Your CV is designed to do one thing: to get you an interview. However, on average recruiters will spend less than 30 seconds looking at it.
Your CV needs to be clearly focused and formatted for scanning, placing the most recent and important information at the top and using sections with headings to break up the text.
In terms of length, it should never be more than two sides of A4 (the briefer the better).
Here, in running order, are the main sections you should consider including:
Contact and personal details.
Name, address, email, phone, website URLs (blogs, LinkedIn, personal site etc.).
This is your elevator pitch and should relate directly to your most suitable skills, experience and goals for the role you are applying for. Try and avoid clichés or generic phrases – this is your first opportunity to demonstrate what sets you apart from the crowd, so try and narrow down on specific skills or unique traits which are most suitable for the role. If you can, try and include a punchy “ad-like” branding statement which tells the employer immediately what you can bring to their company.
This brief section should list your key skills and offers supporting evidence for them. It reinforces the message of the personal statement.
List your most recent – or most relevant – employment first. Provide your job title, company name, company location, company website and your dates of employment. Explain briefly what the company does and your role but focus on your most relevant achievements and responsibilities. If you have worked in the same role or organization for a long time you can show career progression by creating a separate section for each role or project. Ensure that the information you provide gets progressively less detailed for older or less relevant roles.
Education and training.
Include any relevant qualifications here – list the name of the qualification and the date achieved.
Not wholly necessary but it can be used to give a more rounded picture of yourself and should be used to emphasize skills or qualities relevant to the role (e.g. team work, dedication etc.).
You may wish to include a headline quote from your referee above their details. This should act as a powerful affirmation of your skills from an authoritative source.
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