Writing a CV or Résumé

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for course of life. It provides a record of your personal information, education, work career and the skills and experience you have acquired. What is the difference between a CV and a résumé? A résumé is usually a one page document while a CV ranges from 2 -5 pages, depending on your years of experience.

There is so much information available about how to write a CV or résumé…and yet, recruiters are often amazed by CVs they receive. It takes seconds for a recruiter to decide whether or not to meet the person, so what are they looking for?

Here are a few essential points to remember:

  1. Make your CV/résumé accurate, concise and honest. Leave out graphics or cartoons and write in average size font. If you have no useful or relevant experience, it is likely you will not be called for an interview for that position.
  2. Make sure you have no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes – check, check, and check again.
  3. In terms of layout, it is generally accepted to follow this format:
    • Firstly, your name and contact details (including other personal information you may wish to provide)
    • Education and qualifications (most recent first, working down)
    • Employment history (starting with current or most recent)
    • Professional achievements
    • After that, you can include your skills and competencies specific to the role. Interests and hobbies are sometimes included at the end. You will be asked for references should you be offered employment, so it is not essential to include at this stage.

TIP: Include a Personal Profile or a Career Profile at the beginning, especially if you have not provided a covering email or letter. A Personal/Career Profile will highlight your strengths and achievements as well as provide a little more about you and your desired career direction; keep it to two-three lines.