A curriculum vitae (CV) outlines your personal details and your relevant skills, experience and qualifications.
It is used to help you "sell yourself" to a prospective employer by highlighting your strengths and achievements. The aim of a CV is to get you an interview.
Writing and then updating a CV is a useful technique during job search as it helps you keep track of your skills and experience in one document. It can also help you think about what you have done in employment, education or leisure activities in preparation for completing application forms.
There is no right or wrong way to set out a CV, but there are some standard sections that it should contain.
Personal and contact information
Education and qualifications
Skills relevant to the job
Types of CV and when to use them
The most common types of CV are:
This is also sometimes called a 'targeted' or 'functional' CV. It is often appropriate when there have been long gaps in employment as it highlights skills rather than gaps.
Is a traditional format where work experience is organised in reverse date order
Is useful when staying in a similar field, or if your last employer's name may be advantageous
Shows career development, and might highlight progress in a certain area.
A personal profile introduces you as an applicant. They are one paragraph and outline your key strengths, achievements and goals. The following examples offer an outline of the different styles you can use:
"A college leaver with excellent computer skills. My college course work and work placements have enabled me to gain good research and presentation skills and an ability to communicate with the general public. I also see myself as an enthusiastic and reliable team player who is willing and able to develop new skills quickly."
"I regard myself as a cheerful and friendly person, who is reliable and trustworthy. I am keen to learn new skills and use my considerable abilities within a garage/car business environment."
"I am currently looking for work in the computer industry, I am very familiar with most aspects of computing and have used computers for many years, always confident in learning anything new."
Skills and achievements
This section of your CV allows you to sell yourself through listing your main skills and experience. You can use the following outline of skills to help you judge your abilities:
Skills with individuals
Communicate well using the telephone
Persuade or sell to individuals
Deal with customers
Manage and supervise individuals
Delegate work to others
Skills with groups
Communicate to small groups
Perform or entertain people
Persuade a group
Take part in group debates
Brief a team
Manage or run a budget
Spot potential markets
Develop a new business
Design a marketing campaign
Look after customers well
Develop new sales initiatives
Promote or sell by telephone
Skills with information
Research a topic
Gather information by interviewing people
Check information for errors/proof read
Organise or classify data
Washing/cleaning or preparing
Setting up or assembling
There are some words that stand out on a CV, which are often called buzz words. The following work areas and associated words may help when putting together your CV:
Coping with routine: conscientious, consistent, controlled, coped, dealt with, efficient, managed, performed
Working with others: advised, co-operated, counselled, facilitated, guided, managed, negotiated, participated, presented, supervised