What to include in your CV

Want to know how to make your CV stand out for all the right reasons? Here are our top tips to ensure your application is progressed to the interview stage.

How long should your CV be?

A standard CV should be no more that 2 sides of A4 in length. However, if you are new to the world of work and still building experience, one page is fine.  On the other hand, while it’s important to keep your CV concise, you mustn’t sell yourself short if you have lots of relevant experience.

What to include in your CV.

To write a good CV, you need to know what you’re aiming for. Write your CV with a particular job in mind so that you can show your prospective employer that you are the right person for the job. Start with the job advert. Look at the job description, job criteria and information about the company. When writing your CV, use key words from the job advert to link your CV to the job you are applying for, indicating your relevant experience.

Contact details

Employers need to know how best to contact you. You may be surprised to know how many people fail to put adequate contact details on their CV! You only need to include an email address, telephone number, and your location. Include your LinkedIn profile if you have one. Full address, date of birth, nationality or marital status are not required.

Personal profile

This is a few lines about you at the top of the CV which tells the prospective employer who you are and what you are hoping to achieve. The person you describe in the personal profile should be the ideal person for the job you are applying for.

Work history and experience

Here is your opportunity to show the prospective employer what you’ve got. Again, make sure you use key words from the job description to highlight any relevant experience and link it to the role you are applying for. Include details of any work placements, volunteering and paid jobs you’ve had. List the most recent experience first.

If you’re applying for your first job, focus on skills gained through projects, work experience or volunteering. Include interests and hobbies that show some of the skills you have. For example, if you're a captain of a sports team, this demonstrates leadership and organisation skills.

When listing your experience, include the following:

  • Dates worked
  • Job title
  • Company
  • 3/4 lines detailing what you did. This should not just be a list of responsibilities, it’s an opportunity to highlight things that you accomplished in each role.

Top tip: If you have a lot of previous experience, you don’t need to include roles from more than 10 years ago – unless, of course, they are particularly relevant to the job for which you are applying.

Having gaps in your work history is very normal. Be honest about what you were doing during any gaps. Highlight any skills gained and what you learned from the experience.

Educational history

If you are early on in your career and don’t have much work experience yet, you can include this nearer the top of your CV after your profile. If you have a lot of experience, you may want to put that first.

Whichever order you decide, you should include:

  • the qualification gained
  • the name of the school/college/university
  • the dates you attended

Additional sections

If you have space, you may want to include a list of skills that you possess that are relevant to the job. For example, experience using particular software or applications.

You might want to include your hobbies and interests. If you do, keep it interesting and ensure they demonstrate your suitability for the job you are applying for.


First impressions are very important. A great CV can really help you stand out. Our recruitment consultants are on had to help and offer advice. Give us a call today on 01279 758 855

Posted on Tuesday Apr 16