Curriculum Vitae (CV) means 'The story of my life'. Your future employer will see your CV before they see you, so it must represent the best you have to offer. Your CV should change for every job you apply for, adapting it to include relevant information required for the position.
You will never be the only person applying for the job, often there will be hundreds of other applicants. The short listing of the CVs may not be done by your future employer, but instead someone who may not know much about the job, and has merely been given a list of key words to look for. Reading through CVs can become very tiresome so the faster the person is able to find the relevant information and keywords, the better.
A good sequence for your CV is Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, Personal Skills and Previous Responsibilities, Hobbies/Interests and finally your referees.
Here are some tips to improve your CV:
Always remember to include a covering letter, which is relevant to the job. Don't repeat your CV, instead try to incorporate key words from the job ad into your covering letter. At a glance the person checking the CVs will see that you have the skills necessary, and will hopefully give you the chance to have an interview.
- Adapt your CV for the position you're applying to
- Aim to keep your CV to 2 pages
- Use short punchy sentences
- Expand on previous work experience
- Use bullet points, they help keep sentences shorter
- Don't bind your CV, it's not a book!
- Word process your CV, using the spell check
- Use quality paper, white or cream
Here's a great example from The Financial Post, Toronto, February 23rd 2001
Emplyment Wanted: Former Marijuana Smuggler
Having Successfully completed a ten year sentence, incident-free, for importing 75 tons of marijuana into the United States. I am now seeking a legal and legitimate means to support myself and my family.
Business Experience: Owned and operated a successful fishing business - multi vessel, one airplane, one island and one processing facility. Simultaneously owned and operated a fleet of tractor-trailor trucks conducting business in the western United States. During this time I also co-owned and participated in the executive level management of 120 people worldwide in a successful pot smuggling venture with revenues in excess of US$100 million annually.
I took responsibility for my actions, and received a ten year sentence in the untied states while others walked free for their cooperation.
Atributes: I am an expert in all levels of security; I have extensive computer skills, am personable, outgoing, well-educated, reliable, clean and sober. I have spoken in schools to thousands of kids and parent groups over the past ten years on "the consequences of choice", and received public recognition from the RCMP for community service. I am well-traveled and speak English, French and Spanish.
References available from friends, family and the U.S. District Attorney, etc.