What to include in a CV

Many people are unsure what they should include in a CV for job applications. There is key information that is generally expected on all curriculum vitae / resumes and this is:
Name, address, contact details (home and mobile telephone numbers, email address), employment history if you have been working and education.

When you write your CV, you should consider the fact that it is a sales document, with which you must market your most relevant, positive attributes. Therefore, any extra information should only be included if you feel that it will be of interest to the reader or of benefit to you.

Employment history
Unless you have not worked before (for instance, if you have just left school or college), this should be presented in reverse chronological order and show dates, name and town of employer, your job title and general duties and responsibilities. Try to show achievements if possible, including facts and figures or even just praise from your manager. It is normal to go back 10 years and you may want to go back further if the work was relevant or impressive.

Again, display in reverse chronological order and show dates, name of schools / colleges and locations. Show courses or subjects studied and grades if you feel that they are positive - remember it is your CV, so if you are not comfortable with certain grades from the past, you do not need to include them on your CV unless requested to do so. You do not need to go back further than secondary school.

Courses / training
Show details of any courses, seminars or training programmes that may be of interest to the reader. If you are going for a sales job, an evening class in knitting should not be on there. Many people forget short courses that could be of interest, such as in-houise training seminars with a previous employer.

Hobbies / interest
Many people worry far too much about this section. Perhaps, you do not feel that your hobbies are interesting or you may not have had time for leisure outside work or family commitments. The section should be towards the end of you CV and should only be a few words long anyway, so if you enjoy literature and walking, you can write that. You may find that your employer brings it up and you discover at interview that you share a favourite author. This section is rarely a deal breaker and serves mainly as a conversation topic at interview or is ignored. However, it's your CV and you do not even need to have an interests section on there.

Age / gender / marital status / nationality
Candidates who feel that they are older than much of the competition agonise about whether to include their age on the CV due to fear of discrimination. It is normal to include your date of birth, but by no means essential. Although age discrimination is a fact of employment life, it is not likely to hinder you if you are a good candidate. Include what you are comfortable with showing and remember that for many, particularly managerial roles, experience and maturity is often helpful or essential as an attribute. Your ethnic background should be of no consequence to the reader if you are eligible to work in the UK, so do not bother to include nationality or religion. If you have a name that is unusual or used by men and women, you may want to mention your gender somewhere, just to help the reader to build a mental picture. Marital status is not required, but some feel that being single suggests flexibility for working shifts or travelling, while being married could suggest stability.

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