What is a CV?
A CV is a short (1-2 page) document that you will need to submit to apply for work opportunities, and sometimes for tertiary studies and financial aid applications. The purpose of your CV is to market you to employers and convince them to invite you to an interview.
Your CV must have 5 to 7 main headings with the following information:
1. Personal Details
Include all your personal information that is specific to you. It is very important that you include the correct and most recent details for employers to identify and contact you.
This section must include the following, your:
- Name and surname
- Location and contact details
- Other personal details that is relevant or specific to the job
2. Objective statement (optional)
You can include an Objective statement (sometimes called a Personal Statement) to your CV, but you do not have to include one. If you are keen to write an objective statement for your CV, read more about how to create one here.
3. Skills & Achievements
Include 3-5 marketable skills that you have which match the job you are applying for. You can include personal qualities that match what the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate.
For each skill or quality you mention, include the following details:
- Name your skill or quality
- Mention how you developed the skill or quality and how it helped you perform well on the job
- Give evidence or examples of what you had done and achieved on the job - be specific
4. Work Experience, if any, or any informal experience
Include the places or institutions where you worked or gained experience from i.e. Where did you develop your marketable skills and qualities?
For each work experience you mention, include the following details:
- Name of the place, company or institution
- How long you worked there (year/s and/or month/s), from start to finish
- Your position (role) or job title
- List (in bullet points) your responsibilities or tasks relevant to or specifically matching the job you apply for
- Achievements (results) accomplished or ideas you contributed
5. Education & Training History
Include your high school details and any further education or training you received (e.g. certificate, diploma, degree, etc.).
For each qualification you mention, include the following information:
- Name of the institution (Where you went to school, studied or trained)
- Years you enrolled (When you started to when you ended)
- The type of qualification (certificate, diploma or degree) you received (include incomplete courses as well but indicate them clearly)
- List of subjects/courses
6. Additional Information (optional)
Here you can include any information that is unique to you, such as your interests, hobbies, extra-curricular activities. You may also include networks you are a member of and other awards and achievements you have received that you have not already mentioned. Keep this section short and to the point. You are only trying to show potential employers a little bit more about yourself, don’t include any information that might put you at a disadvantage like membership of political parties or controversial club membership. Do not include cliches, such as reading, writing, exercise, etc.; be specific.
Add 2-3 people who can provide potential employers with positive feedback on your previous work or experience.
Include the following information for each reference:
- Full name of reference (Name and surname)
- Their role or position (Job title)
- Institution or company
- Contact details (Cell/Phone number and email address)
CV DO’s & DONT’S:
- Don’t write “Curriculum Vitae” on top of your CV (employers already know it is your CV).
- Write your name and surname on top of the page. Your full name is the main heading of your entire CV and should be the biggest and boldest font on it.
- Don’t include unnecessary information that does not apply directly to the job or information that may not impress the employer or show you the best candidate.
- Only include information that is relevant to each job you apply for.
- Don’t send an employer a CV longer than 2-3 pages.
- The ideal CV should be 1-2 pages long.
- Black, standard font (e.g. Arial/Times New Roman/Helvetica) at size 10-12 on plain white paper.
The CV described above is a skills-based CV that focuses on your strengths and matches you to the job you want to apply for. The skills-based CV is the best format for:
- School leavers or recent graduates with no or little work experience.
- Individuals with unemployment or employment gaps (job hopping).
- Individuals who want a career change.
Remember to list the most recent and important information first, and never lie about your qualifications or experience. Always remember to proofread your CV to check for any spelling or grammatical errors before you send it to employers.
Read more about each section: