What to include in a CV? Which CV sections to keep off? This complete guide outlines exactly which things to put on your CV to make it shine.
There's nothing more frustrating about writing a CV than having to start with a blank page.
You don't have to.
With our CV outlines, writing a job-winning CV turns into a paint-by-numbers kind of thing.
In this article:
- CV outline you can copy and start filling in now.
- Three universal CV outlines you can customise to any job offer.
- Advice and hints on what to put in each section of your CV.
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1. Examples of CV Fill-In the Blanks Outlines
Let’s jump right in:
Here’s a basic CV outline you can copy-paste into any blank document. You can use it as a CV outline for Word, or Google Docs for instance.
Once you fill in all the information and format your CV, you can export your CV outline to PDF.
When you choose a CV outline, make sure you pick the right one:
- Chronological CVs work great in the vast majority of cases.
- Functional CVs can help you hide employment gaps.
- Combination CVs could be a good choice for career changers.
Note: More on how to match the CV outline to your needs in the next section.
Basic CV Outline—Chronological CV Outline
[CV Objective] or [CV Summary]
- [Responsibility 1]
- [Responsibility 2]
- [Responsibility 3]
- [Achievement 1]
- [Achievement 2]
[Graduation Date] or [Attendance Dates]
It’s not enough to copy-paste this CV outline, though. You must know what information each CV section should contain, and how to present it in the best way possible.
And this is what chapter two of this article is about.
Before we move on, here come two more CV outline examples: a functional CV outline, and a combination CV outline:
Functional CV Outline
Functional CVs are relatively easy to outline, but it’s notoriously hard it is to get them right in terms of content.
If you want to find out how to make the most of a functional CV, our dedicated guide has all the answers.
Combination CV Outline
[First and Last Name]
Summary of Qualifications
[Skill Name 1]
[Skill Summary 1]
[Skill Name 2]
[Skill Summary 2]
- Skill 1
- Skill 2
- Skill 3
- [Responsibilty] and/or [Achievement]
- [Responsibilty] and/or [Achievement]
- [Responsibilty] and/or [Achievement]
[School Name & Address]
A combination CV outline is supposed to have the best of both worlds.
If you don’t know how to use the full potential of this kind of a CV outline, it may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing.
With our dedicated guide on how to write a combination CV, it’s a walk in the park.
You can easily copy any of the CV outlines above, paste them into a blank document, and start filling in the information.
Once you're done, simply format the CV outline to make it look just the way you want.
In the next section, you'll learn how to choose the best outline for your needs and how to personalise it.
Expert Hint: If you’re having mixed feelings about whether to save your CV as DOC or PDF, our guide sheds light on the advantages and disadvantages of each format.
2. How to Outline a Job-Winning CV: Writing Tips
Here’s the thing—
There’s much more to outlining a CV than putting CV sections in the right order, just like the copy-pastable outlines you can see above do.
It’s vital to know how to use your CV outline’s full potential.
First and foremost:
Find a job offer that matches your skills and experience level.
Once you do, decide which CV format is the right one for you.
In the vast majority of cases, the chronological CV outline is the best choice. The functional CV outline may be good for you if you want to hide gaps in employment. If you're a career changer, the combination CV outline may be worth giving a thought.
Here’s a brief guide to writing each section of your CV outline of choice:
Add Personal Information
Regardless of which CV outline for a CV you use, the personal information section needs to look professional and contain up-to-date information.
Typically, you’d include:
- Your name
- Email address
- Phone number
- LinkedIn URL
Just make sure there are no typos there and your email looks professional.
Your personal details are usually placed at the top of your CV in the CV header.
Expert Hint: Learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile before you add a LinkedIn URL to your CV.
Write a CV Profile
The CV profile refers to a short paragraph that tops your CV outline.
It serves as a short version of your entire CV, and it’s supposed to hook the reader enough to read the entire document. As such, it serves as a sales pitch of a sort.
The basic difference between the two is that a summary highlights your professional experience, whereas the objective focuses on the skills you can bring into the company.
That’s why you’d rather go for the latter when outlining an entry-level CV, and the former when you already have a couple of years of experience behind the belt.
Include Relevant Professional Experience
Cut to the chase:
Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report reveals that for 92% of the recruiters the candidate’s experience is the most important hiring factor.
Out of the three simple CV outlines above, it’s the chronological CV outline that focuses mostly on your experience and achievements.
And this is exactly why we always recommend this particular CV outline over any other.
The secret to making the most of your CV’s experience section is—
Luckily, we have an in-depth guide on how to tailor your CV to the job offer, which will take you step-by-step throughout the entire CV customization process.
Expert Hint: If you’re looking for examples on how to outline a CV for a particular profession, take a look at our repository of CV writing guides.
Show Off Your Skills
Your skills are just as important as your experience, so make sure you pick the ones relevant to the job:
- Start with brainstorming and writing down all your skills.
- Once you have the list, compare it with the job offer and tick off the skills you have.
- The skills you’ve identified this way are exactly the ones you should focus on in your CV outline.
But this is not everything.
The secret is to sprinkle your entire CV outline with relevant skills and present them in terms of achievements.
Expert Hint: If you don’t know where to start, head straight to our guide on how to pick the best skills for your CV.
Put Your Education to Good Use
Your CV education section can reinforce your CV.
But only if you know how to get it right.
If you’re a seasoned pro, keep it short and sweet. The graduation date, degree, and school name will do most of the time.
Expert Hint: If you’re making a CV outline for high-school students, consider putting the education section first. Especially if you have serious academic achievements to boast about.
Consider Adding Extra CV Sections
All the CV outline sections above are something you’d see on any CV.
There’s still quite a bunch of other sections you might want to include in your CV outline format.
Head straight to our dedicated guide on what to put on a CV to see if nothing’s missing from yours.
Here’s all you need to remember about making a CV outline:
- There are three basic CV outline formats you can use: chronological, functional, and combination.
- Your success depends as much on choosing the right CV outline as on tailoring it to the job offer.
- In the vast majority of cases, a chronological outline works best.
- Each part of your CV outline needs to be tailored to achieve the best effect.
Do you have any questions about making the best job CV outline? Would you like to share your advice on how to make an outline for a CV? We’re always happy to hear from you. Give us a shout out in the comments below!