When applying for jobs and education opportunities, it’s essential to have a clear, concise and impressive CV. Don’t worry if you haven’t had a straightforward or traditional trajectory with work and education, whatever you have done and whatever skills you have; you will be able to present it in a CV.

At Aspiring to Include, we firmly believe that everybody deserves the opportunity to get their dream job, and we want to help you get there. If you need additional advice on navigating the world applying for jobs and working out your career, visit our dedicated guides for jobseekers: BAME, LGBTQ+, Migrants and Refugees, Faith and Religion, Socioeconomic backgrounds, Women.

What is a CV?

CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which translates to “course of life” in Latin. Essentially, it’s an overview of your life’s work and education. Everybody needs one, and it’s common for employers to ask for them when you are applying for jobs. It’s an excellent way for an employer to find out about your education and work history, as well as some of your skills and personal qualities.

What Should my CV Include?

No two CVs are the same. The information your CV includes will depend on what work experience, qualifications and skills you have. However, there are some essential and practical parts you can’t forget:

  • Name
  • Contact information
  • Personal statement
  • Education history and qualifications
  • Work history (if applicable)

Some things we recommend leaving off your CV include links to personal social media accounts, comments about salary and photos.

CV Types: Skills-Based and Chronological

There are a variety of CV types to suit different peoples’ experience. Not all jobs need the same kind of CV; for example, an academic job in a university might not need to know about your hospitality experience and vice versa.

The two main types of CV are Skills-based and Chronological. Skills-based CVs are organised by skills while Chronological CV are organised by work history. If you have lots of work experience with no gaps, then a chronological CV is a great way to show this off to employers. However, we know this isn’t the case for everybody. Many people have gaps in their CV for various personal and professional reasons; the most important thing is knowing how to present it.

Building a CV that Suits You

Migrants and Refugees 

If you are a migrant or refugee, you may not have UK qualifications, so you may not know what to put in your education and qualifications section. Don’t worry, a CV can include qualifications from all over the world; you may just need to add an extra line underneath explaining what they are.

Please note that if an employer requires a specific qualification for the job, you may have to prove that you hold the equivalent qualification.


Due to maternity leave and taking time off to look after children, many women have extended breaks in their CV. Pregnancy and maternity are protected characteristics under the 2010 Equality Act, which means its illegal for an employer to discriminate somebody. If you want to use a chronological CV, you can include any maternity breaks on there without needing to provide further explanation.

Socioeconomic Background 

Perhaps you didn’t have the opportunity to go onto further or higher education because of the limited financial resources available to you at home, and now you might worry about the education section of your CV.

It’s important to remember that an employer cares about the skills that you have, and how you can apply them. People develop their skills in numerous ways, and when other people were at university, you may have been gaining work experience. You can use this to your advantage and show the employer all the skills you learnt, even if those jobs have nothing to do with the one you are applying for.

For further help, visit our job application hub, where you can find information about writing a stand-out cover letter, obtaining a reference and excelling in an interview.