Curriculum Vitae (CV): A Quick Guide of What to Include (And Not To)


A curriculum vitae, or a CV for short, is a brief account of a person’s education, qualification, and work experience. It is usually something sent into a company for a job application. Most companies, if not all, require a person to at least send in their CV before qualifying for a job interview.


Most people would have written a CV by the time they finished high school. It can be a really simple one depending on the person’s qualification through his or her lifetime.


The difference between a fresh graduate’s CV and a well-seasoned person who has been in work life is (obviously) the experience and qualifications.


Regardless if you have any qualifications or not, you still can make good use of making your CV presentable.


A fresh graduate’s CV usually includes the candidate’s academic qualifications. Sometimes it includes any relevant work experiences if any. Most times they include their internships and holiday or part-time jobs they do on the side.

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A well-seasoned, older person more often than not have a more well-rounded CV – only if they have continuously work and gone for training in their entire life after graduating.


If you want to write a good CV for a starter, here are some tips for you to get it on.

1. Personal Statement

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Include a personal statement in your CV. This is a must as it tells your potential employers who and what kind of person you are. It can also include not just your personality background but also a quick summary of the jobs you have done before.


A personal statement is for your potential employers to see if you are a good fit for the job. It can be a short one, something that is 200 words or less. Make it sweet and simple!

2. Include Academic Qualifications and Achievements


If you are a fresh university, college, or high school graduate and not have much work experience, include your academic qualifications.

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If you did poorly in school, that’s a bit unfortunate. If you did very well academically scoring top grades and all, great on you!


Nonetheless, include your academic achievements. Include not just your grades but also the societies, clubs, events you help run and joined. List down the offices you held during those years (if any) and provide a brief description of what you did in those clubs and events during those years. It’s the best you can include on your CV as of now.

3. Put In Relevant Work Experiences


It don’t matter if you have a Ph.D. in some fancy programmes if you don’t have work experience. More so especially if you do not graduate from some top 10 world’s best universities, you ain’t anybody!

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For you to be better than your fellow competing fresh graduates, get yourself a part-time job while studying. No matter how high your academic qualification is, experience is king.


No point getting hired for a position and not being able to perform up to company standards. Worst still, to get booted out of the company after your probation period for “not being the right fit” for the position.


So, yes…include relevant work experiences. This includes, but not limited to, internships, part-time jobs, holiday jobs, and whatever relevant jobs you can think of including in your CV.


Do note that some companies don’t accept internships as real-life work experience. This is due to because they feel the work was done during internships simply do not teach or prepare the candidate enough for the real job. It can also be due to reasons the company feels the internship period may be too short and teaches the candidate nothing.


If abovementioned reasons are the case, do be prepared for a slightly lower salary as compared to those who have a much holistic, longer internship training. Alternatively, if you have side jobs that teach you more you can use that as a real-life work experience.

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You still can have a chance in the company provided you are willing to work hard and smart. As long as you show you are willing and put in the extra efforts, you may even walk away with a recommendation letter. Who knows, eventually it may lead you to better job opportunities in the long run.

4. Relevant Skills


Think of what relevant skills you can include in your CV. Make sure the skills you put in are of good use to your potential employers. Skills are usually divided into two kinds: hard skills and soft skills.

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Hard skills are skills that are widely needed by many, if not all employers. It can include skills like digital marketing, IT programs, finance-related subjects, and whatnot.


Soft skills are skills that are more personified. Some examples of soft skills are sociability, having empathy, and so forth.

5. Other Relevant Details

Some online CV guides will advise you to put in your hobbies, but this one is optional. If you would like to put it in, you can do it. It’s the kind of thing that tells the employers a bit more about yourself.

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What other details you should include in your CV are your contact details (email, contact number) and your home address. Also, include a passport photo of yourself if you do not have one attached already.


Include your expected salary and your previous companies’ given salary. Do this only if the company advertised asking as such. Otherwise, you can ignore and leave out your previous pay bands and expected salary.


Although most people will advise you to include in your CV, there are several things you should never include in it. Please keep in mind some details may not look professional on your CV and should be removed immediately or never be included in it.

Things You Don’t Need to Put in Your CV

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  1. Do not include details like “I cannot work past the office hours I have kids/parents/elderly people to take care of”. It doesn’t look good on your CV. Details like this give your employers a bad impression. They may think you are not willing to put in extra efforts to complete the tasks of the day. It may also make them think you are not able to stay late for any company events or functions.
  2. Reasons for leaving each company. This is applicable only if you have been working. You don’t have to include such reasons, but your potential employers may ask eventually why you choose to jump ship.
  3. Do not fabricate your qualifications. Fabrication of qualifications can lead to immediate termination of your job (if you are already hired) or be black-marked from future interviews with the company.
  4. References provided upon request”. Try not to put this in your CV because if you do, your potential employers may ask for references on the spot. If you cannot provide, you will be put in a very awkward situation. Provide reference details when you are filing in the application form. It makes things less awkward and painful for both you and your interviewers.
  5. Grades. This is a subjective area as some people may say it’s best to put in your grades. You may not need to list your high school grades depending on your academic qualification. You do have to include your university and college qualifications though.
  6. Do not include the date you wrote your CV. It’s really not needed. This is not primary school anymore you do not need to put dates on every homework you are assigned. You are preparing a CV, not doing grade school homework.

Other Miscellaneous Advice

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As a final piece of advice, remember to thoroughly check your CV once you have completed it. Bring it to a friend who has years of work experience to help you check. If you are still in college or university, find a professor or a lecturer who is willing to help you check your CV.


Some universities have a career advice centre. If your college or university have one of those, bring your “finalised CV” to them to check. Do the necessary changes if you have to.


Just keep in mind to keep your CV sweet and simple. You do not have to make it look over complicated. Neither should you make it look too simple. As long as you put in the effort to make it readable and presentable, it’s great.