What You Should Include on Your CV

CVs can seem complicated from the outside. What should you put on your CV to really wow a hiring manager?



What to put on a CV?

Your CV is crucial to the success of your job search. How you represent your work experience and skills can make all the difference to hiring managers who are seeking new team members. There are five main sections that should be included in any good CV. They are:

1. Contact information

Feature your contact information up top in your CV header, including critical information like your full name, phone number and email address (as well as any links to professional networking pages, such as your LinkedIn profile) should be at the top of your CV. Always be sure to proofread your contact information carefully.

2. Personal statement on CV

Directly under your CV heading, there should be an objective or personal statement that acts as a short introduction to you as a job seeker, including your top skills and experiences so far.

3. Skills

Depending on which CV format you choose, your skills section may be the most important section of your CV. This section contains all of the hard and soft skills that make you ideal for the role they are applying for. When you write your CV skills section, consider the job description as well as your own skills and highlight any soft or hard skills that overlap. If you choose a functional CV format, the skills section will be more substantial and broken out into categories of skills.

4. Work experience

If you choose a standard chronological CV format, your work experience section will be highlighted. This section should be arranged in reverse chronological order with your current or most recent job title at the top of the page. Give 3-5 examples of duties or accomplishments for each job you’ve had, using action verbs that show ownership of your achievements. For example, say things like, “Achieved” or “Managed” rather than “Was responsible for.” This will make a good impression on the hiring manager or recruiter who reads your CV.

5. Education

This is the section for your relevant academic achievements, including professional training and certifications, as well as information about your college degree (or high school diploma, if you don’t have a degree).

These sections combined will create a complete CV that contains all of the information recruiters need to make a decision to invite you in for a job interview. Depending on the job you’re applying for and your background, you also have the option of adding additional sections.

Potential extra CV sections to include in your CV

If you have additional experience, skills or professional certifications that are relevant to the job application that you are undertaking then you should include them on your CV. The additional CV sections that can make your CV stand out are:

Certificates and licences

If you have professional certifications or licenses for relevant skills that will be beneficial to the job you are applying for, you should list them in your CV by creating a specific section for them.

Awards and honours

If you have received any awards or honours for actions related to your skill set, you can create a specific section for them. This is a good way to prove you have the right skills for a specific job.

Foreign languages

If you speak more than one language, you should definitely highlight this, especially if you are fluent. This section should be placed near your skills section.

Internships and volunteer work

If you have undertaken internships or volunteer work that would be relevant to the job you are applying for, you should create a specific section for this. While these positions shouldn’t be listed with your professional experience, they can be beneficial.

Remember, you should only add these sections if they contain information relevant to the job description. For more CV writing tips, CVHelp has a writing guide that walks you through creating your CV.

What not to include in your CV?

Generally speaking, you should provide as much relevant information as possible in your CV, but there are a few things that you should skip. These pieces of information take up valuable space that’s best used to provide other information:

  • Salary requirements
  • A picture
  • Your grades
  • Irrelevant skills
  • Irrelevant jobs

If you follow these simple tips, you will create a great CV and improve your chances of getting an interview for the job you’re after. If you want to make the CV writing process a little easier, you can also make use of CVHelp’s CV builder to create a high-quality, editable CV.

FAQ: what to put on a CV

Q: How long should my CV be?

In order to be scannable by applicant tracking systems (ATS) that employers use to review CVs, not to mention more appealing to recruiters, a CV should ideally be one page in length. There are some occasions in which a longer CV may be acceptable, like if you are applying for a senior position that requires you to display extensive work experience (such as a business management job or CFO). In most cases, however, one page is the best CV length.

Q: How much work history should I put on my CV?

A professional CV should feature no more than 10 years of work experience unless the job description specifies more experience is required.

Q: Which skills should I put on my CV?

Your CV should include any hard (technical) and soft (intangible) skills that are relevant to the job application you are undertaking. Consider the job description and make sure to use the right keywords in your skills section to help your CV through the applicant tracking system. For example, if you want to work in social media marketing, you should focus on the skills used to manage social media tasks like content creation, and graphic design, utilising soft skills such as time management and strong communication. CVHelp has a range of CV examples you can consider for inspiration.


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