As an English teacher and examiner, there is nothing I love more than reading and analysing literature. The new GCSE in English language is the perfect qualification for those who are enthused by studying use of language, form and structure and who enjoy creative writing. However, I do feel that most students nowadays do not share this enthusiasm and I understand why. They see little relevance in studying why a writer has employed certain literary devices or structured a text in a way. For them, it would be far more beneficial to study more practical English such as how to apply for a job and how to write a curriculum vitae or how to write a letter of complaint. Functional Skills qualifications would be a better path for these students. It is a shame that schools do not offer this choice at 14+ and instead spend months trying to train students how to answer GCSE questions. It becomes an almost pointless exercise, as most will not continue to study English after GCSE.

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Therefore, I have created a new series on my blog of REAL LIFE ENGLISH SKILLS.

I hope you find this series useful and please feel free to share with anyone who might need advice about REAL LIFE ENGLISH SKILLS.

If you have a question about a REAL LIFE ENGLISH SKILL then do message me and I will try to help.

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Curriculum vitae is a Latin expression which loosely translated means ‘the way of my life’. I think that helps us to understand its purpose. It is pretty much meant to show how your life and / or career has progressed, the education you have experienced, the paths you have taken, to further your knowledge and the skills that you possess.

It is only necessary to include details of your private life if these are relevant. For example: You might enjoy dance in your free time. You are applying for a post as a receptionist and so you can’t see how dance is relevant. This is wrong as dance teaches the individual a great deal about discipline, perseverance and commitment. Thus, showing this hobby is relevant to a job application.

Similarly, you might not find it relevant to include details of your children when applying for a job. As an interviewer, I always like to find out if someone has a family. I believe parenting enables us to develop many skills such as patience, empathy, and understanding. These are good transferable skills.

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I’ve applied for many jobs in my lifetime. I’ve also seen many CVS and job applications as a potential employer and I’ve helped many students to write their own. You would not believe the number of mistakes I have seen on even the most professional applications. Nowadays, with computer technology, we really have no excuse to make any errors of spelling or grammar.

It was only this morning that someone I know, asked me if I could help them write a cv. It is something that few schools teach and yet it is one of the most important skills to learn. So, what defines a good cv? What should you or should you not include and how do you go about writing one?

There are some very important pointers to start with.

  1. Be honest            Never lie or embellish the truth. You will always be found out!
  2. Be clear                Be simple and stick to the point. Avoid clichés.
  3. Be concise           Try to stick to an absolute maximum of two sides of A4
  4. Be relevant         It is not necessary to include your Dolphin Level 1 Swim Award.
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I have found that the layout illustrated below works for most applications.

  1. Write in chronological order with the earliest date first.
  2. Use Times New Roman Font in size 11 or 12 but no smaller.
  3. Once you have completed your curriculum vitae, check it. Give it to someone else to check and then check it again for all spelling, grammar.
  4. Be careful not to split an infinitve or confuse their/ there/ they’re or to / two / too.
  5. Sometimes it is a good idea to tailor your cv to fit to the job person specification. Job applications frequently require interviewers to tick boxes and so making your cv fit the role is an effective way to show how you meet the criteria for the job .



PERSONAL DETAILS                                                                                                                      









YEAR                                    INSTITUTION                     QUALIFICATIONS & GRADES



YEAR                                      PLACE OF WORK                               ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES



YEAR                                      PLACE OF WORK                               ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES

Include with each position a brief outline of responsibilities and skills that are relevant.



Here you might include such information as Driving Licence / First Aid / Dance / Music / Typing



Minimum of TWO and Maximum of THREE.  Include all contact information. 

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I hope that you have found this useful. Occasionally I am able to offer a more bespoke service to help students / adults with job applications, cvs and UCAS entry. If you would like more details of this service then please email me on

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