When it comes to job hunting, your CV is paramount. Get it right, and you’ll have an interview in no time, but get it wrong, and you may face rejection after rejection. Every CV is different as you want to show why your set of skills makes you suitable for the position you’re applying for at that moment, but all follow a similar structure.
While the structure of a CV is flexible, bending to your unique skill set and experiences, there are particular sections that employers expect to see on your CV regardless.
Here are the sections you must include in your CV:
Name, professional title and contact details
The first part of your CV, positioned at the top of the page, should contain your name, professional title and contact details. Under no circumstances should you title your CV with ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’ as it’s a waste of valuable space. Treat your name as the title instead.
When it comes to your contact details, your email addresses and phone number(s) are essential. Once upon a time, it was customary to include your full address on your CV. Today, you simply need to list your town and county.
If you like, you can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile in this section.
A personal profile, also known as a personal statement, career objective and professional profile, is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It’s a short paragraph that sits just underneath your name and contact details giving prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you’re all about.
You should tailor your profile to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to the role. Aim to keep your personal statement short and sweet, and no longer than a few sentences. To make the most of this section, you should try to address the following:
• Who are you?
• What can you offer the company?
• What are your career goals?
Experience and employment history
Your employment history section gives you a chance to outline your previous jobs, internships and work experience.
List your experience in reverse chronological order as your recent role is the most relevant to the employer.
When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarizes the role. Then bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and bolster each point with verbs and figures to support each claim and showcase your impact.
It helps to choose the duties most relevant to the job you’re applying for, especially if it’s a long list. If you have many years’ worth of experience, you can reduce the detail of old or irrelevant roles.
Education and qualifications
Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you were there, followed by the qualifications and grades you achieved.
If you have a degree, you could list a few of the most relevant modules, assignments or projects underneath.
There is a range of additional sections that may strengthen your CV and highlight your skills. Here are just a few you can include if you have room:
Key skills: If you’re writing a functional CV, or have some abilities you want to show off to the employer immediately, insert a key skills section underneath your personal profile. You should aim to detail four to five abilities at most.-Augusta Henning