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What Should I Include in a CV?

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You have seven seconds to convince a recruiter you’re worth considering for a job. It’s a stat that makes CV writing even more stressful. There are common mistakes that can get your CV ignored, from incorrect formatting to unexplained gaps in your employment history. While it’s important to know what to avoid, it’s just as crucial to know what you should include in your CV.

Get started with our 13-step guide on how to write a CV that will guarantee you an interview. Our team of professional CV writers are breaking down exactly what you should include in your resume when applying for a new job.

The Sections Every CV Should Have

The sections in your CV will remain relatively consistent, regardless of whether you’re applying for an entry-level role or an executive position.

Most CVs will have the following sections:

  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Work experience
  • Educational background
  • Skills

These sections should provide the basic formatting for your CV. Recruiters will expect to see each of these clearly labelled. You might consider adding additional sections or information if it’s relevant to your industry and the position you’re applying to.

  • Awards and certificates
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Voluntary experience
  • Professional affiliations and memberships

We’re breaking down each of these sections to help you format your CV and ensure you include all the relevant information. Working with a professional CV writer will guarantee that your CV has all the information it needs. Check out our guide on how to choose the best CV writing service with fast turnarounds and affordable price points.

  1. Name and Contact Information

Don’t forget the basics. Your CV should include your name and contact information. You’ll usually feature your professional job title next to your name. Put your contact information near the top of your CV, next to your name and professional title. Ensure that your phone number and email address are correct.

  • Personal Statement

The start of your CV should feature a short personal statement or profile. This paragraph should be 2 to 4 sentences in length and is your elevator pitch. It should pique the recruiter’s interest and encourage them to read the rest of your CV. Tell your potential employer who you are, what you can offer their company and your long-term career goals.

  • Work Experience

The most important section of your CV is your work experience. Most candidates applying for the same role as you will have a similar educational background and skills. You want to use your work experience to stand out.

Over 90% of recruiters say work experience is the number one deciding factor when considering applications. Your work experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your current or most recent role at the top.

Each entry should include your job title, employer, and the dates of your employment. Give four to six bullet points for each position, highlighting your achievements and responsibilities in the role.

  • Education

Your educational background is usually one of the shortest sections of your CV. The structure of this will depend on where you are in your career.

If you’re a recent graduate or have been in the workforce for less than two years, you may want to focus more on your education and include any relevant coursework or highlight your dissertation. If you’re still at university, include your expected graduation date.

If you graduated more than two years ago, you should only list the name of your degree, your start and graduation date, along with the institution you studied at.

  • Skills

Over 90% of hiring managers and recruiters consider soft skills an essential factor in hiring decisions. Your skills section is the last major component in your CV and should focus on skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Highlight any desired skills mentioned in the job description and ensure you use them in your CV. It helps with keyword optimisation for application tracking systems, which most recruiters now use. Look at your work experience and education section for ideas of other skills you can list.

You should feature between 5 and 10 skills total with a mixture of soft, hard, and technical skills. Each skill should have a sentence demonstrating how you use it.

  • Additional Sections

Your CV should not be longer than two pages. If you have extra space, you might consider adding additional sections to showcase your professional portfolio and non-work-related achievements.

You can include the following sections and information:

  • Volunteering: 80% of hiring managers prefer to recruit candidates with volunteering experience.
  • Languages: If you’re applying for highly competitive roles, adding any foreign language skills can help you stand out against the competition. Ensure you include any certificates you have for studying these languages.
  • Hobbies: Give potential recruiters a look at who you are outside of work by including a short list of hobbies. It’s best to choose hobbies that are slightly related to your industry or not likely to raise eyebrows.
  • Awards and certifications: Academic, industry, and work-related awards and certificates are great ways to demonstrate your skills. Include the award title, its purpose, why you received it, and the date you were awarded it.
  • Professional affiliations and membership: You can list any professional bodies you’re a member of as part of your CV. It’s recommended to avoid mentioning any political parties you’re affiliated with unless relevant to the role you’re applying for.

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