CV stands for curriculum vitae, which means ‘course of life’ in Latin. Your CV summarises what you have accomplished so far. Once you have written a well-constructed CV, it can be quickly updated and adapted to the particular position you are applying for.
Things to keep in mind
- A CV should be easy to read and no more than two A4 pages long.
- A CV must not contain any grammatical or spelling errors. Ask someone else to read it if you are unsure about spelling or wording.
- Be brief and concise.
- Present your most important skills and experiences first.
Opinions vary about the best format and layout for a CV. While there are no strict rules for the format of a CV, certain general principles have been established about what information it should contain. Before deciding on the format you want to use, look at some different examples. You can find tips about structure and CV templates online at recruitment agency and trade union websites, for example.
Information to include on a CV
Personal and contact details
Name, address, phone number, e-mail address, date of birth (not the last four digits of your Swedish personal identification number).
Some people write a line or two about the goal or vision of their job search. You might want to mention the kind of job you are looking for or your future long-term career goals.
This heading usually appears in a CV and includes your goal. The purpose of the profile is to describe you briefly in a way that attracts the employer’s attention. Your profile is a summary of the qualities and skills that you want to emphasise in connection with the particular position you are applying for. Use your profile to show the employer that you are the right person for the job.
This and the following headings in your CV should be well structured and in point form. Remember to check out suggestions online to help you find the structure and layout that is right for your application.
Write the name of the university and programme you completed, the degree you obtained, any specialisation you pursued, and the dates that you were at the university. Also indicate when you expect to apply for the award of a qualification. Do not forget to include any courses that are relevant to the job you are applying for. List the most recent information first.
This heading should follow the same structure as you have chosen above. List the jobs you have held that are relevant to this particular position. Always start with the most recent job and work backwards. State your job title, the name of the company, the location and the dates you were employed. You can also briefly describe your duties and the experience you gained. If the company is not well known, you can summarise what it does in one or two sentences.
Language and computer skills
List your language and computer skills, as well as your proficiency level. For languages, for instance, indicate whether you have basic familiarity, good command, fluency or if it is your mother tongue. You can also distinguish between your reading, writing, speaking and comprehension skills. For instance, you might say that you have basic familiarity in speaking and writing, or that you have good command of speaking and comprehension. Try to be as specific as possible when describing your computer skills and give examples. For instance, Excel: very good knowledge and experience producing own formulas.
This heading could also be called “voluntary work” or “other qualifications”. Here you should stop and think about what might be important for the employer to know about you. You may want to mention your involvement in the student union or a sports club, or the fact that you have completed basic military training or spent time abroad. You can also list your hobbies. This heading should also follow the same structure as above and be formulated with a subheading followed by descriptive text.
Unless the employer specifically states that they want to see your references, it is a good idea to leave them out for the time being. If you prefer, you can simply put that references are available upon request. References are not usually needed until the final stage of the recruitment process. If you decide to include references anyway, adapt them to the particular position you are applying for. Give the name, contact details and relationship of the reference: e.g. manager, co-worker, board member, etc. Always let a reference know before you give an employer their contact details! Inform the reference of the kind of job you are applying for so they will be prepared if they receive a phone call. Do not forget to thank them and provide feedback. Maintaining a good relationship with your contacts is very important.
Suggested other headings
If there is a particular type of experience that you want to stress, you can add extra headings, such as management experience, time spent abroad, or positions of trust. Remember to adapt the information to the position you are applying for and the qualifications mentioned in the job advertisement.
Examples of information that you should NOT include on your CV
- Your final school grades
- The last four digits of your Swedish personal identification number
- Your religion
- What country you are a citizen of
- What salary you are looking to receive