Career Advice: Top tips to structure your CV
Your CV is the first point of contact between you and your next potential employer. It should be succinct and presented in an easy to read format using a simple font, minimal styling and the use of bullet points to break down information.
To ensure your CV stands out, follow our recommended structure and tips below:
Start with name, address and contact details
List the main contact details prospective employers will be able to reach you on easily at anytime. Ensure the details are presented clearly and feature prominently at the top of your CV.
Tip – Include a link to your up to date LinkedIn profile within your introductory details.
This is where you should summarise and highlight what you can offer to a prospective employer. Summarise any career highlights that will draw attention to what you have accomplished. It should be tailored for each role you apply for and aim to make you stand out from competition.
Summarise your skills
Use brief bullet points to list the skills and experience you have that are specific and relevant to the role. Hiring managers will scan this section of your CV very quickly to see what you can offer and your suitability for the role.
Tip – wherever possible, use the same adjectives as those used in the advertisement.
Highlight relevant experience
This section should include your work history in most recent historical order including paid work, relevant volunteer or work experience placements. It is important to tailor this section of your CV to the job, specifically where key responsibilities in previous roles are applicable for your application.
Tip – highlight how you overcame challenges both personally and as a team member.
Shout about your achievements
Your CV is your opportunity to sell yourself and highlight why you are the best fit the role, so it is important to include where you have gone above and beyond or made a significant achievement.
Where the achievements are measurable be sure to include the numbers, such as increased sales over target by 10%.
List any training, education and courses
Only list what is relevant or required for the role you are applying for, starting with most recent. It is important to showcase where you may have up-skilled or could bring new knowledge to the organisation.
Mention any interests/hobbies (optional)
This is where you can highlight your personality in any hobbies or interests outside of work. Note, it is optional to include this on your CV and it is best to avoid stating anything that could cause friction early on.
References are available on request
It is fine to list references are available on request if you are not comfortable disclosing your referees until further into the recruitment process. It is important to make sure you have them readily available and contactable when requested.
Final top five tips
- Use the right ‘keywords’ to ensure your CV is picked up in word searches
- Explain any gaps in your CV, and be sure to highlight the skills that you have developed
- Don’t include acronyms or organisation related terminology
- Include two forms of contact, email and mobile
- Spelling and grammar check – ensure you check your CV thoroughly for any spelling and grammar errors. Perhaps even consider having a friend or family member check it over for you as well