4. Personal Information

Your name

Golden rule of CVs:

The most important piece of information on your CV is your name.

Everyone knows by the layout of the document that this is a CV, so you don’t need the words ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of the page.

Instead, substitute them with your name. Nice and big; 14-point bold, sans serif font, capitals if you like. Non-italic looks more businesslike than italic.

With your name at the top of your CV, it will always be easy to pick out from a pile.

Put your name as you’d like to be addressed. A CV introduces you, so if you’d like to be called Annie rather than Anne, or Sam rather than Samantha or Samuel, then put that. If you like your name in full, then don’t shorten it. The object is to be as approachable as possible. Writing your whole name out in full including middle names sounds rather stiff, and might even come across as a bit self-important or self-conscious.

Contact information

It is critical that, if you put a phone number and an email address, you have a message facility (that works reliably) and that you check messages and emails regularly. Make sure you check your junk mail daily.

We have been told by hiring managers for companies as diverse as the BBC, BT, Vodafone, HP and Morgan Stanley that free email accounts can create a sense of impermanence, and are a turn off. All major ISPs and company IT departments are now battling the problem of spam, and emails from the ‘free’ suppliers, such as Hotmail and Yahoo, risk being filtered straight to the employer’s junk mail folder.

Consider getting an account from a supplier which is seen as less disposable and more ‘permanent’. Try also to get an email address which reflects your own real name, and definitely steer clear of email accounts built around nicknames like ‘bigorangefishhead’ or ‘sadoldgit’.

Today, almost all employers will want to be able to contact you by phone and email. The percentage working by post is dwindling very fast. Consider whether, in the industry to which you are applying, your postal address really needs to be on the front page of your CV. If you are applying for a job inside your existing organisation, your postal address may not be needed.