What is the correct structure for a CV?

Writing a CV may seem like a simple chore, but it is not at all as simple as it appears. Not only must you list all items relevant for potential employers in your CV, it must also be comprehensive, faultless, and presented in a clear and professional layout. What’s more, a good CV has several requirements to meet, such as the correct structure. Are you going to write a CV and would you like to what structure is most commonly used for a CV? Read more about the correct structure for a CV in this article.

Personal data

All the way at the top of your CV, you begin by writing down your personal data. Start by writing the heading ‘Personal data’ on your CV and list your data here, such as your full name, address and postcode, telephone number, e-mail address, date and place of birth, nationality. The information you provide here is meant to be simply listed, so you are not supposed to write a long story about what you are like as a person.

Education and work experience

The two most important elements of your CV are education and work experience. In a well-structured CV the heading Education comes first, listing the education programmes you have attended, with the dates. If you obtained a degree or diploma, include the official name of the diploma. After the Education section comes the Work experience section. Here you do not only describe where you have worked but also what your job description was. By also listing your role and responsibilities (in a bulleted list for example) you are providing a very clear overview of your skills to the reader of your CV.


Below work experience follows a heading Languages. Only add this section if you speak at least one foreign language fluently or reasonably. If you are fluent in more than one foreign language, write down all these languages. Also indicate at what level (written and spoken) you are fluent in these languages.


The next section is Competencies. In this section you indicate what your strengths are, for example flexibility and independence. If you write down around five competencies this will be enough to give the reader of your CV a clear idea of your personality.


The last section of your CV is a short text under the heading Other. In this section you can mention anything that doesn’t fit in elsewhere on your CV, such as hobbies, specific skills you have or volunteer work that you have done.

Always use the correct structure for your CV

It is not without reason that there is a set structure for CVs. This fixed structure allows potential employers to quickly scan the information in a CV without having to search through everything for specific information. As some vacancies attract quite a lot of interest, it is important that your CV stands out, while following the standard format. If you use a different style of formatting, there is a chance that employers won’t spend time deciphering your CV. This is why it is best to use the standard structure for your CV – unless your CV ends up looking better with an alternative structure. 

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