CV's should always be tailored to each specific job application but there are a few things to include as standard:
The most important thing is to make your CV concise and easy to read. Choose a clear font no smaller than size 10 and make sure there is plenty of white space. Bullet points can help in some areas to make quick clear points without too many paragraphs, but you should also demonstrate your writing and include long-form text as well.
If possible keep it to a maximum of two pages of A4 and, if necessary, add an additional addendum with more details. This gives the potential employer or recruiter a concise overview of your background, with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of certain projects, and your relevant experience.
You’d be surprised how many people forget to include the basics on their CV, especially when submitting them online. You don’t need to include every contact detail but your name, email, main contact number and address presented clearly at the top of your CV are pretty standard if you're expecting them to contact you!
This is the first thing that’s shown on your CV, and can if done correctly can help you stand out from the crowd. It explains what you’re offering and can bring to the role. Aim to prove why you’re suitable in one short and succinct paragraph. Try not to go over the top with positive adjectives, everyone is ‘hardworking and enthusiastic’, use clear simple language to demonstrate your top key skills and experience for this particular job.
Exactly what is included here will depend on your industry and specific job but relevant educational experience and professional qualifications should be listed here starting with the most recent. If you have trade industry related tickets, include them with the expiry date.
Always start with your most recent experience first and work backwards include all relevant work experience with job title, name of organisation, time in post and key responsibilities for each. There is no need to include every job you’ve ever had but make sure it includes all of your relevant related history.
Use this section to hone in on the exact skills and experience you have that make you the perfect fit for the particular job you are applying for. For example, if you’re an engineer or manager who has saved money on a job, brought a problem project in on time, come up with problem-solving suggestions that impacted positively on your project, organization or role. This section is optional if there have not been any significant contributions along the way then just leave it out.
This is always controversial – there is much debate whether to include hobbies and interests or not. Don’t feel like you have to include them for the sake of it especially if space is tight. If you do want to include some hobbies and interests make sure they are actually interesting and relevant.
References confirm your background for an employer, but it is not essential to list them on your CV. You do need to confirm that references can be made available upon request and make sure you have all of the relevant contact details to hand if they are required.
It can also often be helpful to have hard or electronic copies of references available from previous employers/managers but make sure it's on letter headed paper with the referee's contact details available should they need to be verified. This can save time and convenience.