What is a CV?

bigstock-Job-recruitment-90802991The term ‘Curriculum Vitae’, or CV, sometimes referred to as a résumé, is a summary of your career history that is often the first part in getting yourself noticed by a potential employer.

Why CVs are required
When employers have a vacancy they need to fill they will create a list of the skills and experience they want the ideal candidate to have. From this list, the job ad is created, which is where they will ask you to send them your CV.

How closely your CV matches the qualification they are seeking is the key factor in determining whether they see you as a suitable person to join their company.

A CV allows you to decide which information is most relevant to each role you apply for. To make an imapct your CV should be:

  • concise
  • truthful
  • engaging
  • thorough

The key word here is concise. It’s not a place to list all of your achievements and experiences as this would make it very long and would be a turn off for most employers.

Your personal sales tool

Your CV is your opportunity to sell your candidacy to an employer. You want to sell your your experience and your demonstrated ability to excel at the job. Selling is all about attracting attention and appealing to what the employer is looking for so highlight your strengths and achievements to interest the recruiter.

If you’re a recent graduate and can’t demonstrate a long career history, you can still list internship experience, part time work, volunteer work, and leadership roles in student organizations explaining how the experiences you’ve gained during these will help you in your future career.

Preparing your CV
There is no perfect layout format and different people in different situations will need to lay their document out in a different way.

A CV with clearly headed sections will be appreciated by employers and it will allow them to find the details they’re after easily. This means clarity, good spacing and short, sensible blocks of information.

Every CV should include the following sections:

  • Personal details
  • Education
  • Experience

There are additional sections that you could also decide to include

  • Personal statement
  • Technical Skills
  • References

All information should be listed in reverse chronological order (ie. With the most recent at the top), allowing your reader to see what you’ve done recently, then to continue reading if they think it’s relevant to their needs.

It can be a daunting prospect putting together your CV, but it’s a lot easier if you remember three key things; Employers want to know how your experiences match their requirements, it’s better to go for quality over quantity, and finally, your CV is designed to get you the interview, not the job.