Your CV is your passport to a job interview. It's your chance to show an employer you've got the skills and experience required, and that you’re the right person for the job.
Whether you're writing your first CV or tweaking your existing one, you may have questions about what to include, how to word your CV and how to lay it out.
Your personal details
You should include your name, address and contact details. It's up to you whether you include your age, marital status and nationality – recruiters should be able to make a decision about your skills and abilities without this information.
Your personal profile
Your 'personal profile' should summarise your:
Skills and qualities
Work background and achievements
It should only be a few lines and must grab the reader's attention. For example, if the job involves working with people, you could say you're a good team-worker and an effective communicator. Be brief - you can highlight examples of your skills in later sections.
It is key that you include all your professional qualifications. It is also important to include the year that you got that qualification. For example:
May 2005 – Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS)
Education and training
This should be presented in chronological order with the most recent education first. Please include the name of the educational institution, the location, the dates, the course, and grades (where relevant). For example:
2001 – 2004: Reading University, BSc (Hons) Property Investment and Management: (2:1)
Employment history and work experience
This again must be written in a chronological order with the most recent first as this is the most relevant to a future employer. Please state the company name, location, dates of employment and the job title. Pull out areas of responsibility, achievements, clients and successes, especially ones that are most relevant to the targeted job. Also explain what the organisations you worked for do and their successes.
Try to relate your skills and experience to the job description or what you think the employer is looking for, if you're sending your CV on spec. Also include any relevant temporary work and volunteering experience.
Avoid unexplained gaps in your employment history. If you had time out travelling, job seeking, volunteering or caring for a relative, include this along with details of what you've learned.
Interests and achievements
You can include hobbies, interests and achievements that are relevant to the job. For example, if you're involved in any clubs or societies this can show that you enjoy meeting new people. Try to avoid putting activities like cooking or reading, as these activities are too general and widespread to be of interest to an employer. Make them specific and interesting!
You can include this section if you need to add anything else that's relevant, such as explaining that a gap in your employment history was due to travel or family reasons. You could also include other relevant skills here, such as if you have a driving license or can speak any foreign languages.
At least one referee should be work-related; or if you haven't worked for a while, some other responsible person who has known you for quite a while. You can list the contact details of your referees on your CV or just put 'references available on request'. If you decide to include their details you could also state the relationship of each referee to you – for example 'John Turner, Line Manager'.
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