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What to include in a CV

CV AdviceSuzie Finch
What to include in a CV - You’ve Got This!

What to include in a CV - You’ve Got This!

Your Curriculum Vitae (also called a CV or a résumé if you reside in the US or Canada) is perhaps the single most important document you'll produce in your lifetime, done correctly it will open the doors to amazing careers, opportunities and people.  Don't underestimate it!

This initial 1 or 2-page summary allows you to express your skills, education, experience and personality when selling yourself to employers. Below we've listed what to include in a CV.

What to include in a CV…

Personal / Contact Details

The following should be included in your CV as mandatory: Full name, contact phone number, email address and general location (a full address isn't necessary a city/ town is fine).

A photograph can be a nice addition to your application, however this is down to personal choice and is more relevant to certain career paths (i.e. marketing, creative, customer facing roles etc.)

It is not necessary to include your Date of Birth, in fact I would actively advise not to include this on your CV.


A Brief Introduction

Think of this as your elevator pitch, a concise and succinct statement that sells your skills, experiences and sector specialisms.  It should give the reader (a future employer) a clear idea of what you have achieved and where your career is heading.


Education & Professional Qualifications

List formal education with dates and the grades you achieved.  Headline information is fine, employers and recruiters are typically only skim reading this information.

Over the years I’ve reviewed many applications where grades have simply been omitted, when this happens employers and recruiters tend to consider the worst grade was obtained (which is often not the case), I’d always recommend including your grades.

Just to add, unless you’re just starting your career I would say it isn’t necessary to include any qualifications below A-Levels.


Employment history

When listing your employment history be sure that it is done in a reverse chronological order (this CV example will give you an idea of what I mean: Reverse Chronological Resume). 

Under each role include a brief summary on each of your past employers, this should cover how many employees they have and what sector they operate in.  This is useful information to future employers and is often overlooked.

Focus on the duties you have performed as well as the value you’ve delivered. Quantifiable statements such as “In 2017 I designed and implemented a social media strategy which increased traffic by 32% resulting in a 4.6% uplift in sales” work well! Companies can directly relate this type of information to their business and understand how you could deliver value.

For longer careers you don’t need to show all positions (it’s likely that many older positions are totally irrelevant anyway), you’ll find that going back 10 years will be enough, oh and don’t go too heavy on bullet points, I would advise to include no more than 7 bullet points per employer.


Skills & Achievements

Here you can talk about (or list) your relevant skills and achievements, you can use an array of methods to display this information, graphs, line charts, lists etc.  Either way this information is a great way to bring your CV to life by adding that little graphical touch (be bold and stand-out).

In this Modern CV Template I’ve created a design that uses doughnut graphs, where in this Resume Template I’ve used line charts to express skills.

Focus on your core skills and keep it relevant to the positions you are applying for, resist the temptation to include all software and technology you have ever worked with (does some of it even exist anymore), use an employer’s job advert to truly understand their required skills and mirror your CV against these.


Hobbies (Optional)

Considered as secondary information the hobbies / interests section is not necessary but does give you an extra chance to express your personality and include activities that might support your application. 

In the past I have been asked to filter based on this field – it was a snowboarding company and they stipulated that all applicants must have an interest in winter sports.  So keep things like this in mind when filling this information in.


References (optional)

 Listing references is optional, however you should always include the header with the term “available on request” if you intend to leave this information blank.

I would actually advise against including direct names and contact details on your CV as this information can be misused by recruitment agents (believe me when I say this does happen and more often than you may think).

My advice would be to hold back personal reference information and only supply this directly to the employer or recruiter once your application has progressed through the initial stages.


Anything Else To Include In A CV?

If you include this information on a CV you’ll have covered all the basics and produced a solid document to take forward.

To enhance it you may wish to include additional information that relates directly to your industry.  Certain employers within niche sectors sometimes like to see additional information, for example an application made for an Architectural Technician may require additional project and budgetary information or creative links and portfolios for design roles.  Academic roles tend to require longer applications which include published papers and speaking gigs etc.  Understand the market you’re in.

