What should you prioritise on a CV?
In today’s cut-throat jobs market, even the most experienced of professionals can find themselves fighting for a role which they feel they are perfect for. With fewer employers hiring and more jobseekers in the marketplace than ever before, landing a position is never guaranteed these days.
Of course, there are still plenty of jobs out there, even if they are increasingly over-subscribed. With the right skills, a strong presentation of yourself and perhaps a little luck, there is no reason why you can’t be the latest addition to a company’s team. Yet, as any jobseeker will tell you, the road to employment – in every industry – can be a long and arduous one.
That journey starts with a CV, the strength of which will help determine how far you make it. Prioritising information can be one of the hardest aspects to get right and will differ slightly depending on whether you’re applying for investment banking jobs or something within the insurance industry. So, how should you go about it?
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Education and qualifications
Everyone will arrange their CV in a slightly different manner but there are essentially two layouts which most people use, both of which are relatively effective. The key is to make sure you get the most relevant information across in a clear and concise manner. Most good CVs will start by outlining the candidate’s education or most recent qualifications.
You should always include things like a university degree or A-levels, regardless of the industry sector in which you are applying. If you have additional qualifications that are relevant for the role it is important to make sure you prioritise these above more generic academic credentials – it’s an easy way to stand out from the crowd.
If, for example, you are applying for a finance director job job and have a ACA first time passes or a CFQ, you should prioritise this.
It is also worth noting that you don’t need to list all your educational achievements. Space is restricted on a CV (it shouldn’t be more than two A4 pages as a general rule) so don’t waste valuable room by including GCSE grades or less important qualifications. Instead, include a single line which details the number and type of passes you received (e.g. 11 GCSEs grades A*-C) .
After you have listed your qualifications, your work history should be the next thing to include. As with your education, you should prioritise your most recent, and relevant, job roles first.
When talking about your previous employment, don’t focus simply on the responsibilities that came with the job title. Instead, go into more detail and prioritise specific examples where you demonstrated skills that an employer is looking for. If you can include real-world evidence of your achievements, an employer is far more likely to imagine you in the job.
As with your educational background, avoid wasting space on things like part-time work that you may have done at university. Always include the length of time you were employed for in each position and address any gaps in your employment history as concisely as possible.