What is a CV?
Curriculum Vitae: an outline of a person's educational and professional history, usually prepared for job applications (L, lit.: the course of one's life). Another name for a CV is a résumé.
A CV is the most flexible and convenient way to make applications. It conveys your personal details in the way that presents you in the best possible light. A CV is a marketing document in which you are marketing something: yourself! You need to "sell" your skills, abilities, qualifications and experience to employers. It can be used to make multiple applications to employers in a specific career area. For this reason, many large graduate recruiters will not accept CVs and instead use their own application form.
When should a CV be used?
- When an employer asks for applications to be received in this format.
- When an employer simply states "apply to ..." without specifying the format.
- When making speculative applications (when writing to an employer who has not advertised a vacancy but who you hope may have one).
Parts of a CV
Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth (although with age discrimination laws now in force this isn't essential), telephone number and email.
British CVs don't usually include a photograph unless you are an actor.
Education and qualifications
Succinct, eloquent, well-structured.
Your degree subject and university, plus A levels and GCSEs or equivalents. Mention grades unless poor!
Use action words such as developed, planned and organised.
Even work in a shop, bar or restaurant will involve working in a team, providing a quality service to customers, and dealing tactfully with complaints. Don't mention the routine, non-people tasks (cleaning the tables) unless you are applying for a casual summer job in a restaurant or similar.
Try to relate the skills to the job.
Keep this section short and to the point. As you grow older, your employment record will take precedence and interests will typically diminish greatly in length and importance.
The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational French, basic Spanish), computing (e.g. "good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills" and driving ("full current clean driving licence").
If you are a mature candidate or have lots of relevant skills to offer, a skills-based CV may work for you
Normally two referees are sufficient: one academic (perhaps your tutor or a project supervisor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last part-time or summer job). See our page on Choosing and Using Referees for more help with this.
The order and the emphasis will depend on what you are applying for and what you have to offer. For example, the example media CV lists the candidate's relevant work experience first.
When asked what would make them automatically reject a candidate, employers said:
CVs with spelling mistakes or typos 61%
CVs that copied large amounts of wording from the job posting 41%
CVs with an inappropriate email address 35%
CVs that don’t include a list of skills 30%
CVs that are more than two pages long 22%
CVs printed on decorative paper 20%
CVs that detail more tasks than results for previous positions 16%
CVs that include a photo 13%
CVs that have large blocks of text with little white space 13%
If you are applying for more than one type of work, you should have a different CV tailored to each career area, highlighting different aspects of your skills and experience.
Europass is a EU application to help people write their CV in different languages.
LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.