What to include on your CV?

Your CV should not go beyond two pages, so deciding what to include and what to leave off is very important. Everything you include should be relevant to the needs of your employer and be designed to enhance your application.

It is vital to fully understand what the company is looking for; parts of your background will be more relevant to what the company requires than others. You can adapt your CV for the specific job requirement; try to match what you offer with the company’s needs.

Do your research on the company, read the job advertisement carefully and then highlight how your CV ties in with their job requirements.

Include relevant examples of your achievements that make you an especially well qualified candidate. Show why your skills are transferrable; tell the employer what you can do with your talent in the position you’re applying for. Bullet-point your list of skills and include a brief note alongside each skill. The employer can scan the list and you can talk in greater depth about them at your interview.

Under the heading of education and qualifications you should include formal and vocational training but keep the list short and concise. Include the details of where and when you received the training but it’s not necessary to list the grades of your qualifications. If they aren’t exceptional it is usually better to omit this information

When you are listing any jobs you have had, it is common to do this in reverse chronological order; listing your most recent job first and working backwards. Give a brief summary of your roles and responsibilities and omit any jobs not related to the job you are applying for. Also avoid listing your salaries

What you leave off your CV is very important. Decide what is relevant and edit out the rest. For example, similar jobs can be grouped together under just one heading and emphasise promotions rather just listing all your job positions

Leave off:

Irrelevant temporary job positions

Your religion; unless applying for a job at a religious institution

Political affiliations

Information about your family members

Lies about your job experience or educational background

Health problems

Marital status

What you hated about your last job

What you hated about your last boss or co-workers

Your photograph

Salary history

Age (for age, marital status and family status you need to be culturally aware. In the US it is not the custom to include these details. In the UK date of birth is optional and marital status no longer required. Other countries will have different requirements)

Things you could leave off, if your CV is becoming too long:

Interests and hobbies; anything relevant could be included elsewhere or put in your covering letter

Superfluous information; driving licence or school grades

References (there is no need to provide references until a job offer has been made. You can state references are available on request or on receipt of a job offer)

Enhance (verb)    Make better and more attractive
Vital (adj)      Very important
Highlight (verb)    Emphasise, make prominent
Bullet point (noun)   Items printed in a list, after a centred dot
Scan (verb)     Look over quickly
Vocational training (noun) Training towards gaining a special skill
Chronological (adj)   Arranged in order of time of occurrence
Affiliations (noun)   Relationships
Culturally aware (adj) Sensitive to the differences between cultures
Superfluous (adj)   More than is needed, pointless
References (noun)  People who are in a position to recommend another, as for a job.