Getting your First UK job: How to write a UK-style CV

— Winner Adebayo

To work in the UK as a foreign national, you will almost always need a work permit. Students and 'dependent' partners, however, are exempted because their visas usually grant them permission to work. On the other hand, you can apply for jobs in the UK from overseas and even attend job interviews if you have a visitor's visa.white printer paper on macbook pro
Photo by João Ferrão on Unsplash

If you are looking for a UK job, you need to get your CV and cover letter sorted - in the UK way. It’s important to always have these documents in the right format so you can easily edit based on the job requirements and send them out as needed.

CV Structure:

Your CV should be no more than two pages of A4 paper in length. Here is an example of the typical UK CV Structure.


  • Contact details: Include your full name, UK address, mobile number and email address (make sure you use a UK number and UK address. Nonetheless, recruiters that are seeking talents globally won’t prioritise this detail).
  • Personal profile: You may include this if it’s helpful to tell more about yourself and your skills as they relate to the position you are applying for. It should be within four lines.
  • Education: Your most recent qualification must appear first, followed by all others in reverse chronological order, including dates, the name of the institution, location, the qualification and final result. If you studied abroad, you may also include the UK equivalent to your overseas qualification.
  • Employment: Include all employment experience with your most recent first stating the dates you worked there, the name of the company and its location, your role and include a short description of your responsibilities.
  • Voluntary work experience: Use the same format as in the employment section but describe all your voluntary experience (if applicable).
  • Languages and additional skills: List all the languages you speak, including level (fluent, conversational, basic) and IT skills (eg Microsoft Word, Excel). If you have specific certifications related to any skills, add them here
  • Interests: British employers are keen to know how you spend your time outside the office to get to know you better, so add brief information about relevant interests and hobbies you might have
  • References: You may simply state that references are available upon request.

If you would like to have a look at some samples, check out kickresume.

Cover letter:

To achieve a UK-style cover letter follow these tips:

  • Keep it short, formal, and concise. About 5 neat paragraphs are enough.
  • Write the addressee’s name and details correctly and state the job you are interested in. Only use “Dear Sir or Madam” if you really can’t find out their name.
  • Explain why you are applying for the job and what interests you about your potential employer and/or company.
  • Let them know how your skills and experience will contribute to their mission.
  • At the end, finish with “Yours sincerely”, and sign above your printed name. If you don’t know their name, sign off your letter with “Yours faithfully” instead.

For some samples, check out kickresume.

Now that you have your CV and cover letter ready, what's next? you might ask.

If you are already in the UK, job-search portals such as CV-LibraryIndeedMonster, totaljobs or Jobsite are a good place to start your search.

But, if you are applying from abroad or require a work permit in the United Kingdom, you should look for jobs that sponsor work visas for foreign nationals. Start your job hunt on a specialised job board like UKHired.

Final word.

Landing a job in the UK, especially the visa-sponsoring ones, isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Therefore, it is important to be patient, thorough and consistent when you kick-start your job search.

Wishing you the best of luck!

Maze provides an end-to-end platform that disrupts the traditional relocation model.

We connect people relocating with service providers, reduce cost and enable the personalization of customer journeys to the UK.

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