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Here you'll find everything you need to help you gain those important advantages in securing your future.

The Purpose of the CV

What is a CV?

Your CV - or Curriculum Vitae - is essentially a selling tool. It outlines your skills and experience so that a potential employer can see at a glance how you might perform in a given role. In short, it's an opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light.

Do I need a CV?

Yes. Writing an effective CV is one of the most important things you will do in your professional life. Quite simply, it will increase your prospects of getting the job you want. Most advertised vacancies on the internet or in newspapers ask for a CV - so having one prepared in advance will allow you to respond quickly whenever the ideal job comes along.

How will having a CV help me find a job?

A good CV will get you interviews which lead to job offers. If properly produced, it will highlight your skills, accomplishments and work experience in a way that distinguishes you from the hundreds of other candidates in the recruitment market. It will position you as a serious contender who is worthy of interview time. Recruitment agencies will often ask you for a CV so they can submit it to companies who are looking for your skills. And when you are called on to complete application forms, your CV will act as an excellent memory jogger.

Write a Great CV

How should I prepare and write my CV?

Despite what certain individuals and books will tell you, there are no universal formats or rules for writing CVs. Fortunately, however, there are useful guidelines that will help you produce a CV that generates results.

Start by jotting down notes on your education, experience, skills and any professional or academic organisations you belong to. When recalling your previous employment, don't simply give job descriptions: think through the purpose of each job, the responsibilities you handled and the specific results you achieved.

Write down the details of when you started and finished each job. Take care to avoid unexplained jobs. If you had spells of unemployment, describe what you did with your time - for example, you may have been travelling, working voluntarily or even developing your skills on formal courses.

Tailoring your CV for better results...

Matching your skills and experience to the employer's needs will improve your success in securing an interview. What aspects of your education, experience and skills are most attractive to an employer? Remember, a CV is like a personal brochure. It must promote your strengths and aptitudes and demonstrate the benefits you can bring to the employer's organisation. That means tailoring your CV to a specific position wherever possible. It means finding out as much as you can about the company and the requirements of the role. Above all, it means thinking like an employer - What are they looking for? What key elements did they ask for in the job description? How specifically are you suited for this particular role and organisation?

Always be honest and accurate in your information. Often a prospective employer will use your CV as the basis of your interview and for references.

How should I present my CV?

Once you have identified the key information to be included in your CV - and decided on the most important elements - you need to write and organise your points. Here are several rules of thumb:

  • Make your CV simple and as clear as possible. That means keeping descriptions brief, factual and to the point.
  • Your CV should be no longer than two sides in length.
  • State clearly the type of work you want and why you are qualified.
  • Use active verbs that describe your skills, abilities and achievements. For example, "I can contribute/have experience in organising/am trained in..." Use such verbs at the beginning of each sentence (managed, developed, created, co-ordinated, etc.) to make them even more powerful.
  • Use a clear and logical format. You could organise your CV by job titles, with the most recent position listed first; or arrange your employment history into sections that highlight key areas of skill and achievement.

Since your personal career history, achievements and academic credentials are unique, the way you organise and express them may be equally unique. Whatever your choice, make sure that you highlight your strongest points. Also use clear headings, simple language and adequate margins and line spacing.

Click here to download a CV template >

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