What should you include in a CV? Employment

When it comes to finding a new job, a CV is essential. That is because a CV is designed to showcase you, your skills, your experience and your aspirations within one easy, accessible document. As you might imagine, employers receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications for a single job. Because of this, a CV provides a summary of an individual, and key bits of information can easily be picked out in order to form a shortlist for an interview.

More recently, due to the number of applications some employers receive, computer software is being used to sort through CVs on behalf of employers. This software scans CVs and picks out key words and phrases to quickly create a shortlist of suitable candidates.

For these reasons, it is essential to include a number of elements in your CV to give you the best chance of securing an interview. In this article, we will explore all of the essential elements of a CV and give you some helpful hints and tips for writing your own.

Must Have Elements To Include In A CV

There are a few elements of a CV that you absolutely must include. These provide basic information to an employer and give a comprehensive look at how suitable you are for a role. These elements are:

Your Contact Information

Your contact information should sit at the top of your CV and be easy to find. When you submit a CV, of course you want an employer to contact you again for a chat or to invite you to interview. So be sure to include your most up to date and relevant contact information. This includes your:

  • Telephone Number
  • E-mail address

Always ensure that the e-mail address you use is correct and that you know the password for it. Employers will routinely email interview offers or request more information electronically, so being able to access your email is crucial. As well as this, ensure that your email address is appropriate (for example, firstname.lastname@emailprovider.co.uk).  Remember, Building Better Opportunities Stafford & South Staffordshire will support you with setting up an email address and IT training, speak to your Advocate.

Your Personal Statement

A personal statement is your opportunity to summarise your experience and ambitions. It’s sometimes known as a personal profile or career objective. But whatever you call it, the key is to ensure that it is short and sweet. A personal statement should summarise who you are, why you feel you are suitable for the role and what you can bring to the company and your career ambitions. Ideally, a personal statement should be no longer than 3-4 sentences long. For more help and advice on writing a personal statement, take a look at our article: How To Write A Personal Statement For A Job.

Your Work Experience

If you have had a job before, then it’s important to include your work experience on a CV. If you have volunteered or undertaken work experience, then this would also fall under the work experience section.

This section of your CV should be concise and consistent. Lay out your work experience in chronological order, starting with your most recent job and working backwards through any other job roles you’ve held. Ensure that you include the dates you were employed, who your employer was (i.e. the organisation’s name) and your job title. You should also include a few bullet points that outline your roles and responsibilities and any achievements you would like to showcase.

For example, if you held a sales role within a retail environment and you were recognised for the most sales within your team, you should include this under your work experience.

You do not need to write huge amounts about your work experience. Only include what is relevant and what you think the employer ought to know. If you find this part hard, check out the job advert for the role you are applying for and take any inspiration you can from the job or person specification.

There is no need to include details such as salary or contact details in your CV at this point. Sometimes, for online job applications that require you to fill out a form, an employer may ask for these but it is not necessary to include them in your CV.

When outlining your work experience, be sure to account for any gaps in your history. For example, if you took time out of work to raise a family or had a career break, simply outline the dates and provide a brief explanation.

Your Education

Just like your work experience, the education part of your CV provides a summary of your qualifications and academic achievements.

You should outline your education history in the same way as your work history – start with the most recent qualification first and work backwards. Be sure to include the name of the school, college, university or provider from which you achieved each qualification, and give the dates of when these were achieved.

If you have recently left school and haven’t had much work experience, you can use the education section of your CV to give details of any projects you took part in or notable achievements and skills.

Your Skills

The skills summary or section of your CV should outline skills and qualities you have that relate to the job you are applying for. You do not need to include all of your skills, especially if they are not relevant, however make sure you include any that are relevant. You will know what kind of skills an employer is looking for from the job advert and person specification, so use this to help you identify skills you possess.

Make sure you include a brief summary of these skills to support your claim. For example, if you are a good team player, give a short example of a time where you worked in a team and succeeded. This may be in work, volunteering, in education or as part of one of your hobbies.

Get help with writing your CV

If you live in Stafford or South Staffordshire, and you would like support in writing your CV, we can help! At Building Better Opportunities, we offer free help and advice to individuals looking to find a job, including help with CVs and personal statements, employability skills, training and confidence building.

To find out more about how we can help you find a job and support you in writing a CV, check out our Employment Support page. Or, to speak to us directly, contact us by phone or use the form below to request a callback.

Our Advocates are also present at a number of Work Clubs across the region, all of which you can stop by without making an appointment.