older versions of ATS.
Read more: How to Make the Perfect CV Format
3. Sell Your Brand With A Bold CV Header
The single most important distinguishing factor in a CV is your name. Ultimately, your CV is like a promotional piece selling you as the perfect candidate. You need to stand out as an individual and make sure the recruiter associates your name and identity with your experience, skills, accomplishments and other perfect CV selling points.
You can make that happen with a striking CV header. It occupies prime page real estate right at the top, scientifically proven to be the first thing the reader sees. Here’s how to do it.
- Increase the font size for your name. Make it 4–6 points bigger than the rest of the body text and bold it to really make it leap off the page.
- Include your job title, it gives you a professional identity to back up your personal one.
- Don’t include personal information like marital status or unnecessary information like your home address. Personal info has no bearing on your ability to do the job and unnecessary information just takes up valuable space.
Read more: 20+ Job-Winning CV Tips
4. Get Them Hooked with an Impressive CV Summary at the Top of Your CV
It’s also known as your CV profile or personal statement. Whatever you call it though, your CV summary is key to writing the perfect CV. It’s exactly like the opening paragraph of a book, and the great Stephen King himself says he spends months or even years perfecting his opening lines.
I’m not suggesting you spend that long but if you put some effort into creating a perfect CV summary, you’ve massively boosted your chances of success. This is what you need to do.
- Leave it until last. It’s the first section of your CV but you can’t really summarise something that isn’t written yet. Wait until everything else is ready and then condense it down into your personal statement.
- Keep it brief, 3–4 lines is ideal, and structure it by explaining who you are, what can you contribute and what your career goals are.
- Make sure you tailor it to the role you’re applying for. Use the job description as your guide and make sure you’ve mentioned some of the key skills required.
- And be positive and passionate. Show that you’re excited about the job opportunity and the company you’re applying for. Hiring managers love seeing commitment and energy in potential candidates.
Read more: How to Write the Perfect CV Summary
5. Make a Perfect CV Work Experience Section
If your CV was a concert, your work experience section is the headliner, the rest of it is the supporting act, nice but not what you forked out your hard-earned cash on tickets for. So your work history absolutely has to be perfect. It’s non-negotiable.
- Include the essentials. For each job you list, mention your job title, the employer’s name and location and the dates you worked there. List them in reverse chronological order, most recent first and work backwards from there.
- For each entry, write 4–6 bullet points describing the role. Start them with snappy action words, not dull repetitive phrases like ‘responsible for’. For example, words like mentored, fostered and motivated make great alternatives to ‘managed’.
- Don’t use your bullet points to merely list your duties. Work in achievements using accomplishment statements. This shows how well you did the job. Add numbers too. How many people did you manage or work with? What savings did you make? What increase in a key metric did you contribute to? Quantify those achievements wherever you can.
6. Capitalise on Keywords
A perfect CV needs to leverage the power of keywords. In the context of your job search, keywords are the words and phrases that describe specific job requirements and the job title itself. Both recruiters and the ATS software I mentioned earlier use them as key indicators to determine whether to proceed with a candidate.
To get an idea of what keywords you need to include, read the job description. Look for the experience, skills and abilities it lists as being required. Then work these words and phrases into your CV, making sure it’s still grammatically correct and sounds natural.
7. Check for Mistakes
You won’t have a perfect CV if you let mistakes slip through the net. So make sure you double-check your work. Make use of apps like Grammarly and Hemingway. And when you’ve done all of that, get a friend to check it over. That might seem like overkill, but an error-free CV puts you in the elite.
One study revealed 94% of CVs contained at least one spelling or grammatical error, with 63% containing five or more mistakes. And considering another study revealed poor spelling is as bad for your CV as lack of experience, double-checking your work is an easy win.
8. Include a Perfect Cover Letter
Cover letters and CVs work together in synergy. In other words they work together to create a combined effect greater than the sum of their parts. A perfect CV absolutely has to be accompanied by a cover letter to maximise its effectiveness.
Or to put it another way, leaving out a cover letter could cut your chances of success in half. Far from being a relic of a bygone age, cover letters are still an essential part of the modern job hunt.
Next, we’ll take a look at some perfect CV examples so you can see these tips in action.
When making a CV in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building your CV here.
