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Writing a UK resume format is similar to other places (like the US) but does have differences. We’ll tell you about them and provide a template.
Writing a resume is a common practice all across the world, but the standards regarding formatting and what information you need to include will vary depending on your location. This article will focus on how you should format and write a resume for jobs in the United Kingdom. We’ll specifically cover the following topics:
What is a UK resume?
How to write a resume for the UK
Resume template for a UK format
The UK uses resumes just like the rest of the world, however, they are usually referred to as CVs. CV technically stands for curriculum vitae. In current business practice, the terms resume and CV are used interchangeably. A formal curriculum vitae is used for academic roles and in scientific industries. In all other areas, a UK CV is very much like a resume, but there are some specific differences we’ll discuss in this article.
As noted before, a UK CV and a US resume are very similar in format and content, but there are some key differences:
The use of the English language is different. A UK resume will use British English, which will have some different spellings. For example, labour versus labor, and organise versus organize. Adjust the spelling and grammar checker to the British English or English (United Kingdom) option in your word processor.
A UK resume or CV can be longer than a comparable US-format resume. In the US, a resume is best when it is one page or two, at most. In the UK, it is acceptable to go up to three or four pages, but shorter is still preferable.
A US resume tends to be very results-focused. A UK-format CV places more emphasis on the individual. They usually include a personal statement as an introduction. The UK-style CV also can include things like hobbies and personal interests, whereas most US resume formats don’t include these.
UK resumes can include references. In a typical US resume, references are optional and usually submitted as a separate document.
Some components of a resume are common across all geographical formats, like name and contact info, work experience, education, qualifications, and key skills. A UK resume will have all these things. Let’s go into more detail on some sections of a UK-format resume.
For a UK resume, you need to include just your normal contact information. Name, phone number, address, email, and optionally a LinkedIn or website link. Don’t include any other personal information like race, gender, marital status, nationality, or religion. This is also true for a US resume. Some countries in Europe do expect a photo to be on your resume, but NOT in the UK.
When you start to create your UK resume, you need to consider the overall format for it. We have some great example resumes to look at on our website. Search through them and find one you like. Some general things to keep in mind are to use a simple and easy-to-read format. Make sure to use the A4 page size (not the standard 8½” x 11” used in the US). Use a font size of 11 to 12 points for the main text and 14 to 16 for titles and headings.
The next thing to consider is how to organize the content. This is primarily a function of your background. Do you have a lot of experience, or are you just starting your career? Are you changing careers or moving into a new industry? These are the key questions to ask yourself. Let’s go over the more common formats to use for each case:
Reverse Chronological. With this format you list your professional experience starting with your most recent job first and then working backward. This is a great format for anyone who has substantial experience and has had a number of roles.
Functional. This format focuses on your skills and abilities. You will use a large portion of the space on your resume to describe your transferable skills and relevant accomplishments. A functional resume format is best for people who are just starting out or for those changing careers.
Hybrid. The hybrid style of resume is a mix of the chronological and the functional. It will have a chronological listing of professional experience, but may use more space at the beginning of the resume to highlight skills and accomplishments. A hybrid format works well for people who want to make a career shift to a totally different profession or industry.
We mentioned earlier that a resume for the UK can be longer than a US resume. The best practice is one and a half to two pages, at the most. You may take an additional half-page to one page for references. The shorter your resume is, the better.
NAME - Phone, address, email, (LinkedIn, website)
PERSONAL STATEMENT Short statement about what you’re looking for in a career and your best qualities as an employee.
PROFESSIONAL PROFILE Concise paragraph about your top skills and why you’re the best candidate for the position. Use skills and achievements that are relevant to the job you’re going for.
SKILLS List of your best and most important skills that match the job description.
PROFESSIONAL HISTORY Reverse chronological order… Job title, organisation, dates (month and year or year only). Description of key responsibilities List of accomplishments (quantifiable achievements are best)
EDUCATION Reverse chronological listing of… Degree, area(s) of study, institution, year graduated Optional - grade point average and recognition
QUALIFICATIONS Certifications, licenses, security clearances, etc.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS Memberships and related roles
OTHER Volunteer work, interest, hobbies (relevant to the job being applied for)
REFERENCES Name and contact info (phone, email)
If you need some additional information and assistance with writing your UK resume, then check out our CV Builder for more examples and stellar guidance.
In the UK, a resume is the same thing as a CV.
The UK format resume is very similar to a US format resume, with some key differences.
Create your UK CV in a format that best matches your background to emphasize your advantages.
Keep it clean, simple, and easy to read, and your CV will help you land a great job in the UK!
Garland is a writer and technology consultant that lives in far west Texas, USA. He is semi-retired from a successful 25-year career in the Information Technology industry, and now spends his time writing for various websites (mostly career development related). Garland holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance, and a master’s degree in Economics and Computer Information Systems.