Wondering how to structure your cv? Employers and recruitment agencies receive countless CVs for each job vacancy. In such a competitive job market it is vital that your CV stands out from the crowd.

How your CV is structured can be just as important as its contents – it needs to be clear, concise and relevant in order to appeal to potential employers.

Your CV should contain no more than 6 sections:

Section 1 – your personal details. Include your name, address, phone number and email address. You do not need to include your date of birth, a photo or your marital status.

Section 2 – your personal profile and key achievements – this is your opportunity to sell yourself. Use just a few short sentences to highlight your attributes and the skills you can bring to the role

Sections 3 & 4 – your education and work experience. You can alternate these sections, depending on which is strongest or most relevant to the job you are applying for.

Always list your qualifications and experience starting with the most recent.

For your work history, use bullet points to highlight your achievements and duties in the role. Use clear headings detailing your job title, the company name and your period of employment.

Section 5 – your hobbies and interests. This is an important section to include as it gives potential employers an opportunity to develop an image of you as a person as well as an employee.

Section 6 – your referees. It is perfectly acceptable to either list your referees or to state that they are ‘available upon request’.

So, now you know how to structure your CV, here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • Keep it clear, concise and relevant – it should be no more than 2 – 3 A4 pages
  • Always tailor your CV to the job you are applying for.
  • Keep the format consistent.
  • And finally – proofread! And get a friend to proofread!

For more tips on how to write a great CV and to download our CV templates, visit our Jobseekers Guide


Colin Byrne

Senior Consultant

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group

CV Structure

What are the most important aspects of your CV? Find out in just 6 short steps!
Step 1: Personal Details
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone numbers
    • Email address
    • LinkedIn username or hyperlink to your profile

*Top Tip!

It is no longer necessary to include your date of birth or marital status!

Step 2: Personal Profile / Career Objectives

brief introductory paragraph to highlight your suitability to the position, your relevant soft skills and where your previous experience matches the current requirements.

*Top Tips!

    • Try to avoid common clichés such as team player, dependable, committed, etc.
    • Amend the personal profile part of your CV for each individual application – this will ensure it stands out and doesn’t come across as too generic.
Step 3: Education & Professional Qualifications
    • List the most recent first, including graduation year and University/Institute names
    • State the level of your qualifications (e.g. Diploma, Ordinary Degree, Honours Degree, Masters or Level 6, 7, 8 or 9) – many organisations have minimum qualification requirements for certain roles
    • Include professional memberships
    • Include any other relevant training
Step 4: Work History and Achievements

Work History:

    • Outline in detail your work history beginning with the most recent.
    • Use bold font to highlight company name, the position you held and dates of employment.
    • Use bullet points to list responsibilities and achievements.
    • Remember to include your start and finish dates (e.g. March 2016 – December 2019).
    • Explain any ‘gaps’ in employment (e.g. Return to full-time education or Travelling).


List in bullet point format any additional skills or achievements that are relevant for your career, e.g.

    • Specific computer systems.
    • Technical skills you are proficient in.
    • Fluency in other languages.

*Top Tips!

    • Busy interviewers love bullet points as they keep your points neat and concise.
    • Lead with your strongest section – if your education is stronger than your career history put this in first and vice versa.
Step 5: Hobbies and Interests

Outline what you like to do in your spare time – many organisations like to see a healthy work-life balance and often your leisure interests say a lot about the type of person you are. They may also reflect the qualities relevant to the role you are applying for.

Step 6: References

You can provide contact details of your referees, but it is perfectly acceptable to state ‘Available on Request’.

If you are listing referees, make sure that

    • They are relevant to the sector you are applying to.
    • They are happy to provide a reference for you.
    • Their contact details are up to date.