Guided Draft: Arrange your CV effectively
Finally, you need to make sure that your sections are arrange to take advantage of that top-bottom hierarchy and reading psychology we've been going on about.
Meet your reader's expectations
Some of your CV sections can be moved around to make the most of reading psychology, but others always need to be in the same place because that's where your reader expects to find them. So...
- Your personal details section should always be at the top
- Your interests section should be second to last
- Your referees section should always come last
Personal Profiles and Career Goals
- If you're including one of these, it should be placed immediately after your personal details at the start of your CV.
- Include one or the other - never include both a personal profile and a career objective.
Order your remaining sections according to the job
The remaining or 'middle' sections can move around to help send the message to the reader that you're a great fit for the job.
Where each section goes depends on your strengths in relation to the job description:
Your education section would usually come near the start of your CV, after your Personal Details or Personal Profile/Career Objective. However, if your education was forever ago or nothing to do with the job, you might like to place it after your stronger Skills and Work History sections to draw more attention to these strengths.
Work History vs Skills
- If your skills have more to do with the job than your employment history, put your Skills section before your employment history
- If you're a Health Sciences Professional Degree graduate, you'll have completed 'placements' or similar. These will be at the start of your Work History section, and are very important if you're applying for a job in your field, so your Work History section should come before your Skills section.
- For other professional degrees such as Surveying, put your Work History section before your Skills IF you've got lots of work experience in the field. If you haven't, put your skills first.
- If you're applying for a job in community service and have lots of volunteer experience/charity work in your Work History section, order your Work History section so that they come first and put your Work History section before your skills.
If you've got 'optional' sections to fit in, order them amongst your other moveable sections in order of importance to the job - less important = further down/closer to the end.
Order your CV according to the job description, not according to how you see yourself
It's often tempting to order your CV according to what you see as your personal strengths. BUT, your strongest feature might not be what the employer is looking for the most.
If you order your CV according to what the employer is looking for, you'll create the impression that the attributes that are most important to them are your strongest features - perfect!