CV Structure: How to and Examples (+Template to Use)

We all know what a CV needs to contain. Relevant experience and education, stand out skills and impressive professional achievements are the key to success. But they won’t do you any good unless you incorporate them into the right CV structure.

 

A good CV structure is essential to frame your content and present it in a logical and easy to understand format. Recruiters are busy people and they expect to find the information they need fast. Get it wrong and they won’t hesitate to move straight on to the next application in the pile.

 

But keep reading, and in just five minutes you’ll discover exactly how to structure a CV to make a great first impression and give recruiters exactly what they want. A clear, well set out CV that proves you’re the answer to their hiring prayers. 

 

Create an effective CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and fill in every section of your CV in a flash using ready-made content and expert tips.

 

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The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

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CV structure example

 

Sandra Burns

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: sburns_lcuk@gmail.com 

 

Target-driven recruitment consultant with 5 years of experience sourcing top talent in the finance sector. Focussed on sourcing the best talent for each individual client using proactive sourcing and pursuit of candidates. Seeking to further develop my ability to deliver a fast and cost-effective recruitment process and assist FinPower in it’s continued pursuit of excellence in hiring the best corporate talent.

 

Work Experience

 

Recruitment Consultant

City Guild Recruitment, London

July 2015–Present

  • Sourced high quality candidates for top financial institutions based in the City of London and abroad.
  • Achieved excellent feedback from hiring managers, recording a 90% plus satisfaction rate with hires.
  • Meticulously matched candidates to client requirements through careful communication and honest assessment.
  • Completed an average of 70 first and second stage interviews per calendar month, exceeding target by 25%.
  • Generated income 15% plus above targets in every quarter of employment.

 

Education 

 

BSc Management (Human Resources), September 2011–June 2015

University of Manchester

 

Skills

 

  • Industry knowledge: Attended finance industry conferences and kept up to date with industry news to develop and maintain expertise and credibility.
  • Sales: Achieved high sales figures by tailoring products to client needs and undercutting competitor rates where required.
  • Leadership: Mentored and trained new starters.
  • Software: Advanced user of Recruiterflow and Recruit CRM.
  • Communication: Kept clients and candidates updated through various channels, from phone and email to LinkedIn, Slack and other messaging services.

 

Languages

 

  • German—B2

 

Now you know how a well-structured CV looks like. Here’s how to achieve the same effect.

 

How to structure a CV from top to bottom

 

The most commonly used CV structure is known as a chronological CV. It’s the best choice for most candidates and the structure that hiring managers have come to expect as standard. It’s easy to read, concentrates on your work experience, and is fully compatible with the ATS software companies use to scan your application.

 

And now, let’s take a look at each section from top to bottom so you can see exactly how to go about creating the perfect CV structure.

 

1. CV header

 

Start off at the top of the page with a CV header. It’s the section that contains your name and personal details. Include your full name in a CV font 6–8 pts larger than the body text for emphasis. Think of it as your personal ‘brand’, it needs to stand out. Then include your job title, phone number, email address and a link to your LinkedIn profile.

 

Optionally, you can include links to social media profiles if relevant but there’s no need to include your postal address. It’s an unnecessary waste of space, and every line counts, especially if you’re trying to structure a one-page CV.

 

Sandra Burns

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: sburns_lcuk@gmail.com 

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

2. CV summary

 

This section also goes by the name of CV profile or personal statement. But they all mean exactly the same thing. A short paragraph, 3–5 lines long that introduces you and summarises your strengths as a candidate. Make it attention grabbing and impactful. The idea is to introduce yourself in such a way that the hiring manager can’t help but want to find out more.

 

And you may find this part of your CV structure easier to write if you leave it until last. Having the rest of your content already written makes it much simpler to create a summary of it.

 

Personal Statement

 

Target-driven recruitment consultant with 5 years of experience sourcing top talent in the finance sector. Focussed on sourcing the best talent for each individual client using proactive sourcing and pursuit of candidates. Seeking to further develop my ability to deliver a fast and cost-effective recruitment process and assist FinPower in it’s continued pursuit of excellence in hiring the best corporate talent.

 

3. Work experience

 

This is the linchpin of your CV structure and the section that recruiters pay the most attention to. List your work history in reverse chronological order. Include the same basic info for each entry, citing your job title, the name of the employer and your dates of employment.

