A good CV will demonstrate your suitability to the hiring manager reading it, but also you want them to believe they’ve found the ideal person for the role. Knowing how to write a successful CV is crucial nowadays to secure your dream job. Here in this article, we wanted to highlight the elements you’ll need to include to make sure your CV is more successful.
- Contact information
- Summary/Personal profile
- Work experience
You would be surprised how many people forget to include their contact details on their CV. The rest of the document could be amazing, but if the hiring manager has no method of contacting you, it could mean you miss out on that job.
Your CV should start with your name, then followed by your contact details. Here’s what you should include:
- Personal email address
- Personal phone number
- Website and LinkedIn profile links – optional
When applying for roles, make sure you have a professional-looking email – don’t apply with an email you used as a teenager. Think something like firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com. Secondly, avoid adding links to your personal social media profiles. Hiring managers don’t need to see your Instagram or Facebook profiles to make a decision, at worst it could hamper your chances if you’ve got embarrassing posts, photos or videos on there.
There’s no need to include your address either, it doesn’t add anything to your CV. After several years in the industry, space on your CV becomes a premium, so an extra line is far more valuable. They’ll need your address if they offer you the role, but they’ll ask for it.
Following your name and contact details, you’ll want to include a short profile about yourself. Highlight your top skills and experience, mentioning any notable projects and clients you’ve worked for in the past.
Make sure you pack it full of positive words where relevant – confident, detail orientated, flexible, motivated. You want the profile to give the hiring manager an idea of who you are as a person, enough to make them want to read on to the next section.
This is the most important part of your CV. Hiring managers may even skip the first few sections and head straight to your experience. A good hiring manager will be able to determine your suitability based on experience remarkably quickly.
In terms of ordering your roles, we recommend starting with your latest role and responsibilities, working backwards to your first job. If you’re looking to move back into a different sector or function, then you may adopt two experience sections – the first with all your relevant experience, the second to fill in the gaps.
For each role, you’ll want to include the following:
- Role title
- Company name
- If the employer was a small business, include a brief description about the company and what they do
- Dates – e.g. June 2017 – September 2019
- Short paragraph outlining responsibilities and achievements
- Numbers and metrics to demonstrate your achievements
If you’ve received multiple promotions within the same company, you may choose to move the company name to the start of a section, so you only have to state the job title for each role.
Try to keep your CV to 2 pages if possible. If you have 10+ years of experience, you may run over onto a third page, but you’ll find it useful to condense descriptions for roles during your early career – just state the job title, company, dates. The most recent experience will do the talking for you.
As you get further in your career, the education section becomes less and less important – experience is your most valuable asset. However, its still important to include your courses in detail. Like the experience section, order it from most recent to oldest.
For university degrees, you may mention several relevant modules, dissertation title and the overall result (2:1, 2:2 etc.). As you get further back into your education, you may choose to just mention the number of GCSEs at A – C grades you have, mentioning a few important ones like Science, Maths and English.
The skills section can serve as a bit of a conclusion to your CV, but its also a place to showcase any other useful skills you might not have mentioned earlier in your CV. You should aim to list around 5 or 6 key skills you possess with a quick line on your achievements using those skills.
Definitely look to include any additional languages you speak and the level you can speak it – basic, intermediate or expert.
This section should be adapted for every role you apply for. Analyse each job description and identify what skills they’re looking for, then try to include these into your skills section if possible.
Hopefully you’ve got some referees lined up, who are ready to offer a reference on your behalf to a potential employer. Most people are more than happy to provide these. For most referees, it only takes 5 minutes or so, a quick paragraph about your experience, personality and professional manner.
However, there’s no need to mention these referees on your CV. Simply putting “Available on request” is sufficient for most hiring managers as they’ll only take references when offering you the job.
How to write a great CV?
Now you know what elements to include in your CV, its time to start writing it. Thankfully, we put together a few more tips to help you write a CV that can secure you invites to interviews. You could also see how long your CV should be?