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Q: What sections does my CV need?
The standard sections for your CV are:
- Personal details
- Phone number(s)
- Email address
- Optionally, Twitter and/or LinkedIn handle where these show that you’re up-to-date and sharing industry knowledge
- Optionally, personal website address where this shows you’re sharing industry knowledge, demonstrates some other key skill or provides a more comprehensive online CV in an attractive format
- Introduction (called ‘Objective’ or ‘Personal Statement’)
- Work experience (most recent first), giving for each:
- Job title
- Company name
- From and to date (month & year)
- Education (most recent first), giving for each:
- Institution where it was studied
- Year awarded
- Skills (relevant to the job)
- Hobbies & interests
- References (this can say ‘available on request’)
Optionally, you might also include (where relevant):
- Professional memberships
- Key achievements – if these are relevant to a particular role or qualification, they should be included under that role/qualification but if they are not, they could be included in a separate section
- Projects – again, if you’ve worked on relevant projects whilst employed in a position or whilst at college/university, these should be included alongside the relevant position or qualification – but if they don’t relate, you could include them in a separate section
Completing your CV template
Particular attention should be given to the job advert, so any particular skills that you have which the employer is looking for specifically should be highlighted.
A focus should be made towards relevant experience and relevant qualifications. Employers spend just a few seconds looking through applications and have very little time to filter through pages to find what they are looking for. If you don’t have a lot of experience relevant to the position, focus on aspects of the job that were relevant or that helped you to develop skills transferable to the position you are applying for.
You may also like to consider volunteering whilst you’re hunting for a job – this is a valuable way to increase your experience and avoid gaps on your CV. It can also make you more attractive to some employers – according to MCCS Forward, a 2011 survey conducted by LinkedIn revealed that one out of every five hiring managers in the U.S. has hired a candidate because of their volunteer work experience. Here’s a helpful video on making the most of volunteering:
In the UK typically a CV is two pages long at most. In the US it is more common to use a résumé format – this is very similar to the CV but typically the work experience and qualifications sections are switched (so qualifications come first) and usually everything is included on one page.