Not sure what type of CV is going to increase your chances of securing an interview? Don’t panic.
A classic CV will always stand you in good stead during your job hunt, providing you carefully craft your content, of course.
So for tips and advice on how to create an impressive application, check out our writing guide and 3 classic CV templates below.
Classic CV template 1
Classic CV template 2
Classic CV template 3
Unsure of what your Classic CV should look like?
Have a look at the CV example above to get familiar with the structure, layout and format of a professional CV.
As you can see, it provides plenty of relevant information about the applicant but is still very easy to read, and brief – which will please busy recruiters and hiring managers.
Classic CV structure & formatting
First impressions count, so a sloppy, disorganised CV may cause your CV to be overlooked..
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step; if your CV lacks readability, your written content won’t even be seen.
How to format your CV
- Length: Two sides of A4 makes for the perfect CV length, though one page is okay for less experienced applicants. This forces you to make sure that every single sentence adds value to your CV and ensures you avoid waffle.
- Readability: Help out time-strapped recruiters by formatting your CV for easy reading. Using lots of bullet points and lists will help them to skim through your info, while clearly formatted headings will allow them to navigate towards the content which is most useful to them.
- CV design: The saying ‘less is more’ couldn’t be more applicable to CVs. Readability is key, so avoid overly complicated designs and graphics. A subtle colour palette and easy-to-read font is all you need!
- Photographs: Headshot photos aren’t required in a CV by most employers, but some creative and artistic industries like to see them. If you decide to include one, make sure you look smart and professional in the picture.
Quick tip: Creating a professional CV style can be difficult and time-consuming when using Microsoft Word or Google Docs. To create a winning CV quickly, try our quick-and-easy CV Builder and use one of their eye-catching professional CV templates.
Divide your CV into the following major sections when writing it:
- Name and contact details – Head your CV with your name and contact details, to let the reader know who you are and how to contact you.
- CV profile – A brief paragraph which summarises your skills and experience and highlights why you’re a good match for the role.
- Core skills list – A snappy, bullet-pointed list of your most relevant skills.
- Work experience – A structured list of your work experience in reverse chronological order.
- Education – A summary of any relevant qualifications or professional training you’ve completed.
- Hobbies and interests – An optional section, which should only be used if your hobbies are relevant to the jobs you’re applying to.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what you should include in each section of your CV.
CV Contact Details
Write your contact details in the top corner of your CV, so that they’re easy to find but don’t take up too much space.
You only need to list your basic details, such as:
- Mobile number
- Email address
- Location – Don’t list your full address. Your town or city, such as ‘Norwich’ or ‘Coventry’ is perfect.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL – Remember to update these before listing them on an application.
Classic CV Profile
Your CV profile is basically a short introductory paragraph, which summarises your key selling points and highlights why you’d make a good hire.
So, write a well-rounded summary of what you do, what your key skills are, and what relevant experience you have.
It needs to be short, snappy and punchy and, ultimately, entice the reader to read the rest of your CV.
CV profile writing tips:
- Make it short and sharp: It might be tempting to submit a page-long CV profile, but recruiters won’t have the time to read it. To ensure every word gets read, it’s best to include high-level information only; sticking to a length of 3-5 lines.
- Tailor it: No matter how much time you put into your CV profile, it won’t impress if it’s irrelevant to the role you’re applying for. Before you start writing, make a list of the skills, knowledge and experience your target employer is looking for. Then, make sure to mention them in your CV profile and throughout the rest of your application.
- Don’t add an objective: Avoid discussing your career goals in your CV profile – if you think they’re necessary, briefly mention them in your cover letter instead.
- Avoid generic phrases: If there’s one thing that’ll annoy a recruiter, it’s a clichè-packed CV. Focus on showcasing your hard skills, experience and the results you’ve gained in previous roles, which will impress recruiters far more.
Example CV profile
What to include in your Classic CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Start with a brief summary of your relevant experience so far. How many years experience do you have? What type of companies have you worked for? What industries/sectors have you worked in? What are your specialisms?
- Relevant skills: Highlight your skills which are most relevant to the jobs you are applying for, to ensure that recruiters see your most in-demand skills as soon as they open your CV.
