When it comes to job hunting, your CV is paramount. Get it right, and you’ll have an interview in no time, but get it wrong, and you may face rejection after rejection. Every CV is different as you want to show why your set of skills makes you suitable for the position you’re applying for at that moment, but all follow a similar structure.
This guide will show you how to write a great CV that’s ready for 2020 and beyond.
What is a CV?
Your CV, short for curriculum vitae, is a personal marketing document used to sell yourself to prospective employers. It should tell them about you, your professional history and your skills, abilities and achievements. Ultimately, it should highlight why you’re the best person for the job.
A CV is required when applying for a job. In addition to your CV, employers may also require a cover letter and a completed application form.
What to include in your CV in 2020
While the structure of a CV is flexible, bending to your unique skill set and experiences, there are particular sections that employers expect to see on your CV regardless.
Here are the sections you must include in your CV:
Name, professional title and contact details
The first part of your CV, positioned at the top of the page, should contain your name, professional title and contact details. Under no circumstances should you title your CV with ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’ as it’s a waste of valuable space. Treat your name as the title instead.
When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are essential. Once upon a time, it was customary to include your full address on your CV. Today, you simply need to list your town and county.
If you like, you can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile in this section – but only if it’s up to date!
Here is an example of how your name, professional title and contact details might look:
Experience and employment history
Your employment history section gives you a chance to outline your previous jobs, internships and work experience.
List your experience in reverse chronological order as your recent role is the most relevant to the employer.
When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarises the role. Then bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and bolster each point with powerful verbs and figures to support each claim and showcase your impact.
It helps to choose the duties most relevant to the job you’re applying for, especially if it’s a long list. If you have many years’ worth of experience, you can reduce the detail of old or irrelevant roles. If you have positions from more than 10 years’ ago, you can delete them.
Here’s an example of how to lay out each position of employment on your CV: