If you are sitting in front of a computer screen, struggling to figure out what you should include in your CV, then take comfort in knowing that it is a common experience. It happens to most people (including recruiters!). It can seem like a major task to produce not only a summary of your life, but also one that is good enough to attract an employer. However it can be done – these are the sections to include:
Basically this includes your name, telephone number, email and ideally a URL to your LinkedIn profile. One telephone number is usually sufficient and make sure your email address is business appropriate (this means no firstname.lastname@example.org).
Useful for outlining your goal in this career move. Ensure it is realistic and tailored to the organisation you are applying to – for example:
‘œHoping to build on the three years of project management experience I have gained in delivering Sharepoint database integration for financial services organisations, I am now keen to join a dynamic consultancy with a requirement for a project manger with relevant financial services and FSA experience.’
Tip: It is useful to include relevant keywords in your objective that will make your CV show up on recruiters’ searches e.g. Sharepoint, financial services and FSA.
This can be a useful section to incorporate into your CV as long as you make the achievements factually based and relevant to the role or sector. Aim for a maximum of five achievements along the lines of:
‘œSuccessfully organised the AGM for FCB Inc., a FTSE 250 company; attended by 350 institutional and individual shareholders, together with journalists from the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. Arranged all relevant activities including: production of promotional literature, arranging of venue and communication with all relevant parties.’
Tip: Include the context, your contribution and the outcome.
Education, Qualifications & Training:
Include the title, institution and years of attendance. You may also wish to state the subjects and name of any thesis or projects (space permitting).
Tip: Qualifications are usually placed in reverse chronological order (most recent first). However, you can alternatively put the most relevant first instead.
This includes: Job title, company name and dates of employment. The latter should include months and years, although if you have had gaps in employment it may be advisable to just list the years. If you do this, make sure this format is consistent throughout your CV.
Tip: Including a line about what an employer does can be helpful if the sector is the same as for the role you are targeting.
A useful catch-all section where you can include details of languages, IT skills etc. Ensure that you include the level of aptitude. For example:
MS Excel (Intermediate – pivot tables and vlookups)
MS Word (Intermediate – graphs and tables)
For voluntary activities as well as what you do when you’re not working. It demonstrates to an employer that you are a well-rounded individual. Try to elaborate on your activities to make them more interesting to the reader. For example:
‘œI enjoy urban running including weekly circuits of Farnham’s scenic town centre – 5 km roundtrip. My goal is to run in the London marathon in 2013.’
Final tip: Tailor your CV. It should give a good overview of your skills and experience, as they are relevant to the job you are targeting.