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A CV should include details about yourself that is compelling and potent enough to convince the recruiter to call you in for a follow-up interview and potentially hire you.

When you apply for a job and you are asked to provide a CV, the recruiter just really wants to know if you’re going to be an asset or liability to the company and nobody wants to hire a liability. Since you would not get a one on one chance with the recruiter before an interview, one of the ways to prove that you’re a possible asset is by making sure your CV portrays that; this is why it is important that you know what to include in your CV.

Although nothing is set in stone, there are some formats that a CV ought to follow. The CV is supposed to be written according to the formats to attract the recruiter to the CV from the very beginning. A standard CV should include the following:

What to include in a CV:

  1. Name

  2. Contact details

  3. Personal statement

  4. Core skills

  5. Work experience

  6. Education and qualifications

  7. Hobbies and interests (optional)

Name:

A standard CV should have the full names (no nicknames allowed) of the candidate written in a visible and readable font at the very top of the page. Your name should be very obvious and easily pointed and should be the first thing on your CV.

Contact details:

Your contact details include your email address (a professional one- if the one you have is something funny like iliketoeat@yahoo.com, it is advisable to create another email address before applying for the job), your telephone number (in the case that you would need to be reached by the recruiter), and your current address. If you have a social media account like LinkedIn, you can also include the link in this section. Try as much as you can not to let this section occupy a lot of space in your CV.

Personal statement:

This section is one good way to sell yourself and convince your recruiter that you are right for the job. Ideally, a personal statement section contains about 4-5 lines of information about the candidate. As this is the very first thing a recruiter would see when going through your CV it is important that you convey your message in precise form with just the right amount of intelligence and professionalism to convince your recruiter that you know what you are doing.

Core skills:

Adding this section to your CV would help make an impression on the recruiter. You can list your skills in a bullet format; this helps with readability and visibility. You can use this to create a brief yet strong outline of your abilities and what you would be able to offer to the organization if and when hired. One thing to note however is that you should as much as you can tailor the skills you would be listing to the ones mentioned in the job offer. Go through it many times, bring out the much-needed ones and include them on your CV.

If you have knowledge with a particular software that would be of use to the job, include it in this section. If you can speak a foreign language also, this is the best place to include it. Try as much as possible to skip the common and generic ones like “team leader”,  “hard worker”, etc. Recruiters always want to employ people with a lot of potentials that can benefit their organization. It is left to you to convince the recruiter that you are that person.

Work experience:

This section is very important in a CV. It basically tells the recruiter if you have any experience that can be of use to you when hired. For recent graduates and students searching for IT placements, in this section, you can always include voluntary work, IT placements (for graduates), school work and the likes. You should not leave it blank because you have no work experience. Buff up the one you have and make it work for you.

On your CV, it is advisable to follow the chronological order when listing work experience. This shows the recruiter the jobs you have undertaken from the most recent one to the least recent.

Try as much as you can to embellish the most recent positions you have held; recruiters are more interested in the recent ones. Take your time with this section, list out your job position at the organization, your role, your duties, what you achieved, and the skills that came in handy in your workplace.

To make it an interesting read to the recruiter, you can list it out according to this format;

  • Role structure: this should give a detailed outline of what your job was and what you had to do.
  • Responsibilities: everyone in an organization has roles to play for the overall running of the company. You should list out your responsibilities in a clear and concise manner.
  • Achievements: if during your stay at the company, you implemented a system that made things better or you won an award, you can include it too. This shows your recruiter that you are innovative, you can think on your own, and that you can work well with people. Every recruiter wants people like this in their organization.

Education and qualifications:

Some parts of your qualifications would have been mentioned in the personal statement and core skills section so it only makes sense that you go into a more detailed listing of your education and qualifications in your CV also. For recent graduates who do not have any work experience, the educational background aspect of your CV should be thoroughly utilized.

You should list your qualifications in chronological order from the highest to the lowest. If you were the leader of a debate team that made it to the finals of competition or even won, list it on your CV. List internship positions, projects you have undertaken as relevant to the job you are applying for. This is basically another chance to sell yourself to the recruiter and it should not be wasted.

For people that have enough work experience however, the recruiter would most likely not be very interested in your education. You can list the important ones; like college, high school, if you have a Master’s degree you can also include it. If you have undergone training in courses that would make you better at the job you are applying for, this is a very good place to mention it also.

Hobbies and Interests:

For people with little or no work experience, this section might help in convincing the recruiter to give you a chance. Either way, it is an optional section and should be kept as short as possible. Also, including hobbies like watching movies and dancing would not in any way to help you. So if you’re including hobbies in your CV, look for a creative way to put it down.

Things that should not be included in your CV

We have covered the things and important information that should be listed on your CV but you should know that there are some things that should absolutely not make it to your CV. Some of these things are

Date of birth, age, marital status, religious beliefs:

These set of information are very useless as regards the job and are not to be included at all in your CV. Adding something as important as your age or religion can even work against you so it is better not to include it.

Photographs:

Except for if you’re applying for the position of a photographer, a model or an actor, a photograph of yourself is absolutely not needed in your CV and it should never be included.

Short term employment:

if you recently got a job but for some reason or the other, lost it in the space of say two weeks, you should not include it on your CV. This would discourage a lot of recruiters and even if the reason for losing the job was not in any way through a fault of yours, they would automatically assume that you are a fickle and unreliable person.

Lies:

There is no need to lie and embellish points in your CV. Be sincere as possible and not exaggerate your educational background or previous work experience. These things tend to disqualify candidates.

Your grades:

Apart from if they were very exceptional, there is no need to include your grades on your CV.

Social media links not related to the job:

The only social media link or information you can include in your CV is that of your LinkedIn profile. You can’t apply for a job and include your Instagram or Facebook handle. The recruiter has absolutely no business with this.

Personal information about yourself:

Your CV is not a biography of some sorts and so long as it is not relevant to the job you are applying for, your personal life should not be included in your CV.

Many people make mistakes that disqualify them every day in their CV but with these few points, you should be able to to produce a worthwhile and interesting CV that would be sure to catch the attention of the recruiter. For guides on how to write CVs, you can check through some of the samples on our websites.

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Good luck with your job search.

What to include in a CV
What to include in a CV?
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