CV headings – CV Plaza

CV headings

By: Sobhan Mohmand, Editorial manager       Last updated: 18 Nov 2018

The main heading of your CV

Your CV’s header is the first thing that prospective employers will see when they look at your CV so it is vital that you present the heading in the best format possible.

Over the years, applicants have written different things as the headings of their CVs. Some are good, some bad and others are just plain ugly!

The ugly CV heading: Curriculum Vitae (or CV)

Preview of using curriculum vitae as a CV heading

Do not start your CV with any of the following headings:

  • CURRICULUM VITAE
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Curriculum (we’re still dumbfounded about this one)
  • CV

You shouldn’t do this for two simple reasons:

  • 1. It clearly insults the intelligence of employers. They know what a CV is and how it looks like. There is no need to spell it out to them, literally.
  • 2. It also makes their job much more difficult when they try to locate your CV in the pile of other generic CVs. If the header does not contain something unique about you (i.e. your name) it will not be easily and quickly identifiable.

The bad CV heading: Confidential

Confidential as a CV header

“Confidential” as a heading is also not a good idea because a CV by its very nature will contain some sensitive or personal information.

Ask yourself: “Is my CV too confidential to be read by prospective employers or their secretaries?”

If the answer is no, then why write “confidential” at the top of it?

Let’s face it; your CV probably does not contain top secret or highly sensitive information about artificial intelligence projects or the Pentagon’s secret UFO programs.

Your CV is just one of the millions of other CVs that is being read and reviewed on a monthly basis during the recruitment process.

Besides, employers do not have a habit of – or the time for! – passing around your CV to others without it being part of the recruitment and candidate selection process.

It should be assumed that employers treat everyone’s personal details with the utmost care, regardless of whether the documents are labelled “confidential” or not.

The good CV heading: Your name

Consider below the CV header of Carlos Norris (NOT related to the legendary Chuck Norris):

Good example of how to write a CV heading

Carlos has made excellent use of his CV heading by using this valuable space to write his first and surname in:

  • Font-size: 20 points
  • Boldface (also referred to as emphasised)
  • Centred on the page.

He has not wasted additional valuable space of his CV by writing “Curriculum Vitae” or “Confidential” as its header.

By writing his name in big bold letters and centred on the page, he has made it easier for employers to instantly identify who this CV belongs to.

CV subheadings

cv-headings-and-subheadings

Besides the main heading of your CV, it also contains a number of subheadings.

A typical CV format consists of the following 9 sections:

1. Personal information (already discussed above)

This section contains your name and contact details.

2. Personal profile

Your personal profile statement is a short statement that outlines your skills, abilities, education and work experience to date. It is an overview of what you can offer to the employer and their organisation.

3. Achievements

The achievements section of your CV contains a list of your most important achievements that are relevant to do the job.

You can include a lot of accomplishments in this section, including awards, promotions, excellent grades, increased sales or productivity, etc.

4. Education

The education section is a summary of your educational background to date. All entries should be in chronological order (i.e. most recent entries first).

You may put this section before or after the work experience section, it depends entirely on where you are in your career for which job you are applying for. As a rule of thumb, place the education section before the employment section if you do not have a lot of relevant work experience.

5. Work experience

The work experience section should contain all the relevant work experience that you have to date. This may include work in full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, paid, unpaid, placements and internships positions.

You can also label this CV subheading as “Employment” or “Employment history.”

6. Qualifications

The qualifications section contains a list of your qualifications, particularly those that are relevant to the job.

The qualifications section is sometimes combined with the education section. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. You may completely remove this subheading and combine it with the education section with the heading:

“Education and qualifications”

7. Skills

The skills and abilities section is located on the second page of your CV, containing a brief list of your key skills, abilities and competencies.

Examples of skills that you can include in this section are:

  • IT skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Driving
8. Hobbies and interests

You can use the hobbies and interests section of your CV to demonstrate that you’re a well-rounded person who is engaged in extracurricular activities and in the community.

9. References

The references section should be the last subheading of your CV.

You can either write the complete contact details of your two referees, or you can simply write: “References are available upon request.”

Both methods are acceptable.

Top 3 tips for writing your CV headings

Tip 1: Do not CAPITALIZE your CV headings as it gives the impression that you’re shouting which is off-putting and it also makes the text more difficult to read.

Tip 2: Use your name that you are known by rather than your full legal name as it appears on your birth certificate.

For example, if you’re known as Ruby Philips it can be quite confusing for others if your CV is entitled: Ruby Karla Sarah Phillips!

Tip 3: Do not use nicknames – e.g. Dave instead of David – it makes you look less professional in the later stages of the application process where your actual name is required.

Summary

  • Do not use ‘CV’, ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘Confidential’ as a heading
  • Write your name in big bold letters, centred on the page
  • Do not write headings in capital letters
  • Do not write your full birth certificate name if it is very long
  • Do not use your nickname on your CV

Good luck!