This should give you a basis for what to include on your CV / Resume for examples please take inspiration from these CV Examples listed on my website.



CV Tips | 7 Tips On Writing That Perfect CV

CV Advice, Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
CV Writing Tips

CV Writing Tips That Make The Difference!

Writing a CV can be a daunting process, especially if you haven't done one in a while! Whether you are making tweaks to your CV or starting from scratch the following CV Writing Tips will ensure you make an impact and stand-out amongst the crowds.

7 Tips to CV Writing Success...

1) CV Mirroring

// By adopting the vocabulary and tone of the employer you will make your CV appear more relevant and buzzword heavy. Mirror text used within vacancy descriptions, job adverts and LinkedIn profiles for significantly improved applications. We recently published 'This One Trick Will Massively Upgrade Your Job Search' which explains CV mirroring in more detail.

2) Clarity

// Be clear with your CV text and with your expectations. A clear definition of your expectations, skills and experience will allow employers to see the information quickly and assess key criteria efficiently. No waffle please.

3) Brevity

// Employers and Recruiters are busy people, be concise and succinct. Your CV should be no longer than 2 pages and should be a snapshot of your abilities and experience (it's not a book of life).

4) No Typos

// Attention to detail is critical, one typo is enough to see your CV thrown on the scrapheap. Upon finishing your CV, spell and grammar check the document before asking someone else to proof read it for you. Word of caution, MS Word doesn't pick up typos in upper case letters :-/

5) Differentiate

// Be sure to differentiate yourself. Recruiters often have hundreds (if not thousands) of CVs to review, so make yourself memorable, display information in innovative ways and stand-out from the crowd. These CV Designs should provide inspiration.

6) Relevancy

// We've covered keyword mirroring above, however ensure you only include relevant skills and experience. Omit unnecessary skills and experience and never repeat yourself. The less is more approach really can make a difference, remember your CV is only the introduction and a snapshot of your career to date.

7) Target

// Make sure your CV is tailored to each job application you make. Demonstrate to future employers that you understand their business, the position on offer and what value you can bring. If you can stretch the extra mile a specific Cover Letter that covers things like salary expectations, availability and locality is a real winner.

This One Trick Will Massively Upgrade Your Job Search...

Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
Job Search Advice

How many times have you applied for a job and never heard back (not counting autoreplies), I bet it’s quite a lot, right? But despite what you think it’s NOT necessarily you...

Working first-hand with many recruiting businesses (large and small) I get to see a unique perspective on how different internal recruitment processes and teams work and when it comes down to it many are just not familiar with how to hire effectively. In-fact I’m constantly surprised by how terrible hiring teams are, a snapshot of bad hiring practices include:

  1. Robots reviewing CVs (badly);

  2. Lack of knowledge - Recruiters often don’t fully understand the vacancy;

  3. Lack of urgency.

Understanding that most employers engage in such bad practices can give you the competitive edge which you can leverage to your advantage through CV mirroring.

By adopting the vocabulary and tone of the employer you will make your application appear more relevant at a glance and buzzword heavy. Mirror text used within vacancy descriptions, job adverts and LinkedIn profiles to:

  • Increase the keyword density in your CV (to help pass stage 1),

  • To make your CV look suitable at a glance (to win over recruiters and pass stage 2)

  • To make your CV really stand-out so it gets forwarded to the hiring managers (to help progress your CV and pass stage 3).

CV Mirroring is a simple little trick but can make a huge difference to your job search. Try it today.

A Brief History of the Resume (or CV)

Other CV NewsSuzie Finch

The Resume / CV is an indispensible tool for job seekers. The aim of the document is to provide employers with a concise snapshot of a candidate’s skills, allowing them to make a judgement on whether it is worthwhile to progress to an interview. To state the obvious “the best CVs generate most interviews”.

So where did the Resume come from and how did it all begin?

