What to include in a CV
You’ve got just five to 10 seconds to convince the hiring manager to continue reading your application, so it’s vital to know what to include in a CV
Your CV will likely be the first point of contact you have with a potential employer, which means you need to present yourself in the best light. And, when we’re caught up in trying to do so, it’s easy to forget to include even the most basic information.
Luckily, we’ve put together a list of everything you’ll need to include in a CV.
Profile and contact details
Would you confidently walk up to a stranger, introduce yourself and immediately share your telephone number, email address and the URL of your LinkedIn profile? Chances are, you wouldn’t. However, this is exactly what you need to do on your CV. Your full name and contact details should be clearly visible at the top of the page. If the hiring manager is impressed with what they see and they’d like to invite you to an interview, make sure they know exactly how to contact you.
We’d also recommend including a short profile section before you delve into your experience and qualifications. There’s no need for more than sentence or two to explain who you are, what you do and why you’re the perfect fit for the role. Highlight any outstanding professional achievements or, if you’re in the early stages of your career, refer to your career ambitions.
Education and professional qualifications
Regardless of whether you’ve completed a degree or post-graduate level course, listing your qualifications is a must. Always start with your most recent (and usually highest level) qualification, then work backwards. Unless specified in the job description, you don’t need to list grades for your GCSEs and A-Levels. You may have also completed vocational training courses, for example a first aid course, which can really work in your favour. Depending on the role, you may also be asked to confirm that you have a valid driving license.
Transferable and technical skills
Whether you’re bilingual, a dab hand at scouring databases or an incredible negotiator, identify the skills that make you unique and then showcase them in a dedicated section of your CV. When specific software packages have been mentioned in the job advertisement, you may wish to state your level of proficiency with them too. Illustrating which skills would transfer well into the job you’re applying for can actually be more effective than mirroring the ones listed in the job description – as although you do want to show how you’re the perfect fit, standing out from other candidates is equally as important.
For most people, this section makes up the bulk of your CV – and it’s what makes it totally unique to you. List no more than your previous five positions in reverse chronological order. Include the company name, your role, your start and finish dates, plus a sentence or two about your responsibilities. You may opt for a couple of brief bullet points for each role, or perhaps a little more for your most recent position if you’ve been there for some time.
As with all aspects of the job application process, consistency and attention to detail is incredibly important on your CV. Don’t forget to ask a trusted friend or family member to proofread the document for you, before pairing it with your cover letter and sending it over to the hiring manager.