Curriculum Vitae

What is a CV?

The letters 'CV' stand for Curriculum Vitae, which is derived from Latin - it means 'the course of life' or life history.

In today's work culture, it is the norm for employers to request a CV from potential employees. A CV will help them to select a suitable candidate for the job applied. An ideal CV outlines a person's qualities, interest, educational history and work career.

What is the purpose of a CV?

It serves to highlight the best of everything in your life and career and ultimately help you to get an interview for a job.

Simple rules for an effective CV:

  • Keep the layout simple - uncluttered CV are easy to read.

  • Word process your CV - Use plain A4 paper and black ink.

  • Make it clear - direct language and straightforward sentences are easy to read and understand.

  • Emphasise your main strengths.

What is inside a CV?

  • Personal details - names, address, telephone number and date of birth.

  • Personal profile - describes the sort of person you are e.g. flexible, hard-working, loyal.

  • Key skills - practical skills or transferable skills, e.g. IT, communication, language, maths, etc.

  • Education/Training - date, names and location of schools and colleges, subjects and qualifications. Start with the most recent qualification and training

  • Work/Work Experience - dates, employers' names and location, job title and main duties. Begin with the current job or most recent jobs.

  • Interest - hobbies, sports and leisure activities.

  • References - character reference from latest or previous employers or educational establishments

How to write a CV

Hundreds of Cvs are submitted for one job application, but not all will receive attention because it is either too long, has too many pages, spelling errors or too cluttered. The perfect CV is one that consist of one page and is quick and easy to read

To ensure your CV gets to be viewed, consider some of the points below:

  • First impressions are important so consider the page layout by customising the margins so that you have enough space to place your contents. Summarise your details so that it can fit neatly into one page. Present your work and education history in a format that is easy on the eye. You can do this by arranging the information methodically into sections and having sufficient space between each section.

  • Present text in font size 12 for the main content and font size 14 in bold for the headings or sub-headings.

  • Use black ink only and print the CV in a good quality paper.

  • Personal profile should be written in third person. Keep it short and sweet but ensure you highlight your best characteristics and features that are relevant to the job you are applying.

  • Key skills are practical skills that you have acquired in school, work or at home. Having effective communication skills are highly valued and if you speak another language other than English, do put it down on your CV. If you can sign language, than mention that too. You may have creative skills that you acquired through your hobbies, such as art and craft or music. Expertise knowlege in specialised areas such first aid skills or researching and report-writing abilities should also be highlighted. If you have experience of organising a football team or coaching netball players, than indicate these too.

    The key is to highlight the relevant skills and bring to light skills that can be potentially useful or applied to enhance your role or performance in the job of your choice.

  • Education - If you have long list of qualifications, you don't need to write all the subjects or the grades. It is suffice to indicate the number of the qualification of the awarding body, however, always highlight that you have passed English and Maths. E.g. '7 GCSEs including Maths and English'.

  • When outlining your educational history, always begin with the current qualification acquired and work your way down to previous schooling. Your education history must be in chronological order without any gaps in the years; if there are any gaps, account for them. For example, you may have had a gap year travelling before you started work or their may have been an illness.

  • Your employment history must be presented in chronological order beginning with the most recent or current. Account for any gaps in the your employment history. For example, a parent may have given up work to bring up children or someone may have given up work to care for family member.

  • Indicate any voluntary work that you might have done or helping family or relative with their work during summer holidays, Xmas breaks or week-ends.

  • Hobbies can tell a person alot about you, so choose hobbies that paint you in favourable position for a job. Hobbies such as reading, swimming or doing cross words suggests that you like being by yourself or doing things on your own. Where as hobbies such as playing football, or netball may suggest that you are a team player. Being a captain of a football team or in charge of coaching players, might suggest that you have leadership qualities. By the same token, indicating you enjoy playing a guitar or water painting may suggest that you have a creative side that employers might welcome.

  • References - Employers normally require references from two people who have known you for at least 2 years. Students finishing their education, can provide details of references from their school or college and one from work placement employer or from Saturday job employer.

    It's not compulsory to put down names and address of referees on your CV, instead you can write 'References available on reques'. If potential employers are interested in giving you a job, they will contact you for references prior to or following an interview. If you are a suitable candidate, some employers will send you a job application form to complete; there is a section on the form that will ask for details of referees.

  • Before sending off your CV, check for spelling and grammar. Ask someone else to proof read it for you.

  • Click here to view   blank CV template


    Useful words to use in your CV:

    Enthusiastic     passionate    proactive   eager     keen       energetic   zest

    Organised    efficient        talented   competent    capable    creative    initiative

    Confident    patient    independent    committed    proficient    flexible

    Positive    compassionate   sense of humour    hard-working    sociable

    Reliable       strengths    honest        outlook    loyal          friendly    optimistic

    Empathetic     rapport   supportive    caring          supportive     polite   

    Determined    composed    motivated    calm     ambitious       courteous   

    Able to work effectively within a team
    Work as part of a team

    Have a likeable personality
    Flexible and friendly
    Positive outlook

    Competitive and ambitious
    Focused and determined

    Developed good communication skills
    Acquired social skills
    Able to form rapport
    Ability to liaise with people at all levels

    Pay attention to details
    Creative and talented
    Sound knowledge of IT skills

    Gained knowledge in early years sector
    Gained experience in administration skills

    Enjoys a challenging working environment
    Learned to adjust and adapt to changing environment
    Able to work under pressure

    Participated in community projects
    Engaged in voluntary work

    Hard working individual
    work-driven and ambitious

    Honest and loyal Trustworthy and supportive

    Caring and empathetic individual
    Enjoy serving others in the community