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What Should You Include In Your CV?

CV Resources
Posted on: 01/12/2014

Having a well written CV can make or break your chances at securing that job you've always wanted. With so many people out there looking for the same job as you it is important to make sure that your CV is tailored to look professional and well written so that you sell yourself, your skills and what you can bring to the role.

What sections should you include?

It can sometimes be difficult knowing what you should include in your CV and what you should leave out. As much as you may want to mention a particular subject or talk about a certain aspect of yourself, you have to be ready to trim out the fat and only talk about what is essential. The key areas that should be included in every CV are:

  • Personal details
  • Personal profile
  • Employment history and work experience
  • Education and training
  • Interests and achievements
  • Additional information
  • References

What information should you include in them?

Knowing what sections to write about is one thing but knowing what exactly to put into them is another. With 7 ideal sections to write about, knowing how much to write and what to write about each one of them is important for tailoring the perfect CV.

  • Personal details: Main details include your name, address and contact details but it is up to you if you include other information such as your age, marital status or nationality. Make sure your e-mail address is appropriate too and consider maybe including your LinkedIn profile.
  • Personal profile: Summarise yourself, talking about your skills, work background and career aims. This should not be more than a few lines and avoid over-used terms like reliable, hardworking and team player – instead focus on relevant information and specific skills needed in the job.
  • Employment history: List all the jobs you have had starting with the most recent and working backwards, including the employer, job title, dates you worked for them and main duties. Go into more detail on jobs that are relevant and related to the position you are applying for, perhaps listing the information as a bullet-pointed list.
  • Education: As with employment, start with your highest graded and most recent qualifications and work backwards. Mention the university or school you attended, the date the qualification was awarded and what grades you achieved.
  • Interests: If you are involved with any clubs or societies it can be worth including them to highlight your ability to be social and work with others. Sporting activities are also encouraged as it shows you are healthy, fit and active. Avoid activities that are done alone unless relevant, such as playing games or reading, as it can give the wrong impression.
  • Additional information: Include only relevant information that you might not have included in any of the other sections when it is essential, such as if you own a driving license for a delivery job or foreign languages for a job abroad.
  • References: List your references by stating their name and relationship to you. If you don’t want to list your references on your CV or want to save space then you can include the line ‘references available on request’ at the bottom of your CV instead.

Length and structure

There is no set length or word count that a CV needs to follow per se but ideally you want your CV to fit neatly onto a single side of A4 or 2 pages on a double-sided print – it all depends on how much information you have to write. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that it looks neat, presentable and tidy rather than being overloaded with every detail of your life. Don’t try formatting tricks such as smaller fonts to get around this problem – the idea is that by restricting yourself to these lengths you ensure you are only including what is needed.

Tailoring and writing your CV is not a quick process. Be sure to follow our structural advice and look online for examples to see if you are on the right track.

Writing CVs