Your CV is probably your most important job search document, so there is value in taking some time to consider your career history and achievements to date.

So why do we need a CV and what purpose does it serve? If you’re trying to introduce yourself to a business or organisation, a CV is a straightforward way to let them know you exist and that you have skills and experience which may be of use to them. Its main purpose is to get you a meeting or interview with someone relevant to finding you a suitable role.

Readers of your CV will usually form some sort of appreciation of you in the first few seconds of reading it, this is why the first impression and the information on the top half of the first page is crucial to gain their interest. Keep the length reasonable – you should be able to get the relevant information into two pages. If you’re selected for interview, the recruiter will then spend much longer reading your CV prior to the interview. Hopefully your CV will make them look forward to meeting you.

What are the main areas to cover in a CV? All of these areas need to be accurate and presented in a way that maximises your achievements and skills.

Contact Information

Your contact details should be the ones that give the best opportunity for an employer to make contact, for example, don’t give a mobile phone number as a main contact if you would not be able to use that phone during working hours.

A brief Profile
Provide a short statement about you at the top of the CV. This is where you can tailor your CV towards a certain job opportunity which will help the reader understand who you are quickly, and hopefully will make them want to spend more time reading the rest of your CV.

Present your Skills and Achievements
Essential elements to a successful CV, these can be listed separately to your career history. It could be beneficial to highlight a number of key skills that match the criteria of the job description. CV layout is not a defined science so it may be preferable to include these skills within the relevant section of your career history.

Show your Career History
Start with your most recent role, and present others in chronological order below. If there any time gaps between past employment, give a reason for that break. If you have a particular long history with one employer, break this down into different job roles that can help explain your work more clearly.

Education, Training and Qualifications
List your relevant academic qualifications, and also show training courses that you have undertaken, including those where you received an award or accredited certification, i.e. Health & Safety. Also list any professional and skilled licenses such as for data protection, use of particular specialist vehicles etc.

Personal Information
Here is the opportunity to add your personal interests, memberships or driving license, etc., if it could be relevant to the role.

A CV is a tool to help you in your job hunt and career. You are the best person to write it, as you know the most about its subject. Think about what you want it to achieve, and then write with that goal in mind. You will probably need to tailor it for different opportunities, and it will almost certainly evolve and improve as your job hunt progresses.

Sample CVs to download

Click here to download a sample CV

Click here to download a sales CV