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I've got a pretty awesome CV (I think), through hours of trailing through websites and reading tips. However that was back when I'd just finished University and now it needs updating!

I'm 25 and I am into my 3rd job since university and so have quite a bit of experience about these roles.

I have a few questions.

  • It seems my job experience now out weighs my education. Should I move my Work Experience to page one and my education to page two?

  • Do I still need my GCSE's on my CV? They don't seem very relevant.

  • How much detail about my education do I actually need?

  • Do people still care what A levels I did?

  • Do people want to know my dissertaiton title and what key subject I learnt, or is my degree title now enough.

  • Moving onto my work experience. I have had two jobs that are really relevant to what I'm aiming at and the third is less so. What is the minimum I should put for the third job, it's title?

Let's hope someone can help, everything I normally find is for new graduates CV's, bless them but I need some help too!

EDIT Looking for UK or European answers, the US is too crazy. I don't have a GDP ;-)

  • Where are you planning on applying with this CV? The format will be quite different depending on whether you're targeting academia jobs or industry positions. – eykanal Mar 20 '12 at 18:38
  • @eykanal It will be industry – Blundell Mar 20 '12 at 18:39
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    I'm curious to see this awesome CV. Link? – mankoff Mar 22 '12 at 4:04
  • @mankoff Sorry for employers eyes only :-) Offer me a job an you've got a deal – Blundell Mar 22 '12 at 7:52
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To answer some of your questions:

  • While there's no set guideline, education often comes first. You should include the university where you earned your BS/BA (list major, GPA, and any honors), masters university (field, GPA, and thesis title if applicable), and doctorate university (field, GPA, thesis title). High school and similar degrees (including A-levels) should not be listed. Note that a brief (one to three sentence) explanation of your masters and thesis work may be useful here; most people in industry won't have any idea what "Detailed Sprockification of Remonstrantized Grommits in Hypernormalized Framistans" means, so a short layperson description will show (1) that you can communicate and (2) that you did cool stuff that they can understand.

  • Work experience should include company, position title, responsibilities. You can summarize responsibilities in bullet points or short (two to three sentence) paragraphs, it makes no difference either way.

To answer some things you left out:

  • Strongly consider adding an Objective Statement to the beginning of your resume. It should summarize your career goals in a sentence. Check out this website which I found on Google for some discussion of what this is.

  • Include publications, teaching experience, grants awarded, trainees mentored, and notable community service (awards received, board memberships, etc).

  • For a CV, I think that it's always best to have educational credentials listed first. It's more tradition than anything else, but sometimes you just have to "go with the flow." Non-traditional CV formats aren't going to win you friends on a search committee or other potential employers! – aeismail Mar 20 '12 at 20:48
  • This answer appears a bit to North America focused to me. I've regularly seen job offers for senior positions asking for A-Levels in English and Maths. Same goes for German speaking jobs asking for a decent Abitur grade. It strongly depends on the type of job, I suppose. If you apply for a young creative start up, your skills matter more than your formal education. If you go for something more corporate with a large organisation, evidence of your formal education route might not hurt. – Jules Mar 26 '12 at 10:28
  • @Jules - guilty as charged :) For what it's worth, I updated my profile to indicate I'm from the US. Almost all my answers (and likely everyone elses' as well) will reflect their own regional bias. – eykanal Mar 26 '12 at 12:41
  • @eykanal Sorry, didn't want to sound negative about your reply. It's very sensible advice and I don't know when OP edited his question, to clarify he's from the UK. I think this sort of regional bias will be a problem for this Q&A in general. – Jules Mar 26 '12 at 13:14
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If you're living in the US or Canada, an important question to ask yourself is:

Is this a résumé for industry and business, or is this a CV for a research-oriented field?

Pretty much all of the differences between the two boil down to this key difference.

  • If you are applying for jobs in industry or business—essentially, any non-research-oriented field—your CV should be converted into a résumé format. This format will generally put work experience before education, and will be in general much briefer. A résumé should in general not exceed two pages in length; a CV can be as long as needed. With respect to your questions, you would need to list your high school diploma, although you wouldn't need to go into a whole lot of detail (list the type of degree, plus any major awards). I would list dissertation title if it's relevant to your work. For your job descriptions, I would include key duties and accomplishments in bullet form with active verbs ("Directed X project." "Completed milestone Y.")

  • If you are applying for further jobs in academia, then you need to maintain the CV format, so education should remain first. Your high school credentials don't really matter anymore, but the dissertation information remains important, and should be in the information section. Your job section doesn't need to be very detailed, even for the previous jobs: just the major areas worked on, and the major skills and accomplishments could be briefly summarized.

If you might go in both directions, you should keep versions of both up-to-date; if you're staying in one side or the other for the foreseeable future, then you can focus on that. But in general, I would recommend keeping it up-to-date at all times!

(Note: if you're living or working in Europe, then as Blundell comments below, and is corroborated by some web sites, you probably only need a CV.)

  • I thought CV's where English and Resume's American tbh. – Blundell Mar 20 '12 at 22:13
  • @Blundell: Thanks for pointing out that difference. As far as Europeans are concerned, I guess, there's only a CV. However, in North America, the CV is a version of the résumé designed for academia and other research-related fields. – aeismail Mar 20 '12 at 22:33

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