How to write an HR CV (tips, templates and what to include)
Updated 13 April 2023
A well-written human resources or HR CV demonstrates what makes you uniquely qualified for the job and allows you to stand out from other candidates. It's important to follow a certain structure when writing your CV to ensure you include all relevant experience, qualifications and achievements. Some individuals struggle to objectively separate themselves from their career to source this information and represent it in simplistic terms. In this article, we discuss why a good HR CV is important and outline how to write an HR CV with some key tips.
Why is a good HR CV important?
To learn how to write a HR CV, it's important to first learn why it's important. There are several positions you can apply for within human resources that have different responsibilities and requirements. This makes it essential to write a well-informed and specialised HR CV tailored towards a specific role. A good CV for HR is clear about the job you're applying for, making it easier for the CV to pass through applicant tracking systems.
A CV allows you to make a good first impression on an employer and set yourself apart from other candidates. A good HR CV also ensures you take an individual approach to your application, highlighting keywords and competencies outlined in the job description.
How to write an HR CV
There's no set template or structure to follow when creating a professional HR CV. Yet there are certain guidelines to follow when it comes to writing, formatting and designing your CV. These guidelines ensure you create a CV that showcases your unique accomplishments, talents and competencies to a potential employer. Some tips on how to write an HR CV include:
1. Highlight HR keywords
Look at the job description for the position you're applying for and highlight keywords or terms specific to the position. Use these keywords throughout every section of your CV to draw the reader's attention and capitalise on the demands of the job. Many companies use electronic to sort through CVs systems that check for certain keywords. Therefore, using specialised terms makes it less likely that a hiring manager overlooks your CV.
2. Keep it short
Ensure that your CV is no longer than two pages. This makes it easier for recruiters to pull out relevant information necessary for the position. Overloading your CV with facts and information only dilutes important information and reduces the readability of the document. Order your information by significance and leave out facts or bullet points about your education or experience that aren't specific to the position. This information only serves as a surplus to the requirement.
3. Write clearly and concisely
Avoid any unnecessary details or filler words that may weigh down your CV or undermine its clarity. Be sure to proofread and edit your HR CV multiple times to guarantee precision. Keeping your sentences short and to the point also demonstrates your strong communication skills, a characteristic that's essential for most HR positions. Focus on including information that aligns with your professional brand and current career objectives.
Ensure the document has plenty of white space by keeping paragraphs to a maximum of three lines and using bullet points where possible. This creates an inviting CV that allows recruiters to skim through information and make notes. Remember you can always go into more detail in your cover letter or interview if you feel it's necessary.
4. Use a well-branded headline
Rename your ‘professional profile' or ‘career summary' section by including a professional headline statement that details your current position. This headline communicates more information and immediately tells employers who you are and what experience you have. Detail any industry specialisations or credentials underneath your professional headline to instantly set yourself apart from other candidates. You can also include information about your career goals and how the position you're applying for aligns with them. Doing so ensures readers perceive you as a qualified candidate who has the motivation and experience necessary to meet the demands of the job.
5. Include professional credentials
Include professional credentials beyond your education and experience to stand out among other candidates. Most candidates are likely to have similar education and experience qualifications as you since they're usually an outlined requirement for the position. Professional accreditations add further value and demonstrate your initiative when it comes to building on your skills and expertise. You can also include any professional affiliations, board of director appointments or leadership posts and activities that highlight your competence. Make sure you focus on more internationally-recognised credentials rather than civic or community-based affiliations that employers may not be aware of.
6. Tailor your CV to applicant tracking systems
HR professionals have an advantage over most candidates in that they understand how applicant tracking systems (ATSs) work. Use your experience with these systems to optimise your CV for keywords and boost your employability. Use these keywords naturally and ensure they're properly integrated within the document.
What to include in your HR CV
There are certain sections to include on your CV to ensure you detail all the necessary information in a structured manner. Following this structure increases the readability of your CV and makes it easier for recruiters to find the information they're looking for. Some sections to include in your HR CV include:
Enclose your personal details at the beginning of every CV you write so that employers know how to contact you. Be sure to include your full name, email address, contact number and home address. You can also include links to your professional social media channels.
Feature a professional headline that details your current position. Highlight your main achievements and career goals underneath this headline to introduce recruiters to the most important information. Keep this section short and to a maximum of three to four lines or 50-200 words. Placing your main achievements right underneath your contact information helps convince recruiters to get in touch.
Separate your work experiences with subheadings and bullet point your responsibilities and achievements about the role underneath each one. Detail the company name, your job title and the dates you held the position. You can also bullet point projects you've helped implement or assisted with, measurable achievements and promotions. Start with your most current position and work your way backward.
Be sure to demonstrate how you've taken on more responsibility and progressed in your career over the years. If you have several years of experience that elongates your CV, it's recommended that you include a career summary that summarises your experience to encourage recruiters to continue reading.
Create a subheading for each educational institution you attended and the qualification you earned from them. It's not necessary to list your school subjects or the grades you achieved in them unless stipulated otherwise in the job description. Make sure you include both academic and vocational qualifications where necessary.
Include a bulleted list of any skills or characteristics you have necessary for the position. You can include the name of training courses you've completed in this section and any HR-specific competencies you have. Make sure you include a mix of both hard and soft skills relevant to the job.
Hobbies and interests
This is an optional section to include if you have hobbies or interests that are worth talking about. Ensure that everything you include reinforces your application to some degree. For instance, you could reference that you attend HR networking events as part of a particular society or professional body.
HR CV template
See below a CV template you can use when creating yours:
[Website or profile URL]
[Headline statement detailing your current position]
I have valuable experience in [area of speciality] at [name of organisation]. I have considerable experience and skill in [specific area]. I have relevant [qualifications] in HR and am now an [industry] professional. Some of my most important achievements include [provide one or two examples of achievements]. I am looking for my next opportunity where I can develop my skills further and add value to the team.
[Job Title], [Company Name], [Location]
[Include a bulleted list of three to five responsibilities for each job title]
[Summarise your career in two to three sentences and include bullet points of your main achievements]
Hobbies and interests
I organise a weekly [sports team], managing player and transport fees and helping source new talent.
I'm currently undertaking a [course name] to improve my [skills]
References provided upon request.
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