1482: Leonardo da Vinci includes his list of skills in a letter seeking employment to the Duke of Milan, in what could be the first resume (No one really knows for sure).

A Brief History of the Resume

1900: Resumes begin to appear as separate documents from letters seeking jobs. Guides to business correspondence instruct job seekers to include just the facts, and leave personality to the cover letter.

1926: The word Resume is first used to mean “a written summary of biographical information” in an ad in Lincoln, Nebraska, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

1966: Xerox introduces the Magnafax Telecopier, the first widely-available modern fax machine, and resumes start traveling over telephone lines.

1994: On the 4th May Jobserve launches the first job board.

2013: Philippe Dubost, a French web product manager, builds an online resume in the style of an Amazon product page. It helps get him a job at Birchbox.

2015: Suzie Finch becomes a professional CV Designer launching The Career Improvement Club which makes high quality Resume Designs available to everyone.

9 Resume Templates That'll Take Your Career To The Next Level...

CV Advice, Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch

Resume templates come in a variety of different designs, colours, layouts and styles therefore choosing the one that best suits your career history and personality can be a challenging task. In this latest blog we’ve put together a collection of our most popular resume templates and highlighted which professions they are best suited for.

Whether you are a Graduate or a Teacher, an IT Consultant or HR Manager the following overview should give you some insight into which Resume Template is best suited to you...

Resume Template 1 - The Creative CV / Designer CV

A Creative CV / Creative Resume shouldn't be too long, the main focus for an employer is to review the quality of the design work and not to deliberate over skills and bullet points.  Ensure that all job applications include both a CV / Resume and a Portfolio.  Our example...

Resume Template 2 - The  CV Template For Serious Professionals

With serious professions it is important to pick a resume template with a strong layout but without the distraction of too many graphical elements.  Keep colours neutral and focus on CV Content.  Our example...

Resume Template 3 - The  Teacher Resume

Teacher Resumes can require plenty of space to list achievements, skills and specialist courses.  These documents need to be able to incorporate lists easily and display information clearly.  Our example...

Resume Template 4 - The  Creative Intern / Creative Graduate Resume

Competition is high for Graduate roles therefore it is important your CV / Resume makes an impression and stands out from other similar applications.  Be sure to include links to portfolios / social networks as well.  Our example...

Resume Template 5 - The  Serious Intern / Professional Graduate Resume

As mentioned competition is very high for Graduate roles, your experience will be limited therefore focus on grades and achievements (don't waffle on about non relevant work history). It is essential you triple check your documents - just one typo might be enough to find your CV in the rejected pile.  Our example...

Resume Template 6 - The Office Worker Resume

We've picked a slightly creative template with neutral colours here, however we would recommend choosing a template that mirrors the personality of the employer.  If they are a corporate company consider something straight-up professional like the Newgate, otherwise if they are perhaps a trendy web start-up you could consider the Compton.  Otherwise play it safe with this, our general example...

Download this Creative Resume Template Here.

Download this Creative Resume Template Here.

Resume Template 7 - The Finance Resume

We've highlighted a strong document design which lends itself nicely to finance professions. A well-designed CV template is paramount for finance professionals as employers expect candidates to impart information clearly and succinctly (as this typically forms part of the day job).   Our example...

Resume Template 8 - Creative Types (But Not Designers)

There are plenty of professions which require a creative outlook but don't involve getting down and dirty with PhotoShop.  Perhaps you are a Creative Producer or a Social Media Executive either way this template will show potential clients you understand what it takes to stand-out   Our example...

Resume Template 9 - A CV For IT & Techie Types

CV Templates for technical roles need to handle lists of skills and be able to easily display achievements and accomplishments.  Vacancies in this sector can often be miss understood by 3rd party recruiters or internal talent sourcers therefore demonstrate your most relevant skills clearly and tailor each application for maximum impact .  Our example...

Looking for bespoke advice...

If you'd like us to recommend a Resume Template that matches your exact profession get in touch with and we'll gladly help :)

Good luck with the job search!

