By: Sobhan Mohmand, Editorial manager Last updated: 29 Oct 2018
Curriculum Vitae (commonly abbreviated, of course, to CV) is the Latin expression for “the course of one’s life”; but this can seem a bit misleading since no employer is interested in knowing every single detail of your life so far. It’s not an autobiography, after all.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Curriculum Vitae as “a brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous occupations, typically sent with a job application.”
Your CV usually contains – in brief – the following information about you:
The best way to look at a CV is to see it as a “marketing tool” or a “sales brochure” where you sell your skills, qualities, expertise and potential to a prospective employer.
Your CV will be the first thing that a prospective employer will see about you.
First impressions matter, right?
It is also the only part of the selection process that you have full control over. You decide what you write or do not write in your CV. No one can force you to add or remove anything.
Bright & Earl in their book Brilliant CV (2001, pg.1) state:
The following are the three main types of CVs:
The following is a good example of how a CV should look like:
Please note: CVs vary in length.
It is a common myth that you don’t need a CV to apply for many jobs.
In reality, you will need to send a CV in the following circumstances:
Some people mistakenly think that the purpose of their CV is to get them a Job. This is not exactly accurate.
No employer in their right mind will call you up the next day saying;
Unfortunately, it just does not work like that in the real world.
Rather, the key purpose of your CV is purely to convince a prospective employer of your employability and to arrange an interview or a meeting with you.
A CV is primarily a gateway to an interview.
This concept has been nicely illustrated in the following diagram related to the job application process:
Martin Yate, a best-selling careers author, states in his book The Ultimate CV Book (Pg.3):
While it is true that it is during the interview stage that you have the opportunity to fully convince a prospective employer of your suitability for the job, it would be wrong to conclude from this that the expiry date of the CV is just until the job interview stage. In fact, once all the short-listed candidates have been interviewed the recruiters will then go through all the notes, application forms, cover letters and CVs to make a final decision.
Hence, your CV will be your companion until you have secured the job that you seek and its importance cannot be overstated.
A CV, or curriculum vitae, is your personal marketing tool containing information about your education, employment, personal qualities and skills. You will need a CV to apply for jobs. There are a number of different types of CV formats that one can adopt, depending on the candidate.
The purpose of a CV is to convince the prospective employer of your employability and to invite you for a job interview.