What to include on your CV? What information can go on your CV? What information should a CV include?
Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth (although with age discrimination laws now in force this isn’t essential), telephone number and email.
Many people forget to put in this crucial information – such oversight is not excusable and will cost you a job when a potential employer cannot contact you!
Education and qualifications
The detail that is included depends on where you are in your career.
Recent graduates who have not had much work experience should include; their degree subject and university, plus A levels and GCSEs or equivalents. Mention grades unless poor!
For people who have had significant work experience, education, qualifications and courses need to be included, but will not be the focus of the CV. These may appear after the work experience section and will not go into the detail of grades, university and topics covered.
- Use action words such as developed, planned and organised.
- Relate the skills to the job. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem solving skills so focus on these whereas for a marketing role you would place a bit more emphasis on persuading and negotiating skills.
Interests and achievements
- Keep this section short and to the point.
- Bullets can be used to separate interests into different types: sporting, creative etc.
- Don’t use the old boring cliches here: “socialising with friends”.
- Don’t put too many passive, solitary hobbies (reading, watching TV, stamp collecting) or you may be perceived as lacking people skills.
- Show a range of interests to avoid coming across as narrow: if everything centres on the sport they may wonder if you could hold a conversation with a client who wasn’t interested in the sport.
- Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary can help you to stand out from the crowd: Some books suggest skydiving or mountaineering as showing a sense of wanting to stretch yourself and an ability to rely on yourself in demanding situations, however, some recruiters suggest that these types of hobbies make you sound immature and dangerous.
- Any interests relevant to the job are worth mentioning: current affairs if you wish to be a journalist, a fantasy share portfolio if you want to work in finance.
- Any evidence of leadership is important to mention: captain or coach of a sports team, course representative, chair of a student society, scout leader.
- Anything showing evidence of employability skills such as team working, organising, planning, persuading, negotiating etc.
- The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational French, basic Spanish), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills” and driving (“full current clean driving licence”).
- If you have lots of relevant skills to offer or need to focus on your transferable skills, a skills-based CV may work for you
It is advisable not to mention referees in the CV. If you must mention it – say references available on request. This way when it comes time to take up references you will be able to select the most appropriate references and brief the references on what is required
Tailoring your CV
The order in which you present these, and the emphasis which you give to each one, will depend on what you are applying for and what you have to offer.
For example, a person looking to move into a new field will start with skills and emphasise any possible transferable skills from past experience.
If you are applying for more than one type of work, you should have a different CV tailored to each career area, highlighting different aspects of your skills and experience.
A personal profile at the start of the CV can be effective to help you to stand out from the crowd. If used, it needs to be original and well written. Don’t just use the usual hackneyed expressions: “I am an excellent communicator who works well in a team…” You will also need a covering letter to accompany your CV.