Writing CV


 A CV or curriculum vitae is a marketing tool. With your CV you will be able to promote yourself. Imagine the CV as being a brochure that will list the benefits of a particular service. The service being your time and skills! When writing a CV look at it from your employers point of view. Would you stand out against the competition (the other candidates) and would the manager want to talk you for a possible job? You have to ask yourself these questions when writing your CV or curriculum vitae.

Networking and interviewing are essential for your job hunt and your CV is just the first step in the job search. However a CV will be your first contact with potential employers and will open the door. If you are invited for an interview you would then be in a position to explain and expand on what is in your CV.

A CV is an essential tool in your job search. When applying for a vacancy you generally first have to send your CV to present yourself to the prospective employer.

A CV or Curriculum Vitae is:

Your Life History
Your Job History
Your Achievements
Your Skills

A CV is a brief summary of your abilities, education, experience and skills. It's main task is to convince prospective employers to contact you.

A CV has one purpose: to get you a job interview.
CVs must do their work quickly. Employers or personnel officers may look through hundreds of applications and may spend only a few seconds reviewing your CV. To get someone to look at it longer, your CV must quickly convey that you are capable and competent enough to be worth interviewing.

The more thoroughly you prepare your resume now, the more likely someone is to read it later.

Gather and check all necessary Information.
Write down headings such as Education, Experience, Skills. Beneath each heading, jot down the following information:

EDUCATION - usually means post-secondary and can include special seminars, summer school or night school as well as College and University. If you are just starting College, you can include high school as well. List degrees and month/year obtained or expected; names and locations of schools, grades. A brief summary of important courses you've taken might also be helpful.

EXPERIENCE - includes full-time paid jobs, academic research projects, internships, part-time jobs or volunteer work. List month/years you worked, position, name and location of employer or place and responsibilities you had.

As you describe your experiences, ask yourself questions like:

Have I invented, discovered, coordinated, organised or directed anything professionally or for my community?
Do I meet deadlines consistently?
Am I a good communicator?
Do I enjoy teamwork?
Even if you're new to a field, you aren't necessarily starting from scratch.

SKILLS - list computer languages and software, foreign languages indicating fluency, teaching or tutoring, communication or leadership, among others.

After you have all this information, check it for accuracy. You'll need full names, correct and consistent dates and correct spellings.

Example of a GOOD CV

Example of a BAD CV

Match your skills and experience with your employers needs
POSITION - what kind of position do you want for this job-search? Make notes. Now match your wishes up with positions that are actually available. You can get this information through postings, ads, personal contacts, or your own research.

EMPLOYER - for certain positions, what aspects of your education, experience or skills will be most attractive to that employer?

Highlight details that demonstrate your capabilities
Look over what you've written and try to select details of your education, experience, qualifications, skills and activities that match an employer's needs in a few important areas.


 Example of Good CV.

Here is an example of a simple but effective CV:
Curriculum Vitae

Name: Bernadette Green
Date of Birth: 26th November 1975
Nationality: British
12 Green Street

Email: [email protected]

Home Tel: 0181 555 5550
Mobile Tel: 0771 222 2222

Education & Qualifications

1994 - 1998
University of London, London
BA(Hons) Languages & Business Administration Main Subjects included: German, French, Accounting, International Relations, Marketing.

1996 - 1997
Universitдt Frankfurt, Germany Exchange Year

1994 - 1996
Glasgow College of Commerce
HND in European Trade with Business German Credits include: Marketing, Economics, European Law, Imports and Exports, Logistics.

1992 - 1994
Burns High School, Edinburgh
Higher Grades include: French (B), English (B), German (B), Biology (B), Modern Studies (C).

1987 - 1992
Burns High School, Edinburgh
6 Standard Grades

Work Experience

Sept 99 - Present
Best Performance Ltd, Glasgow
Marketing Account Handler
Responsible for all aspects of account management including marketing and sales support and client relationship development. Other roles include promotion and distribution control. Products include all marketing support service include database management, response handling and storage and distribution.

Oct 98 - Sep 99
Brand New Technologies,
Glasgow Call Centre Agent
Responsibilities: Taking customer calls and order processing using AS400 system, dealing with customer queries, inquiries and complaints, setting up new customer accounts, invoicing.

94 - 98 Flowers, London
Responsibilities included: Design of all floral displays, stock buying and control, implementation of innovative designs for shop displays, window arrangements and outside events, organisation of arrangements for local charity events, co-ordination of exhibitions and promotions.

Additional Information


English - Mother tongue
German - Fluent written and spoken
French - Fluent written and spoken

Computer Knowledge:

WinNT - 4 years working knowledge
XP Pro - 2 years working knowledge
Experienced user of Microsoft office products.
Keen user of the internet.