When you’re done, Zety’s CV builder will score your CV and tell you exactly how to make it better.
8 Perfect CV Templates
There’s one more step to creating the perfect CV that I didn’t mention. Using a good CV builder. Zety’s builder will make writing the perfect CV even easier. Here are a few reasons why.
- All you need to do is choose from one of our CV templates and enter your content. The builder does the rest, keeping your layout intact and setting up perfect formatting without you lifting a finger.
- You can customise your CV to your heart’s content. Choose from 400 colours, change the type and size of your fonts. Rename and rearrange your CV sections, the choice is yours.
- Each one of our templates is designed by experts to have maximum impact. They don’t just look good, they contain everything that recruiters demand of a perfect CV
Here’s a selection of perfect CV templates made with our builder.
1. Perfect CV for Retail
This is the perfect CV template for retail, and it was made with our Concept template. The CV summary is spot on, grabbing the recruiter’s attention with relevant experience, skills and achievements. A compelling introduction to a perfect CV.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect CV for Retail
2. Perfect CV Template for a 16-Year-Old
This CV for a 16-year-old was made with our Valera template. And even when you’re just starting out you can create the perfect CV. Note how it follows chronological CV format and contains all of the information that recruiters expect.
It also makes use of a CV hobbies and interests section, which is a perfect way to prove additional skills and abilities when you don’t have much experience.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect CV for a 16-Year-Old
3. Perfect Graduate CV
This graduate CV was built using our Vibes template. It’s a perfect CV template for demonstrating the skills-based CV format. I mentioned earlier that it’s difficult to master but this CV example does a great job.
It’s for a recent graduate with limited work experience. The perfect candidate for a skills-based CV. And the skills summary, which forms the heart of the CV, has been written with close attention to the requirements of the job the candidate is targetting. An excellent example of how to make a perfect CV in skills-based format.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect Graduate CV
4. Perfect Engineering CV
This perfect CV example was engineered with our Modern CV template. The candidate has paid close attention to their skills section, a vital consideration in a technically demanding role like engineering.
Note how it includes both soft skills and hard skills and backs up each ability on the list with a brief sentence explaining the candidate’s competence. The hiring manager should rest assured this candidate has the skills to succeed.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect Engineering CV
5. Perfect Recruitment Consultant CV
Recruitment consultants spend all day looking at job applications so you’d expect them to know everything about how to make the perfect CV. This template is called Influx. It looks clean and professional and this particular example is full of perfectly written content.
See how the all-important work experience section is perfectly written to show how well the candidate can do the job. There are numbered accomplishments showing outstanding performance and even a specially highlighted key achievement showing the candidate’s ability to beat hiring targets. Proving your prowess in your main area of responsibility is an essential addition to a perfect CV.
6. Perfect Support Worker CV
This support worker CV was created with our Enfold CV template. The education section is perfectly written and contains all the information that recruiters require. The details of the candidate’s A-levels and GCSEs are all perfectly set out and it also includes details of the job-specific NVQ the candidate completed.
The key takeaway is that a CVs education section often gets neglected, especially as jobseekers advance in their career. Make sure you get it right if you want to be sure of writing the perfect CV.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect Support Worker CV
7. Perfect Chef CV
Good chefs are notorious perfectionists so what better way to illustrate perfection on a CV. This example was cooked up with our Initials template, named after the attractive seal that forms part of the CV header.
It demonstrates that a perfect CV doesn’t just stop with the essential sections. It adds some extras to bring it to the next level. See how the candidate has pointed out his language skills. Being bilingual is a big boost to employability, especially for a French speaker aiming to specialise in French cuisine. It also mentions an award, a perfect way of proving you have actually possess the talents you claim to have.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect Chef CV
8. Perfect Academic CV
This gem of an academic CV was carefully researched and written on our Diamond template. It’s proof that the perfect CV format is one that’s carefully tailored to the job in question. Academic CVs follow a modified form of the chronological format. But they also include additional specialised academic sections.
This CV perfectly includes every section that’s required for academic recruitment. If you want a perfect CV you need to make sure that it’s tailored both to the specific job and the employment sector you’re targeting. A generic CV simply won’t work.
Read more: How to Write a Perfect Academic CV
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about how to make the perfect CV. There’s a comments section just waiting for you to ask any question that comes to mind.