Interview Preparation - 3 Top Tips To Overcome The Jitters

Interview PreparationSuzie Finch
Interview Preparation

Let's face it, job interviews can be pretty scary things.  The thought of being judged by a complete stranger is a daunting feeling for anyone.

I've seen brilliant candidates stumble at an interview stage based purely on nerves, which is a preventable and totally unnecessary problem (the view from the employer's side of the desk is - we just want candidates to do well and be themselves).

To help your interview preparation we've put together a few useful pointers to keep those interview nerves in check...

1. Interview Prep is King...

Research shows that you should spend roughly twice the amount of time researching your interview than actually attending it (that's about 2-3 hours). One of the big reasons you're nervous before an interview is the fear of stepping into the unknown, in-depth interview preparation is a great way to build confidence and gain insight.

  • Ask for a job specification (this is different from a job advert), it will give you better insight into the role, and what skills are required. Read it over and over;

  • Become a digital stalker… visit company websites as well as social media profiles. Instagram and Facebook are good for understanding company culture, Twitter for general news and chat and LinkedIn for corporate structure and team bios.

  • Don’t overlook the basics, get to the interview with plenty of time, check for travel disruptions, print out a high quality copy of your CV and prepare your outfit in advance (in case dry cleaning needed).

2. Slow Down, Listen and be in Control…

The start of an interview is when nerves tend to hit their peak. Be sure to take breaths, remain calm and consider each question carefully before answering. The early questioning stage of an interview is generally the hardest and most stressful, but relax, as things go on you should start to get into the swing of things and even start to enjoy it.  

The key is to remain calm, take a few seconds to contemplate each question before answering (don’t spurt out answers!), and don’t be afraid to ask interviewers to repeat questions or clarify what they mean.

If you are the fidgety type, then a useful way to stem that nervous energy is to hold a pen and jot down notes.  Not only will this make you look professional, but it will act as a distraction from the interview and give you time to collect your thoughts.

3. Silence That Little Voice in your Head…

Before your interview you need to channel positive energy, don’t worry, I’m not going to start quoting “Mr Motivator” but it’s the small things can make a real difference.  Ensure your music playlist is up-beat and positive. Give yourself a pep talk to silence any negative “I’m not good enough” thoughts and smile – you’ve got an interview at (we assume) a top employer you want to work at.

Once you overcome your nerves, you’ll realise that job interviews aren’t that scary, it’s just two groups of people chatting about stuff they should know about. So relax, don’t worry (as the worst outcome is not getting a job you don’t have in the first place) and nail it with confidence and a smile.  Good luck!


7 Questions You MUST Ask In Your Next Job Interview...

Job Search AdviceSuzie Finch
Job Interview

Sometimes the best way to show initiative in an interview is to ask a few bright questions, go on, impress your future bosses!

Here are 7 questions you MUST ask in your next interview...

1) What is the working environment like?

// Employers love to talk about themselves, this is a great question to uncover what it's really like to work at the company.  If you see enthusiasm then it's a pretty good bet that this is a good place to work.

2) Is there autonomy in the role - Can I use my own initiative?

// Highlight to your employer that you are willing to take the bull by the horns and to go above and beyond what the minimum requires.  Employers don't like to micro-manage employees so they will be impressed with this question!

3) What long term career progression is there?

// No business likes a high staff turnover, this question shows employers you are in it for the long haul!

4) Why did YOU join X company?

// Highlight your curious side and gain insight into what made other people join their business.

5) Can I meet the team? or What is the team dynamic like?

// Show interest in the team environment, meet them, and influence the influencers.

6) Do you have any social events?

// Understand the bigger picture!  Employers love staff who contribute outside the office and buy into the complete corporate culture.  This question says "I'm up for it!"

7) What time does the office open / shut?

// Show that you're a hard worker!  This question implies that you are prepared to go beyond the standard 9 to 5.  It is also a nice way of teasing out the working hours without asking it as a direct question.

Get more interviews! Download a new CV Template here: and choose from uber-modern, professional and creative CV designs.