What’s a CV?
The term 'Curriculum Vitae', commonly known as CV, can be translated as “course of life” and is also referred to as a résumé. Your CV is a summary of your education and employment history. This is on most occasions the first glimpse employers will see of you so it’s essential to make sure you stand out from the crowd and get noticed.
Why do employers request your CV?
When there is a vacancy an employer will put together a job specification. This is a list of the skills and experience they want the ideal candidate for the role to possess. This list is what forms the job advertisement or what a recruitment agency will be given in order to attract the desired employee. The perfect CV should match the criteria detailed in the job specification and is why your CV is requested.
Some companies may have an application form but a CV allows you to decide which information about you is most relevant. It should be:
The above list is in order of priority with concise being the key. A CV should be no more than two A4 pages, preferably on one sheet. Do not list all your achievements and experiences as this would make it too long. Remember you can always go in to more detail in the covering letter.
Your CV is your personal advert
Use your CV to sell yourself. Focus on promoting your skills, qualifications, experience and your ability to do the job. Good advertising is all about impact and appealing to the need of the purchaser, so detail your strengths and achievements to stand out.
If you have recently qualified and do not have a wealth of experience list the experience you have gained in your training, part-time work or even voluntary work, explaining how these experiences will help you in your future career.
Where do I start?
There is no guide to the layout of a CV, however, we have a simple template for you to use (see 'Free CV Template'). And here are a few ideas to get you started.
A CV with headed sections is clearer and appreciated by employers as it allows them to find the information they are looking for with ease. Remember; keep it simple with good use of spacing and clearly headed sections.
Every CV should include the following section headings:
- Personal details
Additionally, you could also decide to include:
- Personal statement
- Hobbies and interests
The information within your CV should always be in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top, this allows the employer to view your most recent information first and continue if relevant.
Don’t be concerned about putting your CV together, just use our step-by-step guide.