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Advice on writing CVs

Listen to an interview with a recruitment expert, who talks about his experience of reading CVs and offers some good advice on writing them.

Do the Preparation task first. Then listen to the audio. Next go to each Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the transcript at any time.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Weak forms are syllable sounds that become unstressed in connected speech and are often then pronounced as a schwa.

In the sentence below the first 'do' is a weak form and the second is stressed.

What do you want to do this evening?

Weak forms are very common in English. Listen carefully and fill in the gaps with the missing words typed out in full.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


Hello Peter
I have a little question about the listening task number 1 (yes, I am the only man in the world that read and do these tasks!!). Last sentence of that exercise is: "Woodrow names two languages from Asia as being useful." I answered "true", but it is uncorrect answer, because then I read the transcript the passage where the recruiter said: "Spanish is useful, Russian, Mandarin Chinese too ..."
Ok, Russian is not an "asian" language, but is this the kind of questions that I will really meet during a Ielts listening test? I'm quite frightened...
thanks in advance, bye

Hello Gallo78,

International tests such as IELTS are quite careful to make sure that their questions and tasks are focused on the language rather than other knowledge - such as geographical knowledge - so you are unlikely to find this kind of question in a test like that. After all, it would be quite unfair to fail someone in a language exam because they don't know geography!

For examples of the kinds of questions you can find in these kinds of tests you might take a look at our site for IELTS candidates - Take IELTS. You'll find sample materials there and descriptions of the types of questions included.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr. Peter,

I would like to ask you for advice. In about one month I will have an interview (I applied for a scholarship for doctoral studies in chemistry). My English is good, but I still have problems in communication. Can you please give me an advice what is the best way to improve my communication skills in this not so long time period? How to prepare myself for such an interview? Every your advice will be helpful to me.

Thank you in advance.

Kindest regards,

Hello Belma,

I'd recommend you listen to a lot of English. Our Big City Small World series and Elementary Podcasts have lots of conversational English that you can listen to, and there are some videos in Writing for a purpose that could also be useful. (There's also an app for Elementary Podcasts if that interests you.)

I'd also recommend searching YouTube for 'how to prepare for an academic interview' – I'm sure you can find some good sources there as well. Finally, our Facebook page has lots of useful advice on improving your speaking which might also be useful to you.

Good luck!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello everybody from Spain,

The first of all I want to say is that the advices are right but obvious too, I know that my resume can't have more than one page and that it can't have spelling mistakes. In my opinion the best way to create a good resume is try to do it original in order to difference to the rest of the people and not to use basic templates, in google you can find a lot of them very helpful.

In my country is better to attach a picture in your resume, so if you are thinking about to work in Spain, try to put a good picture of you in your CV and in the social networks too (Linkedin and so on).

Hello British council Team,

I would like to ask you about the Placement part. I've just finished my studies of Airline management. It's a technical programme and I'm currently working at an airline. It's a Placement or internship job. I read Marwa1083's comment on this, so I'm planning on looking for a job at an airline, since I'm about to finish the current one. Isn't it important to mention the airline intership experience? Or the previous comment was something specific? Thanks in advanced for your answer.

Hello juse803roa,

As the advice in the text says, you should state all of your relevant experience, including placements and internships:

John Woodrow: Perhaps your high school, but it’s mostly further education we’re interested in, university or college, then any professional qualifications you may have, as well as work experience, of course.

Interviewer: That’s important?

John Woodrow: Oh yes – placements or internships all count!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

What does the word placement -on this paragraph-mean???
Woodrow suggests that placements are not important when describing your experience.
Thanks in advance

Hello Marwa1083,

A placement is a form of temporary work which is part of a course of study. For example, someone studying accountancy might have a placement in an accountancy firm for six months so that he or she can gain experience of the work in the real world. The work is usually paid, but at a lower rate than normal.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks, Peter