The Curriculum Vitae is a Latin expression and translates to a person’s course of life, more commonly known as a CV in the modern world.
In some countries e.g. The United States and Canada it is generally called a Resume, but the contents remain the same and need to capture a number of key areas, including:
- A Personal Profile Statement.
- Roles undertaken, clearly showing responsibilities, but more importantly achievements, quantifiable wherever possible.
- Skills and Abilities.
- Educational qualifications and ongoing personal development.
- Hobbies and Interests.
In Europe during 2004, the European Parliament and the European Commission promoted the introduction of the Europass, which is a version of the CV and as well as including the information referred to above reflects the levels of someone’s ability to talk and write in another language. The aim is to ease skilled migration of potential employees between member countries.
There are hundreds of books written about the CV and well over a thousand responses if the word CV is searched on Google. If there was ever the case of using the phrase information overload, then this would be a very good example. Against this background there is no wonder that anyone thinking about writing their CV are by now totally confused of how to start, what to say about themselves, which format is correct and perhaps one of the most frequent concerns of how long should it be!
The good news is that this book will dispel as many of these myths as possible and will provide the reader with a structured approach of how to construct a professional document. It will without any doubt increase both confidence and self esteem in an ever increasing competitive environment the job seeker is likely to experience, especially in today’s economic climate.
The majority of individuals are not naturally born sales persons and on many occasions feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about talking about themselves. The book will show how to overcome these as far as capturing information on paper is concerned and will certainly bring added value to any interview opportunities which come along during their job searching programme.
The CV is one of the
key tools an individual will
have in exploring career openings and is a true selling
document. As with any sale
you come across
there are always
2 elements present, namely the features
of the product or service
and more importantly to the end user the benefits it will bring.
It will now come
as no surprise that the CV must contain
The features of the CV are very simple to explain, as they are the skills and abilities which an individual possesses and the benefits are the achievements which have taken place.
Later on within the book, we will cover skills, abilities and achievements in great detail, so that these can be easily recognised, leaving the reader with a full understanding of how to record both in their CV.
Quite often a question is asked at what age should a person begin to think about putting together their CV. There is no definitive answer, but the strong suggestion is that this should be given careful consideration during secondary/high school years, to build on a young students record of achievements and can also support the process of applying for University.
Once completed the document will change significantly as the person progresses to an adult and should at regular intervals be updated to reflect new skills gained, ongoing educational qualifications and more recent achievements.
Everyone, no matter what age and background should always be encouraged to become involved in non work activities as their many skills gained throughout life can be used in so many different areas, bringing both personal achievement and reward to others. This can be highlighted within their CV and make them stand out in a crowd.
Before moving on to the next section where we will look at the 2 most common CVs used. There are some golden rules to adopt at the beginning, so below are a few areas to consider along the journey we will be taking to bring about the finished document. They are the ABCs and foundations of the CV.
We will cover each of these areas throughout the course of this book, so these are really setting the scene, but very important as we start the journey of bringing the CV together.
A..lways create a good 1st Impression and tell the truth!
Your document needs to be presented in a clear and concise manner with the initial objective of creating impact and a professional impression to the reader.
Always be truthful about what you are saying about yourself, as you should be 100% confident to back up any statements made on your CV with a real life example of what you have experienced.
If the document is to be sent by post, it should be on good quality white paper with a minimum weight of 100 grams.
B..e fully aware to format your document correctly
As far as fonts are concerned it is suggested that either Arial or Times New Roman be used, with font sizes in the region of 10 to 12. All the pages of the CV have to be presented in a consistent way and there is nothing more important than the 1st page, as this sets the scene for the whole document.
The use of justifying (Microsoft Word Tool)
your CV is important too,
so that the reader is able to make notes
on both margins.
C..hoose carefully the grammar and use of words and the correct punctuation
Always write your CV in the 3rd party as this enables you to avoid the word “I” which would otherwise be used continually. Punctuation, spelling and avoiding using jargon is absolutely crucial. Your CV needs to be checked by an independent person who you can trust to give you feedback. Never rely solely on spellchecking which software packages provide, as mistakes are often not picked up.
A very interesting story was shown a few years ago in a National newspaper to highlight the importance of using the correct punctuation. A school inspector observed an English lesson and criticised the teacher for his old fashioned insistence on punctuation. The teacher claimed that punctuation was vital, as it can completely change the meaning of a sentence.
When the inspector denied this, the teacher wrote on the board “The Inspector said the teacher is an idiot” He then inserted the following punctuation “The Inspector, said the teacher, is an idiot”. Only a couple of small uses of speech marks and commas, but what a difference it makes to the statement!
We will cover the use of words later on in the book, as these need to bring the CV to life. These will be important when uploading your CV to any internet site, as on many occasions your document will be scanned for key words attributed to the position and industry you are looking to fulfil.
Essentials of a CV
It cannot be stressed enough that a CV takes time to prepare and this will not and should not take place overnight. Unfortunately there are too many advertisements throughout the internet which suggest that it can be completed in less than an hour. These kinds of statements in the author’s personal opinion are both foolish and impossible.
It is worth pointing out that your finished document when read by a potential employer will have in most instances no more than 2/3 minutes of their reading time, so getting it right is key.