What is a CV?
A CV, which stands for curriculum vitae, is a document used when applying for jobs. It allows you to summarise your education, skills and experience enabling you to successfully sell your abilities to potential employers. Alongside your CV employers also usually ask for a cover letter.
What to include in a CV
- Contact details – Include your full name, home address, mobile number and email address. Your date of birth is irrelevant and unless you’re applying for an acting or modelling job you don’t need to include a photograph.
- Profile – A CV profile is a concise statement that highlights your key attributes and helps you stand out from the crowd. Usually placed at the beginning of a CV it picks out a few relevant achievements and skills, while expressing your career aims. A good CV profile focuses on the sector you’re applying to, as your cover letter will be job-specific. Keep CV personal statements short and snappy – 100 words is the perfect length. Discover how to write a personal statement for your CV.
- Education – List and date all previous education, including professional qualifications. Place the most recent first. Include qualification type/grades, and the dates. Mention specific modules only where relevant.
- Work experience – List your work experience in reverse date order, making sure that anything you mention is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Include your job title, the name of the company, how long you were with the organisation and key responsibilities. If you have plenty of relevant work experience, this section should come before education.
- Skills and achievements – This is where you talk about the foreign languages you speak and the IT packages you can competently use. The key skills that you list should be relevant to the job. Don’t exaggerate your abilities, as you’ll need to back up your claims at interview. If you’ve got lots of job-specific skills you should do a skills-based CV.
- Interests – ‘Socialising’, ‘going to the cinema’ and ‘reading’ aren’t going to catch a recruiters attention. However, relevant interests can provide a more complete picture of who you are, as well as giving you something to talk about at interview. Examples include writing your own blog or community newsletters if you want to be a journalist, being part of a drama group if you’re looking to get into sales and your involvement in climate change activism if you’d like an environmental job. If you don’t have any relevant hobbies or interests leave this section out.
- References – You don’t need to provide the names of referees at this stage. You can say ‘references available upon request’ but most employers would assume this to be the case so if you’re stuck for space you can leave this out.
Do You Need a CV or a Resume – What’s The Difference?
A resume is a one page summary of your work experience and background to the job you’re applying to.
A CV, meanwhile, is a longer academic diary that includes all your experience, publications and more
How to Grab the HR Manager’s Attention With a CV Summary or Objective
Your CV summary or objective is your attempt at an important first impression. Make sure the language you use is clear, and the HR manager doesn’t have to read it a few times to understand it – because they won’t.
Does it pass the 6-second test?
Your CV summary or objective is your attempt at an elevator pitch with 2-3 sentences.
As a rule of thumb, if you have more than 2 years of work experience – go for a CV summary.
If not – go for a CV objective.
Good example 1: Digital Marketing Manager Resume Summary
- Professional marketer manager with 5+ years of experience in digital marketing. Social media marketing experience, including Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn advertising. Experience in managing an account with a monthly budget of $30,000. B.A. in marketing management.
Good example 2:
- Results-driven computer science student from University X passionate about developing user-friendly software applications. Excellent problem-solving skills and ability to perform well in a team. Seeking to help Company Y develop their product as a software engineer, as well as grow and develop my own skills as a coder.