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Explaining Your C.V.

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

These materials are designed to help you to prepare for a lesson on: Explaining Your C.V.

Typically, this is a necessary skill for a job interview, but also links closely to introducing yourself in more detail and is an excellent way of making sure that you are able to structure interrelated past events well, i.e. using past tenses really well.


  • Firstly, look at the preparation tasks that I have chosen to help you to develop this skill.

  • Then, look at the materials provided to help with your preparation tasks and in terms of your general understanding of this particular skill.

  • Lastly, complete the tasks prior to the lesson. (Starting by having the student complete a preparation tasks gives me an understanding of the learners ability with this task to effectively ensure and build on their understanding of appropriate language and vocabulary, good use of grammar and clear communicational skills to communicate clearly, confidently and professionally in English).


The Preparation Tasks

Your preparation task has arrived via email below;


The Materials

Content and what to focus on: provide a really useful page of information and advice on writing your C.V description as if it was being done in answer to the question "Tell me about your past work experience" so have a look for some good input around choosing content and to see some good examples.

Correct Tenses: Your grammar is very important with this task, as we need to express a lot of different actions that occurred in the past. In general, almost anything related to the past can be expressed in English using the Past Simple, assuming that all of the events described could be seen as happening one after another. For example;

"I went to University, then I studied Law then I became a Lawyer in 2008"...

However, this is not always the most effective way to structure events and could feel a bit lifeless and boring when given as an answer. So let's look at a couple of ways of giving our answers a bit more life.

1) Using a range of useful time expressions* to add structure:

  • I graduated from university in 1989.

  • During my time at x company, I started my own online business.

  • Previous to working for X company, I worked for a smaller competitor.

  • From the onset I was tasked with managing several projects.

  • Soon after, I was promoted to manager.

  • Consequently, I took on a lot more responsibility, for example...

  • Right at the very start, I had always wanted to work within the legal field.

*this is just a short list of examples; how many more do you know?

2) Using the Past Continuous to show when a main action happened:

  • Whilst I was working at x company, I was responsible for managing a team of ten people.

  • When I was managing the project, I secured several important contracts with clients.

3) Using the Past Perfect to show the cause of an action in the Past Simple:

  • Before I started to run my own business, I had worked for several private companies.

  • After I had graduated from university, I got a scholarship to study further.

  • I got a promotion because I had shown that I could manage the additional responsibility.

4) Using Past Simple Passive sentences to show achievements:

  • I was promoted to a senior role.

  • I was given a company car.

  • My achievements were recognised by the senior mangers.

Related Exercise: if you have not done so already, my post on the Gerund or Infinitive rules gives some useful vocab for this task -



Having looked at the materials and completed the preparation tasks, you are ready for the lesson. Send anything you have prepared to me if you would like me to look at it before the lesson -

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