altCV is the abbreviation for the Latin 'Curriculum Vitae', which means 'the story of your life'

Notes on producing your own CV

altFirst impression 

First impressions last  - the reader's attention must be grabbed in the first 20 to 30 seconds when reading a CV.

What a prospective employer really wants to know is why they should invite you for an interview. For this reason, a summary of your capabilities in the form of a short profile at the top of your CV, followed by a list of your major achievements, will grab an employer's attention.

Visual layout / organisation ofalt information

The visual layout of your CV is important. It is advised to use a fairly straightforward layout, using 'white' space and appropriate headings and section breaks.

Fancy borders or graphics often make the file size very large, causing problems when you try to email your CV or print it out. It can also detract from your CV's content.

Even though the wording you use may be correct, if people can't find the information they want quickly enough, they will move on to someone else's CV.

You should normally break your CV down into a number of separate sections, as this makes it much easier for the reader to find information quickly.

  • Profile (or Summary)
  • Major Achievements
  • Personal details
  • Language Skills (optional)
  • Education / Qualifications and additional Training
  • Career History (or Work Experience)
  • Professional Memberships
  • IT Skills (optional)
  • Other Information (optional)


You must make an employer want to invite you for an interview. If you can't tell them quickly why they should do so, then they will move quickly on to the next CV.

Relevant personal details can be reflected but be short and to the point.

altCV should be 2/3 pages long

Keep your CV to two or three pages, unless someone specifically asks you for a longer version.

As Employers usually only spend 1-2 minutes reading each CV during their first pass through a pile of CVs, they won't have time to read a 10-page CV.

They don't want to know your whole life history - just enough to decide whether they want to interview you or not.


No Profile section or a poor Profile section

Your Profile should be the first section on your CV.

It should give a short summary of what you have to offer an employer, focusing on your key skills, strengths, talents and experience.

altHaving a poor profile is almost worse than not having a profile at all.

Your Profile needs to sell, sell, sell, but in a believable manner. If you oversell yourself, then your CV may be rejected as being unbelievable.


altRefrain from long paragraphs and sentences

  •  Very long sentences make it very difficult to read or scan a CV.
  •  Time is of the essence - if you want to impress the employer and gain an interview. Keep your sentences short and punchy.
  • Use bullet points and 'white' space in your CV to break up the information into manageable chunks.




altCV must target the position applying for

When you are sending your CV and the position is not reflected to the skills, it is recommended that you include a covering letter.

You may also want to make changes to your CV, so that it matches the job that you are applying for. The closer your CV and cover letter comes to matching an employer's requirements, the more likely you are to be offered an interview.

Be honest about your skills.

altToo much detail or too little information

Including too little or the wrong sort of information on your CV will mean that an employer won't know whether you have the relevant experience and skills.

It is advised that you include relevant technical Information employers are looking for. Include information about your current and previous jobs, and detailing your relevant experience, abilities and achievements.

altPoor grammar, misspellings, typographical errors

More time will be spent on reviewing a candidates CV that is better prepared and of a good quality.

Errors in your CV can detract from an otherwise good CV and make you look careless and this is not a characteristic you want to portray to an employer.


altAsk someone to read your CV before you send it out

If you've produced your own CV, you can't expect it to be 100% correct. Your CV needs to be thoroughly tested and the paragraphs that is incorrect, needs to be fixed, replaced or improved.

It is suggested that after you thoroughly check your own CV, show it to friends, colleagues to give their input and look at suggestions.

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