What is a CV?
A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is an outline of your educational and professional history written in such a way as to market you when applying for job vacancies. It is an essential sales tool, demonstrating to a potential employer that you have the necessary experience, knowledge and desire to do the job for which you are applying,
Your CV ultimately has one job - to secure you an interview, where you will have the chance to present yourself in person.
Your CV should be written in the first person, and be clear, concise and up-to-date. If you have been temping most recently ensure you keep your CV updated after each assignment.
There is no need to head the document up as a 'CV' or Curriculum Vitae - this has become a bit old-fashioned.
The tone should be positive, and professional and you must be entirely honest.
You should start with your name, address, phone number and email address. If you'd prefer to withhold your address, it's advisable to include a location - a town or city.
Please ensure that your email address is an appropriate one for seeing work. Rude or offensive email addresses will almost certainly exclude you from being considered for the job and daft ones won't fare much better. Whilst you might think a 'funny' email address demonstrates a sense of humour a recruiter may disagree and decide you lack maturity or professional judgement.
Whilst a personal profile is probably the hardest part to write it is an invaluable overview of your suitability for the job. Keep it short and use the space to summarise your skills, experience, knowledge and career aspirations. Don't be drawn into listing a whole ream of skills and experience which are about to be covered below in your career history, just precis and keep it concise.
The career history should be listed chronologically with your most recent post at the top since the most relevant duties are those that have been undertaken most recently.
This is what should be included:
Qualifications & Education
Take the same approach to your education as for your employment history, listing the most recent first including dates and grades (unless poor). If you are a fresh graduate, it is more appropriate to list your education before your career history.
These should simply be listed and, where relevant, the level of expertise. For example Advanced Excel including Lookups, Macros and Pivot Tables.
Hobbies and Interests
This section can be more important than you might think (dependent upon the recruiter) since it says something about you that your professional profile may not. So don't dismiss it.
If you play sports a recruiter may think that you take care of yourself and if it's a team activity then a recruiter can expect that you work well in a team environment. If you prefer solitary activities like knitting or reading then maybe you work best alone. Or maybe it says that you enjoy quiet time or love creating and learning respectively. Your hobby may demonstrate a need for extreme care or be detail orientated. It may be creative or require great skill. Maybe you have learned to play the piano or speak a second language. Maybe you love travelling and experiencing new things.
And whilst you may be thinking that you don't have time for hobbies because you have a job and a young family then think about those things that you enjoy doing with your family. Maybe your hobby is in fact taking long walks with your dogs or taking days out to the seaside. Both are outbound activities, getting exercise with the people or animals that make you happy and they are equally valid.
'Socialising' can be construed as getting drunk on a regular basis (i.e. unreliable) so be careful using this phrase.
This section should be short - you are selling your professional self here.
It is advisable to put 'available on request' rather than list referees at this point. References are rarely sought until the offer stage and referees do not want to be approached frequently unless it's with good reason.
Visual first impressions really count and are as important as the content of the CV.
You can download this guide in 'Candidate Downloads'. The download version also contains FAQ's.