CV Sections: Tips & Examples

This article provides brief hints and examples for the main sections of a typical CV (Personal Profile, Work History, Education, References and Personal Interests).  

Personal Profile

– A short paragraph and/or list giving a brief overlay of relevant experience, skills, achievements and career objectives – This section is not compulsory for individuals with very short CVs, e.g. a school-leaver, as it will only introduce what is summarized in the rest of the CV – Keep it concise and factual (paragraphs should be no more than six lines)  

Examples:

“A diligent, committed and ambitious individual with a track record of meeting targets. Currently studying Hospitality Management at secondary college, I am interested in trainee managerial roles within the hotel industry.” “Enthusiastic, professional and highly persuasive individual. Long history of leading large teams to meet aggressive sales targets while driving cost efficiency. Seeking part-time consultancy-based roles within large companies engaging in business-to-business selling.” “Hard-working, sociable and extremely driven individual seeking mid-level roles within Investment Banking. I believe my CV demonstrates commitment, loyalty and an ability to create lucrative and long-lasting client relationships.” “Dynamic, persuasive and motivated individual with a career history that demonstrates loyalty and progression with employers. I am keen to pursue similar roles to those detailed below.” “Highly sociable individual with a strong academic background. Seeking internships within advertising or PR to further career development and build upon experience.”  

Work History

– Order your work experience chronologically, beginning with the most recent – Sell yourself! Focus on strengths: What did you do for the company? How did they benefit from having you around? Do not include weaknesses, mistakes, or your reason for leaving – Make the most of ALL experience (just because your old job is different to the one you are targeting now doesn’t mean that you didn’t learn any relevant transferable skills) – Quantify impressive achievements (by how much did you increase sales?) – Be careful not to exaggerate (it is highly likely that you will be quizzed on your employment history at the interview stage) – Avoid industry jargon/technical terms if there is a chance that the reader will not understand them – Do not include salary unless requested  

Examples:

Feb 1999 IT Technician to Info Tech Assosciates Present London Provided IT support via outcall to a range of clients. Assisting with general IT needs and solving problems. – Provided general IT support for teams of up to 30 individuals – Responsible for training younger team members – Often worked alone (on outcall), prioritizing and organizing my time accordingly     Jan 2008 Sales Assosciate to Clothing Boutique Ltd Present Birmingham Sales, stock and cashier assistant for a high-end fashion retailer. – 1 of 5 individuals running a shop with average daily revenue of £4,500 – Responsible for stock management, cashing up and generally assisting customers – The only non-management team member entrusted with opening and locking up     Jan 2003 Accountant (ACA) to Emmer Accountants Ltd Mar 2006 Bradford Part of outsource team providing financial services to British Telecom. – Directed team of four in general ledger department – Communicated and liaised with external auditors – Generated monthly close of financial statements for management – Introduced corporate tax scheme that increased net margin by 0.4%     Jan 2003 Kindergarten Teacher to City Primary School Mar 2009 Manchester Kindergarten and secondary teaching roles. – Proven ability to manage large classrooms (up to 30 children) while meeting strict codes of practice – Adapting the curriculum for varying levels of ability – Successfully developed a comfortable learning environment for pupils – Secondary roles: ‘Playtime’ and PE supervision     Mar 2010 Caretaker to Primary Grounds Jan 2011 Bristol Responsible for the general upkeep and safekeeping of 500 acres of National Trust countryside.    

Education

– If you are a career beginner, e.g. a graduate or school leaver, you should put this section before ‘Work History’; ‘Education’ is your most relevant and valuable asset – Individuals that left full-time education a long time ago (e.g. 8 years or more) should place ‘Education’ after ‘Work History’ and need only list institution and qualification (e.g. Langley School / O-Level) – Order education chronologically, beginning with the most recent – School leavers who studied multiple programs (e.g. GCSE and A-Level) should leave the ‘Degree or Program’ field blank and use the ‘Paragraph’ field to detail subject and grades, e.g: A-Level: English (B), French (B), Geography (B) GCSE: English (B), French (C), Mathematics (B), History (C), Double Science (CC), Geography (C) – Leave out bad grades – Use predicted grades if you have not finished your course or program – Supplement your academic record by using the list to detail extra-curricular activities and achievements  

Examples:

Sep 1998 Oak City School to Jul 2003 A-Level: English (b), Spanish (c), History (a) GCSE: English (b), Mathematics (a), History (a), Science (bb), Spanish (b), Geography (d) – Prefect, responsible for the supervision of younger pupils – 1st team hockey – Duke of Edinburgh Bronze   Sep 1985 Ludley Secondary School to Jul 1991 O-Level: English, Mathematics, Science and History   Oct 1997 Peterborough College to BTEC Plumbing Jul 2000 – Introduction to the practical applications of plumbing work through to industry standards and regulation. – Completed a range of basic plumbing skills: safety, prep, pipe-work, bending and soldering   Sep 2003 Leeds University to BA Political Sciences Jul 2006 – Broad coverage of political ideologies with a focus on modern-day systems. – Dissertation piece: ‘Structural Adjustment Programs in North Africa – Accounting & finance supplementary business modules   Sep 2003 London School of Economics to Jul 2006 – PHD in Financial Asset Pricing Models & Quantitative Finance – Overview of how investors determine the value of assets in financial markets. – Detailed critique of CAPM asset pricing model – Detailed critique of DCF asset pricing model – Presentation of own asset pricing models – Published in several university journals  

References

– A ‘Reference’ is a person that can verify your credentials and all or part of the information in your CV – A reference can be a former or current employer, a client, teacher or a contact from a recognised industry body (e.g. lawyer, doctor) – Ensure to ask the permission of your referee (it is likely they will be contacted) – Use at least one reference, providing name, relationship and contact details (you may wish to make contact details ‘available upon request’ if you are applying for many jobs) – The ‘References’ section should go at the bottom of your CV  

Examples:

  John Smith Former line manager (British Gas) 01234 5678901   Sally Eckles Former English teacher (Westgate Secondary) Contact details available upon request.   Dean Lawrenson Family GP dl@bishopsgatepractice.org  

Personal Interests

– Keep this section brief and concise: paragraphs should not exceed 6 lines – Mention interests relevant to the job but also those that may set you apart from other candidates and provide talking points at interview  

Examples:

– Keen golfer (handicap 4) – Photography – Cycling