What to Include in Your CV

The first thing to remember is the aim of your CV is to land yourself an interview. A CV alone will rarely land you a job, so there is no need to write your entire life story in your CV. The aim is to make the employer curious enough to want to meet you in person. Employers receive many applications for their vacancies, so it is important to keep your CV short and concise to prevent the employer skipping over your application.

Personal Details

The first item on your CV should be a note of your personal details. This usually means contact details: name, address, phone number (include international and regional dialing codes), email address etc. You can also list your marital status and date of birth, although these are not required and it is sometimes better to exclude this information.

List Your Skills

Make a short bullet-pointed list of any skills you have acquired. It is okay to include a brief note along side each skill, but avoid writing long explanations. The employer will want to scan the list quickly and you will be able to talk more about your skills at the interview.

Education and Qualifications

List all of your qualifications including formal and vocational training. As with your skills, it is best to keep the list short and concise, but do include details of where you received any training and the dates you received it. You do not always have to list grades of qualifications. Unless you got straight A's it is usually better to omit this information.

Work Experience

Employers will want to know about your previous employment and experience. List any jobs you have had in reverse chronological order, giving start and end dates and a brief summary of your role and responsibilities. In some cases it is better to omit some of your employment history if it contains a lot of jobs not related to the job you are applying for. When listing your work experience, avoid listing your salaries.


Most employers will check the references of candidates they wish to hire. There is no need however, to provide references until a job offer has been made (subject to suitable references). It is perfectly fine to state references are available on request or on receipt of a job offer.

Other Advice

Always spell check your CV. Make sure your CV does not contain acronyms or technical jargon, because the person who is conducting the application process for the employer may not have a technical background. Write your CV in the first person. Writing it in the third person, using 'he' or 'she' to refer to yourself, might give the employer the impression you have not written your CV yourself. Your CV should be no longer than 2 pages and in a type-face that is easily legible. Finally, avoid the temptation to garnish your CV with fancy type-faces or borders.

If you would like a free CV review or help from a professional CV writer, we recommend a few to try here.


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