First, you don’t need to waste space by adding ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top – it really isn’t necessary. Although there is some flexibility in the design and structure of your CV, there is essential information that a potential employer will expect to see:

  • Name, title (if any) and contact details: these details need to appear at the top of the CV and include your full name, your professional title (if you have one), your telephone and/or mobile number and your email address. At one time, CVs contained your address but today, only your location is needed.
  • A personal profile: also known as a personal statement or professional profile, this short overview paragraph about you is one of the most important elements of a CV. It should summarise who you are, what you believe you can offer the company and your career goals. This paragraph should be tailored to each and every job you apply for and not ramble on. Some people like to add their LinkedIn profile, which is great, but only if it’s up-to-date.
  • Employment and experience history: this section shows off your work experience, any internship or voluntary work and your previous jobs. It must be listed in reverse chronological order (so the most recent role is at the top of the list), and include the job title, the employer, when you started and finished work (if applicable) and a line or two summarising your role. Underneath this, list your skills, key responsibilities and any achievements using bullet points. This is another area where you can tailor your talents to the role you are applying for.
  • Education/qualifications: as with your work experience, this section needs to be in reverse chronological order. List the name of the educational institution along with the dates you attended, the qualifications you achieved and the grades. You can also list the relevant modules of a degree, if desired.

Once this essential information is set out, you can add extra details such as key skills, interests and/or hobbies and references at the end of the CV.

What a CV shouldn’t include

Some details do not need to be, and should not be, added to a CV, including:

  • Age and date of birth: these details are not required. Only the dates of your education and employment experience need to be on your CV. It’s also illegal for employers to ask about your age under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Marital status: as with your age and date of birth, your marital status does not affect your ability to carry out the job and this information is also protected under the Equality Act 2010.
  • A headshot: although it is included as standard in some countries, this isn’t the case in the UK. Some employers do ask for a head shot with an application, but you don’t have to supply it and you shouldn’t be discriminated against if you choose not to include it.

Structuring your CV

There is a generally accepted format to structuring your CV that will help gain a potential employer’s notice:

  • Today, the length of CV is generally accepted as two pages, although for older professionals extending to three pages isn’t unusual.
  • Headings should be bold and stand out and in a font that is clear and easy to read; avoid using script fonts.
  • The body of the text should be either 10 or 12 point, and your headings no more than 16 point. Avoid using narrow margins – instead, stick to the standard 2.5cm.
  • Make sure there are no errors! There’s nothing more off-putting for a potential employer than seeing spelling mistakes, grammatical inaccuracies and unstructured sentences. Proofread it thoroughly or, better still, ask someone to proofread it for you. Alternatively, use an online spellchecker, such as Grammarly.

A professional, clearly structured and easy-to-read CV with all the right information listed for the potential employer to find and consider will go a long way to securing that dream job.

At Atkinson Moss, we’re here to help you create the perfect CV that will get you that vital interview. We take the time to understand who you are, what your skills are, your experience to date and what you’re looking for. Then we tailor your CV to carefully match you with the right role. Find out more about how we can help you with your CV and search for jobs in your area by exploring our website today, or call us to discuss your perfect role 01603 319048.