The abbreviation CV stands for Curriculum Vitae, which literally means Life List. The purpose of writing a CV is to sell you and your unique skills to get an interview. It refers to what you have done in your career so far and specific information regarding your qualifications. The aim is to provide evidence of your skills, but not to tell your life story.
A good CV will add value to your job searching. The quality of your CV will determine whether or not you get an opportunity to sell yourself at an interview.
Remember, your CV is the first impression a prospective employer gets of you, so don’t make it the last.
Your CV should be developed as a standard, organised document, but you will need to tailor it to individual jobs. This would normally be based on information in the advertisement, and the job description and person specification requirements.
There are many ways to develop and lay out your CV. Generally speaking, the following areas will be covered:
- Personal details: your name, address, telephone number, mobile number, email address. Your potential employer needs to know how to get hold of you.
- Personal profile: a summary paragraph about you, your experience, major achievements, and potentially your aspirations for your future career.
- Your work history: this should cover a brief, but precise background about your career to date. This will include the job you have currently and those you have had in the past. Ideally, this will include your job title, the company name, dates of employment and a summary of your job and responsibilities.
- Formal qualifications: this will include a list of your qualifications, and the name of the institute where these were obtained. You may also like to include other achievements, such as first aid courses.
- Interests and hobbies: this is a matter of personal choice. If you wish to include this section, you can summarise what you enjoy doing outside of work, which may set you apart from people with a similar background.
- References: this will be the last section of your CV, and will normally detail that references can be made available on request.
When you are developing your CV, there are some other vital points you should remember:
- Your CV should ideally be no more than 2 pages long and never be more than 3 pages.
- Your CV should be well spaced with plenty of white space.
- Your CV should be typed and printed on good white quality paper, and not photocopied.
- Don’t use abbreviations in your CV. The person that reads it may not understand the jargon and you risk your CV being rejected.
- Ensure it looks professional, which easy to read type and layout. Ideally the font size should be point 12.
- Don’t lie on your CV and you will only be found out. Make yourself look as good as possible but you don’t need to lie to do that.
- Remember to ensure that you tailor your CV to the job description and person specification for which you are applying.
- And lastly, ensure your CV is free from errors. Check and double check the content, spelling, and grammar or ask someone to do this for you.
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