What are the key things I need on my CV?


It’s a question I often get asked and something I work on with all of my clients who are going to the job market.

For almost everyone, two A4 pages is what you are aiming for, using a clear typeface and avoiding things like boxes and shading if you are going to be applying online.

Your header information needs to make it clear who you are and should include your email address, phone number and a link to your LinkedIn profile if it is up to date. You generally don’t need your full postal address.

The header information should be followed by a profile. The purpose of this is to give your reader reasons to want to read the rest of the CV.

Briefly tell them who you are professionally, the key skills and qualities you bring to the table, and highlight anything that will help you stand out from the crowd (for example,  key qualifications or relevant language skills).

Whilst the profile is likely to be a paragraph of around 5 lines, you can optionally, and briefly, add additional Key Skills, highlight Key Achievements, promote other selling points such as patents or publications. A Career Professional will be able to guide you on what is best for you right now (resources below).

What follows is the main body of your CV; demonstrating your achievements and, most importantly the results and benefits you have brought to your organisation. They need to be relevant and could potentially come from any part of your life. Your target market will determine this and how you lay your CV out. As a rough guide:

-    If you are going for a similar role or step up, Reverse Chronological usually works       best. displaying your achievements by when and where you did them.

-    If you are making a big change or change of career, Functional or Skills Based CVs       often work best, displaying your achievements by the type of skill they represent.

Have a look at the CV Templates (again, resources below).

Other information you need to include on your CV:

  • Relevant qualifications, especially professional ones
  • Professional memberships
  • Other relevant training
  • Language skills
  • Something about what you do outside of work can be useful (like hobbies, interests, volunteer positions), though keep it brief and only if you can talk about them.

We tend not to put pictures on CVs in the UK, and there is no real need to say anything about references. In addition, you don’t need to say anything about salary or reasons for leaving.

If you follow those guidelines you won’t go too far wrong, but please note this is an overview and you may well benefit from some more insights and guidance to lock down that job of your dreams.

Here is a free resource to help guide you:

 CV Template Tool Kit

 Would you benefit from a 1-to1 personalised approach?

Consider a Career Professional: someone like myself who is experienced and properly accredited can help you refine your CV to get you the results you want now. They’ll also help you with taking it to the job market, interview prep and anything else you need for your career. You can contact me to find out more or find other reputable career coaches on the official UK Register of Career Development Professionals

 Over to you!

  • Where do you usually go for advice on your CV?
  • What is your biggest CV question?
  • Before you read the last paragraph, did you know where to find a Properly qualified career Professional?

Remember, The Career Base Camp is coming soon. Register your interest and be the first to reserve your Founder Member seat:


Stay connected with news and updates!

Top practical tips and inspiration for your career - arriving straight into your inbox.

Subscribe today!

50% Complete

Enter your details in the form below and then check your email to confirm your subscription.