A good CV should be:
- Targeted (demonstrating the relevance of experience, skills and qualifications to the job you are seeking).
- Concise (graduate/school leaver CVs should span no more than 2 pages).
- Correctly organised (sections labelled and ordered).
- Clear visual layout (do the content justice).
- Free from spelling or grammatical errors.
What you should include:
Personal Details: Name, Date of Birth, Address and Contact details are a minimum. Additional information such as Marital Status, Nationality or Number of Dependents can also be relevant (particularly for jobs that involve travel).
Profile: A brief rundown of key skills and attributes. Be careful not to ‘show off’ in this section. Use “I would consider myself” or “I believe myself to be”, rather than “I am”. Be modest. Make sure any claim you make is supported with evidence e.g. “My career demonstrates”, “I have a history of”.
Career History: Name of company, position held, a brief description of responsibilities, and start/finish dates are a minimum. Where relevant, use bullet points to list key skills and achievements (be careful not to use this list to make a reworded version of the job description above it!).
This is, in many cases, the most important section of your CV. You can increase its relevance or perceived value by ‘targeting’ it towards the role you are applying for. E.g. “- Responsible for a team of six individuals, thus demonstrating my ability to lead, delegate, organise, and motivate others.” (these skills are important in many roles, listing them can increase the perceived value of work experience in an otherwise unrelated industry).
Education: Name of institution (University, College or School), dates to/from and course program are a minimum. Omit unfavourable grades (if possible).
In most cases, the earlier you are in your career, the more relevant your education is. University or college graduates should give extra detail on syllabus or a dissertation piece. School leavers can add value by detailing extracurricular achievements (e.g. A Captain of a Sports Team, A Head Boy/Girl, Committee Group Leader).
Additional Skills & Qualifications: E.g UK Drivers Licence, Computer Literacy (MS Office Proficient), NEBOSH (Health & Safety) Construction Certificate or Language Skills.
Hobbies & Interests: This section is more important than you might think. Your interests will play a large role in how well you fit into the team you are hoping to join. Be as honest as you can.
References: 2-3 is the optimum amount. Name, Company, Position Held and Contact Details are a minimum. Be sure to ask permission (most employers will check at least one reference).
- Key Objectives, Goals or Ambitions
- Voluntary Work
- Armed Forces Experience
- Salary history