Writing a CV: What to (and not to) include

Writing a CV can vary depending on the job you’re applying for. There is no one size fits all solution for the perfect CV, however, it should always be clearly formatted, short enough for a recruiter to scan quickly and tailored to the role you’re applying for.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together some basic rules on what to include and what to leave off.

What to include

Personal Details

Start with your personal details including, name, address and contact details (phone number and email address). Unless otherwise told to, don’t include your age or date of birth.

Personal Statement

This needs to consist of a single paragraph that focuses on your main skills. Make sure the skills relate to what the job title is asking for, but no one likes a show-off, so don’t brag.

Work Experience

When writing about your work experience start with your most recent place of employment, and then work your way back to the beginning of your employed career.

If there are any areas of your work experience that you feel will add value to the job title, be sure to incorporate a lot of detail into them.


Much like your work experience, start off with your latest qualifications and then list all the qualifications that came before. Be sure to only include the grades that you feel are appropriate to the job, particularly the ones that the employers will be interested in reading.


This area will need to be short and relevant to whatever job you are applying for. Pick the interests that are not only related to the job but can also give an insight into why you would be ideal for the role.


For your references, you must include two; either from a previous employer or someone from your academic background. It is vital that you ask permission from your references first, before putting them in your CV.

If there are any key skills that you think will be worth showing to the company, then feel free to create a section based on your achievements. These must still be relevant to your job application, so no waffling.

What to avoid

Irrelevant Information

Be careful not to go on too much about your personal information. As mentioned above, include only the relevant evidence that is suited for the intended job title. We don’t need the full story.

Private Information

In terms of your personal data, don’t mention anything about your date of birth, religious belief, gender or nationality. This information is unnecessary and won’t add much to your chances of getting the job.

Clichés/Bad Writing

You must be very clear with your writing and avoid stock phrases and generic answers.

Proofread your finished CV or get another person to read through it, before sending to potential employers.

No Photographs

This can be either a necessity or not. Unless the organisation wishes for you to include a photograph of yourself, don’t put one in. If they do, make sure that it’s more of a headshot than a selfie.

Too Bright

A CV needs to be simple and straight to the point. Try not to brighten up your CV by putting in fancy colours and font. Unless you’re applying for a creative position where employers will appreciate the finer details.


Show off your skills and experience by all means but be truthful when doing so. If you aren’t caught out in the interview process, the lie will eventually creep up on you.

Whilst these points are what we recommend for writing a basic CV, make sure you’re adapting to the job you’re applying for and what any requirements the employer is asking for.

It takes just seven seconds for an employer to save or reject a job applicants CV, this means creating a succinct CV is vital if you want to land that all-important interview. If you get the interview? Make it a good one. We’ve identified the top five most common interview mistakes and how to avoid them.

Top Five Interview Mistakes [ ]