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 – proof read! And get a friend to proof read!

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


Colin Byrne

Recruitment Consultant

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group

How to Structure your CV

The Ultimate 6 Step CV Guide

Potential employers need to be able to see at a glance why you are the best person for the job.

Create your CV using the following 1-6 sections:

Section 1:

Personal Details

Your personal and contact details must include name, address, phone numbers and email. It is not necessary to include age or marital status.

Section 2:

Personal Profile / Career Objectives

A brief introductory paragraph to highlight your suitability to the position you are applying for and where your previous experience matches the current requirements.

Top CV Tip! Try to avoid common clichés such as team player, dependable, committed etc.

Section 3:

Education & Professional Qualifications

List the most recent first, including graduation dates and institute names.  It is also a good idea to state the level of your qualifications (e.g. Honours or Level 8) as many multinational organisations have minimum qualification requirements for certain roles.  Also remember to include professional memberships or other relevant training.

Section 4:

Work History and Achievements

Outline in detail your work history to date, beginning with the most recent.  Use a bold font to highlight the company name, the position you held and the dates of your employment. Use bullet points to describe responsibilities and achievements.

Remember to include start and finish dates (e.g. March 2007 – December 2011) for each job and explain any ‘gaps’ in employment, for example ‘return to full-time education’ or ‘travelling’.


List, in bullet point format, any additional skills or achievements that are relevant for  your career.  For example, computer systems or technical skills you are proficient in, fluency in other languages, significant work achievements, or soft skills (e.g. organisational skills, communication skills, problem solving).

Top CV Tip! Busy interviewers love bullet points as they keep your points neat and concise.

*Note: Always lead with your strongest section – if your education is stronger than your career history, put this in first, and vice versa, if your career history is stronger, lead with this.

Section 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 can say a lot about the type of person you are. They may also reflect qualities relevant to the role you are applying for.

Section 6:


If you wish, 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, and that they are happy to provide a reference for you.  Also make sure that contact details are up-to-date.

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