Applying for a job with a CV and covering letter

What to include in your CV

Not sure what to include in your CV ? Not sure what it should/shouldn’t say? We have compiled a brief description of what employers will want to see upon opening your CV, as well as a few pointers on what not to include and common pitfalls to help you avoid  disappointment when job hunting.


Contact details

The most important thing on your CV is your contact details, after all – you could have the most impressive CV but if your details are missing, how is anybody going to contact you? Be wary of using inappropriate email address’, may be a fun email address to use in your personal life, but what message are you giving to your employer? Be sure to include your Address and telephone numbers.



This is the earliest opportunity on your CV to show you have exactly what they’re looking for. It will normally be the first thing they read so make it gripping. Try to avoid using the “I” “I am” “I have” etc. We know who the CV is about, instead get straight the point. For example:

Don’t write, “I am an experienced Administrator and I have excellent communication skills”.

Instead write, “An experienced Administrator with excellent communication skills”.

Also try to include your key skills and experience you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for.


Employment History

From experience, employers like to see your most recent job at the top of your list, followed by your previous and so on.

The information you include should be as informative as possible, not just a summary of the job description.

Highlight activities you were involved in, things you maybe did that aren’t necessarily in your job description, such as training other colleagues, or assisting other departments.

Include achievements, such as how you met or exceeded any targets that you were set and how you added value to the company. This could include additional income you helped to generate, costs you reduced, improvements etc. Wherever possible, try to quantify your achievements. For example, say your marketing idea generated a 10% increase in market share, or you saved the department £5,000 by switching stationery suppliers. No matter what role you worked in, you should find a way to demonstrate your positive impact on your team, organisation or customers.


Avoiding Negative information

To ensure that you are only seen in a good light and to make sure your future employer gets the right impression of you from your CV, then avoid the following common pitfalls:  Absence of important information. Many candidates make assumptions about what’s important to the employer and so fail to provide the relevant information in their CV. Being too generic. Many candidates write a broad CV because they want to keep their options open. But unless it’s clear who you are and what you do, then recruiters won’t know what to do with you.

Errors. Many CVs have errors in them and are often rejected on that basis alone. Your CV must be impeccably presented if you want to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail. Always ask someone else to check it over for you.

Negative information. Your CV should include only positive information. Never criticise a previous employer or refer to difficulties or disappointments unless you were able to turn them around.

Poor language. The use of jargon, clumsy expression or slang can sabotage the chances of even the most capable of candidates. Your communication skills are being judged by your use of language in your CV. Don’t waffle, be precise and use positive action words such as “initiated this” or “created that” to reinforce the message that you’re an upbeat, “can-do” type of candidate.


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