What to Include in a CV: 6 Essential CV Sections for Success

Regardless of where you are in your career, writing a CV is a challenge. There’s so much competition for the best jobs that the pressure is immense. What’s worse, you sit down to write and it’s hard to even decide what to include in a CV.

 

But you’re about to learn that it’s easy to make that decision when you know what essential sections to include and how to structure them. You’ll also see what order to follow, what information to include and what you should leave out.

 

By the time you’re finished, you’ll know exactly what to include in a CV section by section to impress recruiters and get you more interviews. Let’s begin.

 

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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What to include in a CV: example

 

Justin Page

Ph: 0777 777 7777 

Email: jpage_lcuk@gmail.com

 

Creative marketing assistant with 2 years of experience in the digital marketing sector. Strong image editing and photography skills with a keen eye for accuracy in written copy. Seeking to further develop my abilities and contribute to Orpheus Solutions’ reputation for innovation and superior client service.

 

Work experience

 

Marketing assistant

The Greenfields Agency, London

September 2018–present

  • Supported a team of five marketing professionals, providing administrative and creative assistance.
  • Created compelling visual presentations for use in client pitches that helped secure six contracts worth a combined total of £70,000.
  • Suggested a streamlined method for invoice processing that increased payment speed by 20%/
  • Wrote accurate and convincing copy for Facebook and Google advert campaigns that helped secure clients £50,000+ in sales revenue.

 

Education

 

BA (Hons) Digital Marketing, September 2014–June 2018

Ravensbourne University London

 

Skills

 

  • Software. Advanced user of Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Publisher. 
  • Programming. Intermediate HTML coding skills.
  • Customer service. Built relationships with demanding corporate clients.
  • Teamwork. Took on additional responsibilities to ensure deadlines were met despite team member absences.
  • Written communication. Created company newsletter that won praise from the executive team.

 

Hobbie and Interests

 

  • Rugby. Volunteer coach for Rosslyn Park under-12s and volunteer steward for home matches at Priory Lane. 

 

What to include in a CV

 

Here are the sections you need to include in your CV. They’re arranged in order as they should appear on your CV, from top to bottom.

 

1. CV header

 

This is the first CV section that sits right at the top of the page. It contains your personal details. Include your full name, optionally in a CV font 4–8 pts larger than your body text for emphasis. Also include your job title, phone number, email address and a link to your Linkedin profile. You can also include social media handles if they’re relevant to the job.

 

And a gentle reminder, don’t include your postal address as it just wastes precious space, especially if you’re aiming to write a one-page CV. And leave out personal information like date of birth etc, as it just leaves you open to discrimination.

 

Example: what to include in the CV header

 

Justin Page

Ph: 0777 777 7777 

Email: jpage_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.

 

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2. Personal statement

 

Now for the first substantive section of your CV. It’s also known as a CV summary or CV profile and it’s an introduction to you as a candidate. You have to structure it in such a way that you convince the hiring manager you meet the basic requirements of the job you’re applying for. And the best way to decide what to include in a CV personal statement is to answer these questions.

 

  1. Who are you?
  2. What can you offer to the employer?
  3. What are your career goals?

 

So in the first sentence of your CV summary, mention your job title and how much experience you have. Then mention skills or experience that match the job requirements. You can do this by referring to the job advert, noting the key requirements and then choosing a professional accomplishment or skill of your own that matches. And finish off by stating how you plan to grow, develop and contribute to your new employer.

 

Example: what to include in the personal profile

 

Creative marketing assistant with 2 years of experience in the digital marketing sector. Strong image editing and photography skills with a keen eye for accuracy in written copy. Seeking to further develop my abilities and contribute to Orpheus Solutions’ reputation for innovation and superior client service.

 

3. Work experience section

 

It’s the one of the most important sections of a CV, the one recruiters will pay the most attention to. So it pays to get it right. Your work history should be written in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job first and working backwards from there. Then for each entry include your job title, the name of your employer and your dates of employment, using ‘Present’ as the end date if you still work there.

 

Then follow up with up to six bullet points that describe the job. However, don’t fall into the trap of just describing your duties with a long list of ‘responsible for’. Give them added impact by starting off each bullet point with a CV action verb and structuring them with accomplishment statements. And give your achievements even more strength by quantifying them with numbers where possible.

 

Example: what to include in the job description

 

Marketing assistant

The Greenfields Agency, London

September 2018–Present

  • Supported a team of five marketing professionals, providing administrative and creative assistance.
  • Created compelling visual presentations for use in client pitches that helped secure six contracts worth a combined total of £70,000.
  • Suggested a streamlined method for invoice processing that increased payment speed by 20%/
  • Wrote accurate and convincing copy for Facebook and Google advert campaigns that helped secure clients £50,000+ in sales revenue.

