The Basic Structure of a Successful CV

Author: Zenresume Editorial Team
Updated on September 18, 2020

While the basic outline and subheadings of a standard CV may vary from one job applicant to the next, the goals of this standard document are almost always the same: a great CV will communicate the applicant’s interest in the position, provide her contact information and residential address, showcase her work history, and emphasise the skill sets that make her likely to succeed in the job at hand.

Most of the time, these details are formatted according to the following outline. Again, this outline may vary slightly depending on the employers, the industry and the individual job seeker. But when in doubt, applicants can use this model as a guide.

  1. Contact information. This information should be presented at the top of the page and should include the full name, home address, email address and phone number of the applicant. Other personal information, like birthdays, won’t be required. Some of these details may actually expose employers to accusations of age, gender and religious bias, so think carefully before including anything beyond basic contact information.
  2. Work history. List each previous employer and position title organised chronologically with the most recent position first. Include clear dates for each position.
  3. A personal profile. This will be a brief description of your strongest qualities and an explanation of how these qualities will help you succeed in the position in question.
  4. Educational qualifications and training credentials. List the title of each degree or certification you hold, plus the date this certification was earned.
  5. Personal interests. Any special accomplishments outside the professional realm, including sports victories, artistic achievements, musical accomplishments, software skills and spoken languages can be included in this section.
  6. References. A standard CV should conclude with a short list of references who have given permission to be contacted by a potential employer. At least one of these should be a former employer, preferably from a recent position.



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