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From fresh graduates to senior managers, everyone who is looking for a new job needs an up-to-date CV. Fortunately, while the skills and experiences you acquire will naturally change over time, there is no need to alter your CV structure. The same types of information will still be relevant to employers tomorrow as today; only the specifics need to be updated. With that in mind, in this article we provide top tips on structuring your CV.
While there are various formats to choose from, the best CV layout will almost always be chronological. Listing your work experience in order, from most to least recent, makes it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to quickly scan your CV and pick out key information. Furthermore, this type of layout is compatible with applicant tracking systems, which many employers use to gather information, filter applicants, and organise candidates based on experience and skills.
Having identified the best format for your CV, the next step is to get started by setting out all the key pieces of information. As a minimum, you should incorporate each of the following sections in your CV:
First things first: include your name in a larger font (typically four to six points bigger than the body text) at the top of your CV. This should be accompanied by your contact details, including:
As outlined in the previous section, you should begin with your most recent job, then work down the CV (and backward in time) from there. Start by writing:
Next, describe your role and responsibilities. Remember, reading a CV takes time, so make this information as concise and punchy as possible by including bullet points rather than writing in full sentences.
The information you provide here will vary depending on your age and level of education:
Until this point, your CV is relevant to any role for which you are applying – think of it as boilerplate text that merely needs updating to keep it fresh. However, the key skills section should be tailored to each role for which you are applying. Ensure that most, if not all, of the skills you list are relevant to the job description.
Try to include a combination of soft and hard skills, plus a short sentence outlining your proficiency in each. For instance, a key skills section for a sales role could include the following:
Your personal profile should comprise three to four sentences that explain who you are, what skills you offer, and what type of role you are looking for. Hopefully, this brief summary will compel the recruiter or hiring manager to learn more about you.
While the profile should be at the top of your CV, just beneath the header, it is generally easiest to write it last. That way, all your key professional experience and skills will already be at front of mind.
Traditionally, your street address would always be included on your CV. Employers often wanted to know how far away you lived from the workplace, as a lengthy commute could affect your performance. However, as remote working becomes increasingly common, it has become less important for employers to know your physical address. As such, you can generally afford to leave it off your CV unless specifically asked to include it.
If you enjoyed this article, you might want to browse our latest career guidance articles here. Or, if you are a job seeker looking for your next role, you set up an introductory conversation with one of our expert consultants here.