- Vital qualifications: Be sure to outline your relevant qualifications, so that anyone reading the CV can instantly see you are qualified for the jobs you are applying to.
Quick tip: If you are finding it difficult to write an attention-grabbing CV profile, choose from hundreds of pre-written profiles across all industries, and add one to your CV with one click in our quick-and-easy CV Builder. All profiles are written by recruitment experts and easily tailored to suit your unique skillset.
Core skills section
Underneath your profile, write a core skills section to make your most relevant skills jump off the page at readers.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points of your relevant skills.
Before you do this, look over the job description and make a list of any specific skills, specialisms or knowledge required.
Then, make sure to use your findings in your list. This will paint you as the perfect match for the role.
Example skills for your CV
Financial planning, analysis and reporting – completing planning, forecasting, budgeting, and analytical activities that support a company’s major business decisions and overall financial health.
Financial audits – completing accurate and objective examinations and evaluations of the company’s financial statements to make sure that the financial records are a fair and accurate representation of the company’s transactions.
Working capital management – managing a company’s assets and liabilities, ensuring the company has enough assets to easily handle its expenses and debts without any risk to the core business.
Due diligence – assessing the company’s historical and current financial performance to establish future forecasts and identify any potential risks.
Mergers and acquisitions – consolidating organisations or their major business assets through financial transactions between companies.
Quick tip: Our quick-and-easy CV Builder has thousands of in-demand skills for all industries and professions, that can be added to your CV in seconds – This will save you time and ensure you get noticed by recruiters.
Your work experience section
Next up is your work experience section, which is normally the longest part of your CV.
Start with your current (or most recent) job and work your way backwards through your experience.
Can’t fit all your roles? Allow more space for your recent career history and shorten down descriptions for your older roles.
Structuring each role
Whilst writing your CV, it’s essential to look at it from the eyes of a recruiter.
If they’re met with giant blocks of text which are impossible to navigate, they might get frustrated and skip onto the next CV.
Instead, make use of the 3-step structure shown below, to give them a pleasant reading experience.
Start with a solid introduction to your role as a whole, in order to build some context.
Explain the nature of the organisation you worked for, the size of the team you were part of, who you reported to and what the overarching purpose of your job was.
Using easy-to-read bullet points, note down your day-to-day responsibilities in the role.
Make sure to showcase how you used your hard sector skills and knowledge.
Lastly, add impact by highlight 1-3 key achievements that you made within the role.
Struggling to think of an achievement? If it had a positive impact on your company, it counts.
For example, you might increased company profits, improved processes, or something simpler, such as going above and beyond to solve a customer’s problem.
Sample job description
Working for a successful private equity backed technology business established in Manchester. Responsible for preparing accurate and timely management accounts while ensuring the integrity of the balance sheet and underlying financial records.
- Prepare accurate management reports for all entities within the division
- Provide accurate supporting documentation during audits, liaising with external auditors as required
- Assist the Finance Business Partner to build and maintain profit and loss budgets and forecasts for the division
- Review and investigate key profit and loss and balance sheet variances compared to budget, forecast and prior year, and provide a detailed commentary to the Finance Business Partner
Quick tip: Create impressive job descriptions easily in our quick-and-easy CV Builder by adding pre-written job phrases for every industry and career stage.
Education and qualifications section
Although there should be mentions of your highest and most relevant qualifications earlier on in your CV, save your exhaustive list of qualifications for the bottom.
If you’re an experienced candidate, simply include the qualifications that are highly relevant to the roles you are applying for.
However, less experienced candidates can provide a more thorough list of qualifications, including A-Levels and GCSEs.
You can also dedicate more space to your degree, discussing relevant exams, assignments and modules in more detail, if your target employers consider them to be important.
Hobbies and interests
This section is entirely optional, so you’ll have to use your own judgement to figure out if it’s worth including.
If your hobbies and interests could make you appear more suitable for your dream job, then they are definitely worth adding.
Interests which are related to the industry, or hobbies like sports teams or volunteering, which display valuable transferable skills might be worth including.
Writing your Classic CV
When putting together your CV, there are a few key points to remember
Always tailor your CV to the target role, even if it means creating several versions for different roles.
Additionally, remember that the structure and format of your CV needs just as much attention as the content.
Good luck with your job search!