You’ve determined which kind of CV you are going to write, but what about the content? What do you include, what do you omit and what comes first? We’ve put together a content guide to assist you when constructing your “interview winning CV”.
- Your full name, address and postcode, phone numbers (home and mobile) and email address
Personal profile (optional)
- A focused summary of what you have to offer
- Designed to grab the reader’s attention and highlight what is to come
- Summarises what you have to offer in a way that links to the employer’s needs
- Write a factual and focused personal profile targeted at the employer’s needs.
Key skills and competencies (optional)
- A focussed summary of your key skills
- Matches the employers needs in terms of job organisation
- Highlights transferable skills and competencies, which can be useful if you’re changing direction
- Look at the skills and competencies mentioned in similar job ads and highlight them in your CV. Order your skills, competencies and achievements to match their priorities
- Start with your most recent position and work backwards
- Employers are usually interested in your most recent jobs, so concentrate on your last two positions – although you might occasionally want to highlight earlier relevant roles
- Treat a promotion like a separate position
- Give the job title, dates you started and left the job, the name of the company and a brief description of what they do
- List any of your main responsibilities, achievements, duties and skills that relate to the new position
- Describe the scope of your job and level of responsibility rather than giving task lists or a job description
- Highlight your achievements and successes such as increased sales, meeting deadlines, cost savings. You can do this job by job or in a separate section early on in the CV. Back them up with numerical evidence (“Increased sales by £50K over 6 months”)If you’ve had a lot of different roles or a long career, summarise just the key points about earlier roles under a subheading such as “Previous Employers” or “Earlier Career” or “Background”
- Explain any significant gaps such as career breaks or unemployment.
Qualifications, education, training and development
- Usually these come near the end, but if particular qualifications are essential for the job and make you more marketable (for example in technical and IT roles), put them after your profile or key skills.
- Start with the most recent ones as they are usually of most value
- Give relevant professional qualification and academic ones, but don’t include “bought” memberships
- List degrees or any executive programmes you have attended and give the subject, awarding body and year so that they can be checked
- Summarise your school achievements (e.g. 3 A-levels and 8 GCSEs). Only list subjects if they are particularly relevant to your future role or if you haven’t got a degree
- Add any relevant skills such as languages, technology, vocational or on the job training
- Include any relevant training or skills acquired while unemployed, on sabbatical or doing part-time or voluntary work
- Anything you add must add value to your offer; charitable activities may match an organisations public commitment to working in the community
- Don’t detail driving experience if it’s not relevant
References and client endorsements
- Include Referees, this will indicate that you are happy for past employers to be approached to confirm the information you have given.
- Include client endorsements and recommendations in the achievements section of your CV – for example “Given a special award by White Horse Employment for contribution to a client’s project”
Remember, often your CV is the first chance to show what you have to offer, and serves to promote your potential, so with only a short time to impress a potential employer, what will make your CV stand out? If you have any questions, or looking or advice, why not email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and your advice may appear in our blog.