 

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. CV education section

 

It’s often overlooked, but your education section is absolutely essential to put in your CV. Here’s what you need to include. If you’re a university graduate or still studying, then include the name of your degree, the name of your university and your dates of study. Include an expected graduation date if you’re still studying.

 

If you’re a school-leaver then include your A-levels, mentioning each subject completed, the name of your school or college and your dates of study. GCSEs are only required if you’re still studying or are writing a recent school-leaver CV. In that case just list the number of GCSE subjects you completed and only mention maths and English specifically. That’s because they’re often considered a basic entry-level requirement.

 

And there’s some flexibility with this section too. You can change your CV format if you’re still studying or a recent graduate and put your education section first, before your work experience. You could also mention specific university modules, projects or extracurricular activities if they’re relevant to the job you’re targetting.

 

Example: what to include in the education section

 

BA (Hons) Digital Marketing, September 2014–June 2018

Ravensbourne University London

 

5. Skills section

 

What skills to include in a CV? The ones that are relevant to the job you’re applying for of course. So make a start by listing your own skills. Next, highlight all the skills mentioned in the job advert and note any general transferable skills that would be applicable too. Then choose 5–10 of your own skills that match up with the job requirements to include on your CV. You can also add a short sentence for each skill that demonstrates your abilities.

 

Try for a good mix of soft skills and hard skills, and if in doubt remember that some skills are pretty much universal. For example, IT skills and communication skills will look good on every CV.

 

Example: what to include in the skills section

 

  • Software. Advanced user of Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Publisher. 
  • Programming. Intermediate HTML coding skills.
  • Customer service. Built relationships with demanding corporate clients.
  • Teamwork. Took on additional responsibilities to ensure deadlines were met despite team member absences.
  • Written communication. Created company newsletter that won praise from the executive team.

 

6. Additional CV sections

 

As the name suggests, it’s not strictly essential to include additional sections in your CV. But it is essential if you want to succeed. Adding extra sections is a way of distinguishing yourself as an individual and adding even more proof of what a capable candidate you are. 

 

Good ideas include a hobbies and interests section, foreign languages and volunteering. You could also consider awards, certificates, projects and conferences. As long as it is relevant to the job and adds to the argument that you’re a good candidate it’s worth including.

 

Example: what to include in hobbies and interests in a CV

 

  • Rugby. Volunteer coach for Rosslyn Park under-12s and volunteer steward for home matches at Priory Lane. 

 

What not to include in a CV

 

A CV that’s written to UK standards does not include the following sections:

  • Your postal address. It’s unnecessary and takes up valuable space
  • Personal information such as your photo, date of birth, or marital status 
  • References (unless specifically requested)
  • Excessive content. The best CV length is 1–2 pages
  • Lies, they’ll be found out and it’s a crime under the Fraud Act 2006
  • Spelling and grammatical mistakes
  • Buzzwords, clichés and overly technical language
  • Personal pronouns. No ‘I did x’
  • Unexplained gaps in employment

 

What else to remember about when writing your CV sections

 

A CV isn’t simply a list of sections, there’s more to it than that. It has to look good and be easy to read too, and the way to do that is with an effective CV layout. Follow these simple rules and you’ll have included all the elements you need for a perfect CV structure.

 

Spacing and margins

 

Here we have another example of where what not to include in a CV is just as important as what you do include. In this case it’s all about how you create white space on the page to frame your content, it improves readability and makes your CV template more visually appealing. 

 

All you need to do is set your page margins to one inch on all four sides, set line spacing at 1.15 and double space between CV sections. That way you’ll create the perfect balance between content and white space.

 

CV fonts

 

Your choice of font is also a critical consideration when deciding what to include in a CV. And it’s not just for looks, your CV font type actually alters the way you retrieve information from the page. In other words, a good font makes it easier for the recruiter to find the information they need and discover why you’re the best candidate.

 

But you don’t need to do anything fancy. The good old reliable classics are your best choice. We’d recommend sticking with dependable choices like Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond and Helvetica.

 

CV length

 

It’s not just about what to include in a CV, it’s also about how much to include. The best CV length is 1–2 pages. Go for a one page CV if you’re a fresh graduate or school-leaver. It’s also a good choice for candidates with less than five years of experience.

 

Go for a two-page CV if you have more than five years of experience. And if you’ve got 10 or more years of experience and you’re targeting a senior position or you’re in a technically complex role then you could even stretch to a three-page CV.

 

Specialist formats such as an academic CV or a medical CV could be even longer, but for the majority of candidates 1–2 pages is the ideal CV length.

 

Format

 

When you’re finished writing it’s important to keep your layout looking perfect. The best way to do that is to save your CV in PDF format unless the job advert requests otherwise. That way you can be sure that absolutely everything you’ve decided to include in your CV stays intact.

 

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

 

And that’s it. Thanks for reading. If there’s anything else you want to know about what you need to include in a CV then please ask in the comments section and 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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