As a jobseeker your CV is your digital profile, advertising all your professional achievements and experience. Get it right, and interview offers will quickly fill your inbox and the likelihood of you finding your next career opportunity will increase dramatically.
Each CV is different and should be a reflection of your own personal achievements and skillsets; if you’re really doing it right, you’ll personalise each CV for each application, adapting your skills and experience to show your suitability for the role you’re applying for. Despite some small changes, your CV should follow a recognisable structure to ensure employers and hiring managers can easily recognise your positive attributes.
What needs to be in your CV in 2019
While the structure of your CV can have some flexibility, there are certain sections that employers will expect to see on your CV regardless on skill set and experiences.
Here are the sections that must be included in your CV:
Name, contact details and professional title
The start of your CV, (at the top of the page) should show your name, professional title (if currently employed) and the contact details that are best to reach you on. We highly recommend avoiding the title ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’ as it’s a waste of important space. Use your name as the title instead. We also encourage included a link to your LinkedIn profile should you have one, this will help to expand on your experience.
When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are crucial, but make sure they’re relevant to what you use – there’s no point putting your landline number if you’re never home to answer it (a mobile will work just fine). Also ensure that if you have a personalised voicemail, that this is professional!
A personal profile, (also known as a personal statement, career objective or professional profile) is arguably the most important aspect of your CV. It’s a short paragraph directly underneath your name and contact details that gives potential employers an impression 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:
1. Who you are and what you’re like
2. What you can offer the company
3. What your career goals are
New research has named ‘adaptability’ as the most wanted skill of 2019, however, it seems that a whopping 85% are failing to include this on their CVs.
Experience and employment history
Your employment history section allows you to talk about your previous jobs and work experience. Always list your experience in reverse chronological order (newest job at the top) as your most recent role will be the most relevant to your potential employer.
When listing each position of employment, state:
1. Your job title
2. Your employer
3. Your employment dates
4. A line or two that summarises your role
It’s important to also bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and support each claim with evidence that showcases your impact.
It helps to choose the responsibilities that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for, especially if it may be a long list. If you have many years’ of experience, you can cut the detail of old or irrelevant jobs. If you have positions from over 10 years’ ago, you can delete them.
Education and qualifications
Similar to your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the names of the schools/colleges/apprenticeship providers/universities and the dates you attended, followed by the qualifications and grades you achieved during your time there.
If you have a degree, you could list a few of the most relevant modules, assignments or projects underneath, of if you’ve just left school, make sure to include your GCSE/A-Levels. For professionals that are a little further along in their careers, make sure to include any relevant training/courses.
Key skills: If you’re writing a functional CV or have some skills you want to show to the employer immediately, insert a key skills section underneath your personal profile. You should aim to detail four to five abilities.
What not to include
A headshot/picture/selfie: In many countries, it’s common/expected to include a photo of yourself on your CV; the UK is not one of them.
Age/date of birth: Your age doesn’t affect your ability to do the job, and it’s illegal for employers to ask about age under the Equality Act 2010.
Marital status: Like your age, your marital status and/or dependents don’t affect your ability to do your job. These details are also protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, and it’s against the law for employers to ask about them, so don’t include them on your CV.
Your CV is your chance to make a great first impression and secure yourself an interview. Get your CV right from the outset, and you could find a job more quickly, and set yourself apart from the rest.