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What is a CV?

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If you’re job hunting, you need a CV – but what is a CV, exactly? CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, which in turn is Latin for “course of life”. These days, a CV is simply a summary of your work experience, key
skills and
qualifications, rather than your full life story.

What is a CV for?

Recruiters often ask for CVs when they have a role to fill. They’ll then evaluate the CVs they receive, to decide which applicants best meet their requirements. The strongest applicants will then progress to interview stage, or maybe an assessment centre, where their suitability for the role can be assessed further. A good CV explains to a recruiter why they should hire you and persuades them to invite you to an interview so, when writing your CV, you need to show explicitly why you’re the right person for the job.

How to write a CV

The best way to think of a CV is to think of it as your personal marketing document. Consider the last marketing document you saw – maybe a flyer you received through your letterbox for a roofing company. Your CV needs to take the same approach:


The flyer will have included the company name and details of how to contact them. Your CV needs your name and details of how to contact you.


The flyer will have said exactly what the company does and why you should hire them for the job. Guess what? Your CV needs to say what you do and why you’d be a good hire, too!


The flyer might have listed any industry accreditations and testimonials the company has – that’s the same as you putting your qualifications on your CV.


There’s plenty more detailed advice on
how to write a CV here.


What do I do with my CV?

Now you know what a CV is and how to write one, the next step in your job search is getting it seen by the right people! You can email it to hiring managers and recruiters and also upload it to online job boards (such as Indeed, Monster or LinkedIn), where you can apply directly for advertised jobs. If your CV does the job, you’ll be invited to interviews and get to work in no time.


What is a CV cover letter?

Often, when asking for a CV, a recruiter will ask for a
cover letter too. This should be laid out like any other formal letter. In addition to backing up your main selling points, that you’ve outlined in the CV, it should also explain why you want that particular job, at that particular company. You should highlight any key skills, experience and achievements that are especially relevant to the role. Go into detail but try to leave them intrigued to find out more about you – one page is more than enough for a cover letter.

Where can I get a CV template?

There are thousands of CV templates available online, but exercise caution when deciding which ones to use. Many are over-designed and most aren’t created to perform well with an
applicant tracking system. CV Shed has
templates available to purchase – they’re a cost-effective way of getting started with your CV, and unlike other templates available they come with a comprehensive PDF e-book, providing all the information you need to complete the template to a knock-out standard.

What if I need more help with my CV? 

Would you like me to check over your CV for you before you send it out? Submit it now for a
FREE CV review! Alternatively, check out my
CV writing services and see how I can help you.

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