 

Then write up to six bullet points for each job listed. Start them with punchy CV action verbs and strengthen your CV structure by writing them as accomplishment statements. 

 

Work Experience

 

Recruitment Consultant

City Guild Recruitment, London

July 2015–Present

  • Sourced high quality candidates for top financial institutions based in the City of London and abroad.
  • Achieved excellent feedback from hiring managers, recording a 90% plus satisfaction rate with hires.
  • Meticulously matched candidates to client requirements through careful communication and honest assessment.
  • Completed an average of 70 first and second stage interviews per calendar month, exceeding target by 25%.
  • Generated income 15% plus above targets in every quarter of employment.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Education

 

Here’s where the structure of a CV doesn’t have to be completely rigid. In a CV structure for students, school-leavers and recent graduates you can put your education section before your work experience. When you lack a significant work history your education holds more relevance.

 

But regardless of where you put this section it still needs the same information. If you’re a university graduate or student, mention the name of your degree, the start and end dates of your studies and the name of your university. Use an expected graduation date if you’re still studying.

 

For school-leavers include the name of the school or college you attended, the A-level subjects you completed and your dates of study. Including your GCSEs isn’t strictly necessary, unless you’re still at school or have just left. But if you do include them you only need to list Maths and English specifically. Mention the number of subjects you studied to account for the rest.

 

Education 

 

BSc Management (Human Resources), September 2011–June 2015

University of Manchester

 

5. Skills

 

How to structure a CV skills section? The temptation is just to throw in some buzzword type abilities and hope for the best. But it’s much more effective to take a targetted approach. Your entire CV structure, including your skills section, should be tailored to the job you’re applying for.

 

Read the job advert carefully and make a list of the skills that are mentioned. Then list your own skills and include those that match up with the job requirements, 5–10 is an ideal number. Make sure you include a good mix of soft skills and hard skills.

 

And while you should always write a targetted skills list, some abilities are useful in almost any job. IT skills and communication skills are a great choice for any candidate.

 

Skills

 

  • Industry knowledge: Attended finance industry conferences and kept up to date with industry news to develop and maintain expertise and credibility.
  • Sales: Achieved high sales figures by tailoring products to client needs and undercutting competitor rates where required.
  • Leadership: Mentored and trained new starters.
  • Software: Advanced user of Recruiterflow and Recruit CRM.
  • Communication: Kept clients and candidates updated through various channels, from phone and email to LinkedIn, Slack and other messaging services.

 

6. Additional sections

 

If you finish with your skills section then you’ve got the bare minimum needed for an effective CV structure. But in a competitive job market, the bare minimum simply won’t do. That’s why we recommend you include extra sections to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

 

Consider including languages, awards, volunteering, projects and hobbies and interests. If it’s relevant and adds value it’s worth including. Volunteering in particular is an underappreciated addition to your CV. In fact, one survey revealed that a full 64% of recruiting decision-makers viewed volunteering as an important addition to a CV.

 

Languages

 

  • German—B2

 

Skills-Based CV Structure

 

There’s one other type of CV structure in the UK, and it’s known as a functional or skills-based CV. It’s much less popular and it can only be used successfully by a limited group of candidates. These include freelancers and gig-based workers, military transitioners and people writing a career change CV. 

 

Structure for a skills-based CV

 

  1. CV header
  2. CV personal profile
  3. Skills summary
  4. Work experience
  5. Education
  6. Additional sections

 

If you do fall into any of the categories mentioned above, we’d recommend taking a look at our guide on how to write a skills-based CV.

 

CV layout

 

A professional CV structure isn’t just about the order of sections. It’s also about the overall presentation and CV layout. Here’s how to keep it looking sharp.

  • Set your margins to one inch on each side and your line spacing to 1.15.
  • Double space between CV sections.
  • Choose an easy-to-read CV font set at 11 or 12 pts. Good choices include Helvetica, Cambria and Tahoma.
  • Use bold and italics to highlight important information, but be consistent with your use of font formatting.
  • Save your CV as a PDF file to keep the layout intact.

 

And that’s it. Follow this advice and you’ll have the best CV structure possible for impressing hiring managers and winning interviews.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

cv builder

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now

 

Thanks for reading. If you want to know more about creating an effective CV writing structure, or if you have more questions about how to structure a UK CV then please ask in the comment section. We’ll be happy to help.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team

LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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