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What is a CV?

Snippet from the jobs paperA CV is a concise document which summarises an individual’s unique skills, character, experience and achievements. CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, which is a Latin phrase which loosely translated means ‘the course of my life’. A CV outlines a person’s academic and professional history which is usually used for applying for jobs.

Why is it important to have a good CV?

In most situations, a CV is the first contact you have with a prospective employer and it is your chance to make a good first impression. You use it to show your prospective employer why they should hire you and what the benefits of having you on their team will be. It is ultimately a marketing tool – your shop window! It is far more than just a run-down of your career history, it is your passport to a new job.

How do I create good CV?

There are no hard and fast rules for creating a winning CV as each job is different and each employer will be looking for different things. CV writing etiquette also changes over time, so it’s advisable to keep your CV updated and tailor it to each job that you apply for.

Principles to remember:

  • Don’t lie – employers often run background checks and false claims will be uncovered
  • Sell yourself – what are your unique qualities, personality traits, skills and experience that make you stand out from the crowd
  • Personal statement first – put your academic qualifications at the back, if you’re buying a new car would you want to see the technical spec or the glossy picture first?
  • Don’t leave unexplained gaps – if you had a career break to travel or raise a family, explain what skills or experience you gained from this
  • Be clear and concise – CVs should be a maximum of three pages long and should be easy to read
  • Don’t make mistakes – check your spelling and grammar meticulously.

Learn more about CV writing

Find out how to put your own CV together at the National Careers Service.

Further information about CV writing

Watch the video on YouTube, How to write a good CV by Ashley KateHR.

Visit’s iTunes site where you can download podcasts on creating CVs. Visit their website to download an ebook entitled How to create the perfect CV.

Follow professional CV writing companies on Twitter such as @TheFullerCV.