Every advice site about writing your CV will stress the importance of keeping things brief. Two sides of A4 is as long as any CV should ever be. If you’ve been to school, college, and have professional qualifications too, then your qualifications alone could fill that space, and more. What type of qualifications are worth including, and which can be disregarded?
Consider the Stage of Your Career
Your CV isn’t a static thing which you just add to as you progress through your career. If you’re in your late teens, then your A-level grades are far more relevant than they are when you’re in your forties. Similarly, if you’ve done lots of professional training or obtained certificates in a specific skill, these are probably more relevant than the exams you sat at school. Each time you move on to a different position, take the opportunity to re-evaluate your CV and think about whether it’s time to condense the academic section.
Recent Graduates – Degree and Subject Marks
If you’re about to leave University, or are a recent graduate, your degree subject and classification should be at the top of your academic section on your CV. There’s no need to list every class you studied and every grade; if employers want to see an academic transcript they can request this separately. You may also wish to include your A-level or Scottish Higher passes and grades, but omit your GCSE or National 5 passes if there isn’t space. Many graduates write “8 GCSE passes including Maths and English” or similar rather than listing each one separately.
Employers are also going to be interested in other types of qualifications other than the purely academic. If, for example you have been trained on specific software packages, or done professional qualifications in Marketing, Accounting, Project Management or similar, then these may be more relevant to your application. This is especially true if your degree is in a subject which isn’t directly related to the field you are hoping to work in. It’s also worth mentioning any professional qualifications which you are working towards, even if you haven’t sat any exams yet. This shows a willingness to learn, and that you are ambitious to progress in your career.
No employers are going to be interested in things like swimming certificates or cycling proficiency. But evidence of other types of skills can be a valuable addition to any CV. If you’ve taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh programme, for example, you could use this to show planning and teamwork. Having a food hygiene certificate is useful for roles in catering or food production. If there is a possibility that you might be asked to drive to visit clients or customers for a job, mention that you have a driving licence. Employers may also be interested in first aid qualifications, or qualifications in coaching sport or refereeing, as this demonstrates a wide range of skills.