What to Include in a CV to Impress a Recruiter (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 25 October 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A CV is an exposition of your job history and education, which you submit when applying for a job. A CV shows a hiring manager that you're qualified for the job and have relevant experience. Writing an informative and professional CV is necessary for getting to the interview stage of a job application. In this article, we show what to include in a CV to improve your chances of getting a job.
What to include in a CV
This section shows what to include in a CV:
Your CV is a tool to show your qualifications to the hiring manager. Ensuring that your up-to-date contact details are available and easily readable means the hiring manager can contact you if they decide to continue with your application. Include your name, a contact number and an email address.
Contact detail duplications
It's important that your CV is easy for the hiring manager to understand. Consider duplicating your contact details in Cantonese or Mandarin. Unless you're certain that the hiring manager speaks English, including your contact details in Cantonese or Mandarin could help you earn an interview opportunity.
You can include a couple of sentences telling the hiring manager about the direction you want your career to take. This is to show the hiring manager your interest in this job specifically. Only include this section if it's relevant to the job you're applying for.
Demonstrating that you're qualified to perform the job is an important part of presenting yourself to a hiring manager. Format your education section in reverse chronological order, with your highest level of education first. Remember to include the name of the school, college or university that you attended, the years that you were there and the overall mark that you achieved.
In this section, list all your relevant job positions. Include the name of the organisation and the dates that you worked there. Include specific examples of what you achieved in the role. If you have any facts to back up your examples, then use this information to enhance your credibility. For example, if an innovation that you introduced improved workplace efficiency by 30%, mention it in your CV. Additionally, include any awards that you achieved at the job or any prizes your employer gave you for exceptional work.
Other work and experience
This section is for any internships, training employment and volunteering that you have completed. Include the organisation name, the dates you worked there and your achievements. These should all be relevant to the job you're applying for.
This section allows you to put greater emphasis on your additional skills. If you're fluent in another language or possess exceptional IT skills, list them in this section. Try to make them relevant to the job. You can include soft skills like communication and creativity, but back them up with some evidence.
If you have published any work, include it in the publications section of your CV. This may be anything from academic journals to children's fiction. As long as it's relevant or you can demonstrate relevant skills that you learned through the experience, it can enhance your CV.
Include any professional qualifications that you have achieved in this section. State the organisation or exam board and the date completed. As with the education section, format this section in reverse chronological order.
Include any memberships you have in this section. This could be with professional bodies or memberships of a trust, charity or organisation. Make sure it's relevant to the job. For example, if you're applying for an accountant role and are a member of a professional accounting organisation, you may add this.
Consider including a summary of your professional achievements. This is relevant if you have achieved a significant amount throughout your extensive career. Freelancers and contract workers may work on many projects throughout their professional lives. Summarising their careers could be beneficial for demonstrating their successes and general career path. Limit this section to only a few sentences that sum up your achievements and the skills acquired from them.
Adding your hobbies at the end can be a good way to round off your CV. Not only can an interviewer use this as a talking point in the interview, but you can also demonstrate the skills that you have acquired outside of your career which may be useful in the workplace. Try to keep this to four hobbies or fewer.
Tips for writing a successful CV
Follow these tips to make your CV appear more professional to increase your chances of impressing a hiring manager:
Choose a format carefully
Design your CV so it's as simple as possible for a hiring manager to read. This means including headings for each section following the titles and order given above. You want a hiring manager to look at your CV and immediately pick out any piece of information that they need.
Tailor your CV
Make sure your CV reflects the job that you're applying for. Present the most relevant aspects of your career. This way, you can demonstrate that you're qualified for the job.
To apply for a job, it's important to read your job description thoroughly. Identify any keywords that are in the job summary and incorporate them in your CV. Some companies use software to scan CVs, therefore including relevant keywords can help your job application pass through.
Make it stand out
Hiring managers may see many CVs for a single job. Including some colour in your CV can make it stand out to a hiring manager. Make sure that it's still scannable and easy to read.
Keep it short
Keep your CV as concise but informative as possible. To ensure that hiring managers read to the end, limit the length of your CV to one to two pages. Only include the most important information because you can further elaborate on your experiences in your cover letter.
Don't be afraid of highlighting your achievements
A CV is meant to present you as a reliable and qualified candidate for the job. Make sure that you don't undersell your experience and expertise. That's why highlighting your skills and achievements is necessary.
Whilst it's good to write persuasively about your experience, make sure that what you're saying is true. A hiring manager may check with your references to ensure your experience is accurate. Make sure you can support your details with evidence, in case you're requested to do so.
Explain gaps in employment
Some people take time away from work. If you have taken a break for over three months, provide a simple and brief explanation. For example, you might have had a child or been on sabbatical leave.
Edit your CV
Your CV is your first means of communicating with a hiring manager. Spelling or grammatical mistakes can make you look unprofessional. Take time to read over your CV to ensure there are no mistakes.
Add social media
If you have a professional social media page include a link to these profiles. You can also include a link to any professional websites or examples of your work online. However, only include these links if they're of a professional nature and related to the job.
Here's an example of the headings and suggested text which you could use in your own CV:
I am a professional and organised teacher seeking junior secondary school employment to challenge me and provide practical experience.
2020-2021: Postgraduate degree in teaching from the University of Hong Kong
2017-2020: Upper Second Class undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Hong Kong
Secondary School Teacher
Belilios Public School, September 2019 to June 2021
Successfully introduced a new classroom management system, which improved the success and engagement of my students
Tutor Nation, June 2021 to September 2021
I had a 100% success rate in the exams taken by my students.
Communication. I can effectively educate a classroom of students.
Leadership. My leadership skills are demonstrated through my classroom experience and ability to direct a class.
Problem solving and creativity. I can adapt to the needs of my students and find new ways to explain concepts to my students.
I am part of a society dedicated to debate. I have improved my critical thinking and communication skills through this hobby.
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