What information should you include on a CV?
You should gather together all of the information required below when you are writing a CV.
You will probably not use all of this information in your CV but it will also provide you with useful reference material when it comes to preparing for interviews.
CV writing requires a lot of discipline and is very time-consuming to get right. Don't stint on the time you spend identifying and analysing the information you need for your CV.
If you don't have all the right information, then you won't be able to put together a great CV and won't get as many interviews as you should have.
Your full name, address, home telephone number and mobile phone number. You don't need to include date of birth or marital status. You may want to include nationality if you are applying for jobs abroad or if you are a British / EU national and your name does not sound like other names in the country you are applying to work in. Do you have a full driving licence? Is it clean?
Education / Qualifications
List your qualifications and education history, for example:
- BSc (Hons) 2.2 in Biochemistry at the University of Warwick, 1980 - 1983.
- GCE A Levels: Maths [C], Biology [B], Chemistry [C] at Farnham School, 1978 - 1980.
- GCE O Levels (or GCSEs if you did them): Maths [B], English Language [C], History [C], Geography [C], French [C], Chemistry [C], Biology [C] at Farnham School, 1973 - 1978.
If you have a degree you probably will not need to list all your O Levels/GCSEs; just listing the number is probably sufficient.
List your professional qualifications, membership of professional associations and professional ID numbers.
If you recently completed a college or university degree or HND or Diploma, etc, then you may want to list the courses you studied if the subject you studied was relevant to your target job.
List any work related training courses which you attended, including company courses and any you attended on your own initiative. If you obtained a qualification on any course please list it. You only need to list the important courses you attended; no one really cares if you went on a time management course as everyone gets sent on these courses!
When we're writing a professional CV for someone who has worked for a number of years, we typically find that we do not need to include any part-time jobs, vacation jobs, voluntary work or unpaid work experience - so you should consider leaving these out of your CV. Charity work could be included in your interests.
However, you might want to include these jobs if they covered a period of unemployment, or a time when you were not working for any other reason, or you feel that some of the experience you gained will be useful in your next job.
You should normally concentrate on your two most recent jobs (unless you were only there for a short time), because employers are usually most interested in these.
Start with your most recent or last job and work backwards.
For each position (treat internal promotion as a new job and record the dates separately) list your:
- Job title (e.g. Manager, Supervisor, etc), the job title of the person you reported to (e.g. Director, Manager, etc) and when you started and finished in each job.
- Give the name of the company and include a brief description of the service they provide (using the terms they would use to describe themselves)
- Set out your main responsibilities, achievements, duties, and skills that could be transferred to another employer. Be specific and positive about your skills, e.g. 'good written skills' may be a better description of your abilities rather than 'good communication skills'.
- Include your level of responsibility if any, e.g. 'responsibility for departmental budget of £100K and managed 10 staff'.
- List any achievements you had in each position, including increases in sales/productivity and cost savings made. Quantify your achievements if possible. 'Increased sales by £100K' is more interesting and positive than just saying 'Increased sales'. You should try to include some achievements such as meeting deadlines, budgets, etc, and any information that may be relevant to your next job.
When you are listing your achievements in this section, only list 3 to 6 of your most important work achievements; your other achievements can be described under the work experience section. You should only list achievements which are relevant to your next job and indicate how you achieved them.
As professional CV writers, we feel that your Major Achievements section are very important as an employer will only invite you for an interview if they can see a benefit in doing so. Your achievements may sell you to an employer and make them choose you for an interview rather than someone else. For this reason it is vital that you think carefully about your achievements.
List any computer skills you have, including the make and type of equipment you are familiar with, the software and operating system used, e.g. IBM compatible PC, Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Office 97.
If you have foreign language skills which may be relevant for any jobs which you are applying for, please list them and indicate whether your skills are spoken, written, business or technical. Please also indicate your level of fluency: fluent, good working knowledge, etc. You should only list these skills if they are relevant to the jobs you are applying for as no one really wants to hear about a French language course you did at school a long time ago.
If relevant to your next job please include your typing or shorthand speeds.
Interests / Hobbies
List your interests, hobbies and any sports you play.
List any positions of responsibility you hold or have held in any club or organisation, and say what your responsibilities and achievements were.
You do not normally need to list referees on a CV, but it is a good idea to think about whom you could ask now.
For some professions however it is normal to list referees; these include the teaching and health service (NHS) professions - your referees in these professions are often asked to provide you with a reference before you are even asked to an interview.
List your major skills, strengths, personal qualities and achievements.
Be very specific, e.g. good team player, excellent written skills, versatile, able to motivate others, etc. Look at your staff appraisals or at your references.
Make sure that you can clearly demonstrate the skills you have listed in your summary throughout your CV, otherwise people won't believe that you actually possess them.
- CV tips introduction
- FREE Report: Is your CV letting you down?: How to dramatically improve your CV
- CV distribution - send your CV to 1000's of recruiters at one go - click here to learn more
- Why are CVs rejected?
- What information will you need?
- What should you leave off your CV?
- Selecting a CV format
- General CV writing tips
- Example performance CV
- How to write a performance CV
- Example functional CV
- How to write a functional CV
- Example targeted CV
- How to write a targeted CV
- The alternative CV
- Example student CV
- Example graduate CV
- How to write a student / graduate CV
- How to write an executive CV
- Business analyst CV
- Managing director CV
- Marketing manager CV
- Sales manager CV
- Word-processing and printing
- Cover letters