Did you know that the average job vacancy can receive anywhere between 25-100 applications?
So if you hope to secure an interview, you need to create an impressive application that stands out from the competition.
To help you achieve this, we’ve put together a comprehensive CV writing resource below. Check out our guide and 3 general CV examples below for our top tips.
General CV example 1
General CV example 2
General CV example 3
This CV example demonstrates the type of info you should be including within your CV, as well as how to format and layout the content in a way which looks professional and is easy for time-strapped recruiters to read.
This is the look and feel you should be aiming for, so remember to refer back to it throughout your CV writing process.
General CV structure & formatting
Recruiters and employers are busy, and if they can’t find the information they’re looking for in a few seconds, it could be game over for your application.
It should be clear, easily legible, well-organised and scannable – check out some simple tips and tricks below:
How to format your CV
- Length: If you want to hold the reader’s attention and ensure your CV isn’t yawn-worthy, it’s best to stick to two sides of A4 or less. This is more than enough room to highlight why you’re a good match for the role – anything more can quickly become tedious!
- Readability: Make sure your CV is easy to read and looks professional by applying some simple formatting tricks. Bullet points are great for making large paragraphs more digestible, while formatting your headings with bold or coloured text will help the reader to find the information they need, with speed.
- CV design: While it’s okay to add your own spin to your CV, avoid overdoing the design. If you go for something elaborate, you might end up frustrating recruiters who, above anything, value simplicity and clarity.
- 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.
When writing your CV, break up the content into the following key sections, to ensure it can be easily digested by busy recruiters and hiring managers:
- Contact details – Always list these at the very top of your CV – you don’t want them to be missed!
- Profile – An introductory paragraph, intended to grab recruiters attention and summarise your offering.
- Work experience / career history – Working from your current role and working backwards, list your relevant work experience.
- Education – Create a snappy summary of your education and qualifications.
- Interest and hobbies – An optional section to document any hobbies that demonstrate transferable skills.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what you should include in each section of your CV.
CV Contact Details
Make it easy for recruiters to get in touch, by heading your CV with your contact details.
There’s no need for excessive details – just list the basics:
- Mobile number
- Email address – Use a professional address with no nicknames.
- Location – Just write your general location, such as ‘London’ or ‘Cardiff’ – there’s no need to put your full address.
- LinkedIn profile or portfolio URL
General CV Profile
Your CV profile is the first thing recruiters will read – so your goal is to give them a reason to read onto the end of the document!
Create a short and snappy paragraph that showcases your key skills, relevant experience and impressive accomplishments.
Ultimately, it should prove to the reader that you’ve got what it takes to carry out the job.
CV profile writing tips:
- Make it short and sharp: Recruiters have piles of CVs to read through and limited time to dedicate to each, so it pays to showcase your abilities in as few words as possible. 3-4 lines is ideal.
- 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: Leave your career objectives or goals out of your profile. You only have limited space to work with, so they’re best suited to your cover letter.
- Avoid generic phrases: “Determined team player who always gives 110%” might seem like a good way to fill up your CV profile, but generic phrases like this won’t land you an interview. Recruiters hear them time and time again and have no real reason to believe them. Instead, pack your profile with your hard skills and tangible achievements.
Example CV profile for General
What to include in your General CV profile?
- Summary of experience: Demonstrate your suitability for your target jobs by giving a high level summary of your previous work work experience, including the industries you have worked in, types of employer, and the type of roles you have previous experience of.
- Relevant skills: Make your most relevant General key skills clear in your profile. These should be tailored to the specific role you’re applying for – so make sure to check the job description first, and aim to match their requirements as closely as you can.
- Vital qualifications: If the jobs you are applying to require candidates to have certain qualifications, then you must add them in your profile to ensure they are seen by hiring managers.
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
In addition to your CV profile, your core skills section provides an easily digestible snapshot of your skills – perfect for grabbing the attention of busy hiring managers.
As General jobs might receive a huge pile of applications, this is a great way to stand out and show off your suitability for the role.
It should be made up of 2-3 columns of bullet points and be made up of skills that are highly relevant to the jobs you are targeting.
Vital skills for your General CV
Executive administration – providing high level administrative support to executives in the workplace.
Negotiation – using a variety of skills to come to a strategic resolution when disagreements arise.
Budgetary management – tracking the income and expenditure against each budget.
Business strategy – formulating and implementing organisational goals, outlining the plan of action to achieve these goals and guiding decision making in line with these goals.
Market research – gathering information about the industry and market environment to understand factors external to the business; customers to develop a customer profile; and competitors to develop a competitor profile.
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
Now that recruiters have a good overview of your skills and abilities, you need to jump into the detail of your career history.
Give them a more thorough insight into what you can do by creating a detailed list of your relevant experience.
Start with your current role, and work backwards through all the relevant positions you’ve held.
This could be freelance, contract or voluntary work too; as long as it’s related to the role you’re applying for.
Structuring each role
Lengthy, unbroken chunks of text is a recruiters worst nightmare, but your work experience section can easily end up looking like that if you are not careful.
To avoid this, use my tried-and-tested 3-step structure, as illustrated below:
Firstly, give the reader some context by creating a punchy summary of the job as a whole.
You should mention what the purpose or goal of your role was, what team you were part of and who you reported to.
Use bullet points to detail the key responsibilities of your role, highlighting hard skills, software and knowledge wherever you can.
Keep them short and sharp to make them easily digestible by readers.
Round up each role by listing 1-3 key achievements, accomplishments or results.
Wherever possible, quantify them using hard facts and figures, as this really helps to prove your value.
Sample job description for General CV
Working for a large public sector organisation at their Leeds Office. Responsible for providing both routine and bespoke administrative support to the office, supporting the organisation to meet its strategic objectives.
- Collaborate with colleagues on the development and implementation of new standardised business policies and practices to maximise profits and minimise unnecessary expenses
- Interview and train new administrative staff, ensuring they can provide exceptional administrative support to company executives
- Manage office supplier relationships including contract negotiations
- Generate monthly reports on the performance of the company
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 General roles.
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 General 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!