7. Qualifications and training

Anyone who has been in the working world for more than a year needs both a training section and a qualification section on the front page. If you are over 30, then consider putting the training section first, as your training may be more up-to-date than your latest qualifications.

The objective is to show your continuing investment in your career since your formal education ended. Especially if it’s a while since you were in school or college, this is key. For instance, if you are a person of 46 who graduated 18 years ago, you need to list your degree (of course) but give equal – or possibly higher – emphasis to relevant, recent courses to show that your skills are still up to date.

With your qualifications, list the highest level of education first. If you are mid-way through a course of study that will give you your highest level of qualification yet, position that first, with the rider: ‘expected 200X’ in the space where you would usually cite the grade.

For degrees, HNDs, HNCs, ONDs etc, put the qualification, grade, name of the college/university and the year of graduation, separated by commas.

You do not need to list out all the subjects you got at GCSE unless this is your first job – just say (for instance): ‘8 GCSEs, including maths and English’. No-one, in this day and age, needs to know where you went to school unless it was Eton, so you can leave out the school!

For the training section, for most purposes, rough course titles and the year you trained are enough unless you are in one of the key professions, in which case the exact title and the date of the course. But, the reality is that some course titles do not give a clue about what the course actually covered. In this case, it is best to re-state the course title to make it clear what you learned. For example, if you attended a course on basic HTML called Page Creation, you might want to put ‘Basic HTML skills’.

That said, do not lie about the courses you’ve done, as your lack of expertise will almost always come out in the end.

Keep the list to key, pertinent courses – you may want to pick out the best selection depending on the job you’re applying for.

Courses on management skills are more valuable than they might seem at first, especially with the increased emphasis on good management in industry at the moment.