10 Things To Include In Your CV
Employers are inundated every day with hundreds of hopefuls’ CVs and job applications, so it can be a real mountain to climb even just to stop your own CV from falling to the bottom of the pile and barely even getting noticed.
Following on from ’10 clichés to avoid in your resume’, you know what NOT to include, but how about the finer details that you really should include to ensure your CV is top of the pile when it comes to applying for your next job. Here’s 10 key things you should to include in your CV’:
1. Contact Details
It may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but you would be surprised at how easy it is to mess this bit up and how many peoples’ CVs don’t have full contact details on! One of the main areas people slip up is giving an unprofessional email address. ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ is not going to cut it for an employer, so if you haven’t already, create yourself a professional email address that simply contains your name if possible, and numbers if it’s necessary.
And make sure you give as many different contact details as possible, including a social media account. Many employers expect to see links to social media pages on CVs now, as they can use it as a character reference, so either give your Facebook or Twitter page a good clear out to get rid of all the drunk photos and dodgy statuses, or create separate professional ones that you would be happy for employers to view.
2. Employment History
Make sure you not only list all the relevant jobs and work experience you have had, but go into detail on them. What were your key roles and responsibilities, what skills did you learn/use during the job, and what strengths did you discover/what weaknesses did you overcome?
3. Education and Qualifications
Many people feel that because they didn’t do a GCSE or A-Level in the job they are applying for, that employers won’t be interested in this information, but they are wrong. Include all your education history complete with qualifications as if you don’t it implies you have something to hide, such as bad grades, or even worse, that you dropped out before completing any!
4. Skills and Strengths
This is where the CV gets interesting for the employer, and as they are skimming over all the information, this is where they will linger for longer if the right information catches their eye. Be sure to be completely honest, there is nothing worse than building yourself up and getting the interview, to then not be able to follow through on the interview when asked about it! Be proud and confident in the skills you have, and show this by emphasising them on your CV. If you don’t feel confident enough about your skills, some career training could give you the boost you need to be able to walk into a job with the relevant skills. Strengths are something that you are good at naturally, not something you have learnt, so be sure to differentiate between the two.
5. Some Personality
People who try to keep their CV to a strict format, with wording and everything, will come across as a cliché and will definitely not make it to the top of the pile. Remember that not only is your employer looking to find out about your skills, knowledge, experience, etc. they also want to get a feel for you as a person. Let your personality shine through in the way you describe things, the wording you choose, even the way you might choose to lay out the CV. Naturally you still need to keep professional when it comes to wording, but there is still plenty of room for personality.
6. A Prioritised Layout
Depending on the amount of experience you have, and potentially your age, you may want to focus more on work history or on education history with your layout. If you don’t have much work experience yet, but have great qualifications to back up your skills and knowledge, then an education focused layout will work in your favour. If you have ample work experience, then focusing on this is what will catch the employer’s eye.
7. A Good Simple Format
Don’t be tempted to slip into the trap of fancy fonts and formats. These just distract from the real content of the CV, and can appear to be a way of trying to hide the less than confident information within. Keep the format simple, and let the content speak for itself.
8. Good Spelling and Grammar
This is one of the simplest yet most common issues with CVs, and is often the reason many with all the right experience and qualifications don’t make the cut! Don’t just trust Microsoft Word to do all the work for you, print it off and read it out loud yourself, as well as asking friends or family to check it over for you.
Although you may have a mile long list of people ready to act as a reference for you, this is great for you, but doesn’t look good on your CV. That isn’t because someone with plenty of people vouching for them is a bad thing, its a space thing! Save space on your CV by including one reference, so they don’t have to chase you for them, but you can also include the phrase ‘Further references available upon request’, as this will save you space and show that if they really wanted there are plenty more people where that came from.
10. A Cover Letter
A cover letter is an important part of getting your CV noticed, as it should be the first thing thatthe employer sees and should give a summary of you and why this job is for you. Sum up your personality, ambitions, explain any empty gaps in employment and summarise any parts of your CV that are relevant in particular to the role in hand. If you’re covering letter isn’t spot on then it doesn’t matter how perfect your CV is, it won’t get seen!