When you start drafting your CV, ask yourself first whom are you writing it for and why. You may prefer a personal approach and originality but it’s the recipient who defines the form of your CV. When you have thoroughly researched the industry or organisation of your choice, you understand whether it expects a traditional CV and cover letter or a more personal way to put forward your interests, targets and expertise.

Structure of an effective CV

Contact information

  • Name, (address), telephone number, email and a possible link to your LinkedIn profile
  • Family status and date and place of birth are not necessary in a CV in Finland, i.e. you don’t have to put ’personal information’ as one of your headlines. Your contact information will do.


  • Explain the reader in brief what your key skills and competencies, experience and strengths are. Elaborate on your future goals: where do you see yourself in the near future?
  • Your education
  • Add your degree and, in early career, also your major and the title of your thesis.
  • You can also add information on your exchange student year or any major projects you’ve been involved in.

Your work experience

  • Describe briefly your most recent assignments.
  • Don’t forget to mention your responsibilities and achievements in that particular job. You can also add what have you learnt and any positive feedback and recognition you may have received.
  • If needed, you can also briefly list your recent employers and mention the industry, basic facts or key figures.
  • Change the order of the different sections in your CV on the basis of relevance to the applied job; is your work experience, other experience or education the most relevant?

Positions of trust and other activities

  • Describe your positions of trust in the same way as you describe your work experience.
  • If you don’t have much work experience, you can put your positions of trust right in the beginning, even before your work experience.

Your language skills and IT skills

  • Your grade seems exact but it’s not the best way to describe your skills. Your ’good’ language skills may be ’excellent’ to somebody else. Don’t just mention your grade to describe your language skills.
  • Explain how you use your skills in practice, e.g. I use English at work on a daily basis or I have regular contacts with my friends in Sweden.
  • Put your most relevant skills first. Your employer is likely to value your SAP or CRM skills more than your Office skills. However, if you’re let’s say an Excel expert, explain how you use it.

List of references

  • You may add the names, titles and organisations of 1–3 references at the end of your CV.
  • Contact information is usually asked in the interview, so you don’t have to mention it, but remember to refer to it by, e.g. ’I’m happy to provide you with the contact information of my references at request’.