-References available on request-


 Example of Bad CV.

What not to do:

Name: Peter Smith

Date of Birth: 28/02/1977


1979 - 1982 kinder garden
1982 - 1988 Primary School
1988 - 1991 High School
1994 - 1998 University of John O'Groats

Work Experience:

1998: Worked as a waiter in a restaurant where I served for people who came there to eat.

1997: Worked in a bar serving drinks for people

1990: Worked on a farm with chickens and more animals

2000: Handing out leaflets in the streets to give to people

1996: Worked in fast food company warming up burgers and fries

1999: Worked in a bingo hall calling out the numbers (got promoted to Assistant Manager)

1995: Worked in a swimming pool cleaning toilets and changing room

Computer skills:

Playstation: Expert use in FIFA 2000
Nintendo64: Expert use in Super Mario Brothers
Words: Typed CV on it
E-mail: Knowledge of Hotmail and Yahoo


Drinking, clubbing and Internet Chat rooms.


 You will also need a Covering Letter to accompany your CV.

The preliminary application for a professional position generally consists of two documents: a cover letter and a CV.

The covering letter is vital to your CV. This is why it is the first page and not an addition. "Please find enclosed my CV" won't get you very far.

The covering letter puts flesh on the bare bones of the CV. It points out to the employer the information showing that you have the qualities the job calls for, and makes a statement about yourself and your suitability for the job. It should give the personal touch that your CV will intrinsically lack.

Plain white photocopier paper is fine. It's OK to print your letter on expensive cream or pale blue paper, but content and layout are far more important! Use the same colour for your CV. Don't use lined paper or file paper with punched holes!
If emailed put your covering letter in the body of the email. If you just attach it along with your CV, with nothing in the email body it may be misidentified as spam.
Don't make the employer work to read your letter!
Keep it clear, concise and to the point. Try not to go over one side of A4 - a useful rule of thumb is a maximum of three sides of A4 for CV and covering letter together.
Use your own words rather than formal long-winded clichйs.
Spell-check and then double-check your spelling and grammar. Spell checkers won't pick up form instead of from or sex instead of six!
Answer the question "Why should I see you?"
You might include your understanding of the work/knowledge of the company , and how you fit the criteria required. "I have a real interest in working as a ...." will not do alone, you must say why you decided to pursue this career, what first brought it to your attention, why you as a History student should be interested in a career in finance.
Relate your skills to the job. Show the employer, in a clear and concise manner, that you have obtained the organising, communicating, analytical, problem solving, etc. skills that are appropriate for the job. You may do the same highlighting from your background to show your team working abilities or ability to work under pressure.
Say when you're available to start work (and end, if it's a placement): be as flexible as possible.
Try to find the name of the person to write to. Research by Forum3 found that those who included a letter with their CV were 10% more likely to receive a reply and those who addressed the covering letter and envelope to the correct named person were 15% more likely to receive a letter of acknowledgement and 5% more likely to gain an interview. They also found that 60% of CVs are mailed to the wrong person, with the managing director being the main beneficiary of the unsolicited mail.
If you start with a name (e.g. "Dear Mr Bloggs") you should end with "Yours sincerely".
If you start with "Dear Sir or Madam" you should end with "Yours faithfully".

 Content of the Cover Letter

In the very first paragraph of your letter, you should state what job you are applying for and how you learned about it. If you have any personal contacts in or with the company, you may want to mention them here. You should also state your general qualifications for the job. This paragraph should be brief, perhaps two or three sentences.

The body of your letter should consist of one to three longer paragraphs in which you expand upon your qualifications for the position. Pick out the most relevant qualifications listed in your CV and discuss them in some detail, demonstrating how your background and experience qualify you for the job. Refer the reader to your CV for additional details.

When submitting/registering your CV with European Resources we would also like you to give us an idea of your preferred salary, preferred job location and whether you are looking for Permanent or Temporary work.

In the concluding paragraph of your letter you should request an interview (or some other response, if appropriate). State where and when you can be reached, and express your willingness to come to an interview or supply further information. Close by thanking your reader for his or her time and consideration.


 How long should a CV be?

There are no absolute rules on this but, in general, a new graduate's CV should cover no more than two sides of A4 paper.

If you can summarise your career history comfortably on a single side, this is fine and has advantages when you are making speculative applications and need to put yourself across concisely. However, you should not leave out important items, or crowd your text too closely together in order to fit it onto that single side. Academic and technical CVs may be much longer: up to 4 or 5 sides.


 Thanks for such important information!

 Julia, some people now think that you don't need the words CV at the top. It's obvious what the document is and just adds clutter to the CV. Personally at BP I haven't seen CVs with "CV", though matter of style, I presume.

 Thanks for information, i'm just now writing my CV!!!