The term CV stands for Curriculum Vitae and in Latin, it literally means ‘(the) course of (my) life’, but that’s as much Latin as you’ll need to know for this. It’s commonly known as a CV and you won’t ever need to put the full name ‘Curriculum Vitae’ on any of your applications! That’s not a great way to start these days.
In practice, a CV is actually a brief – that is ‘a brief’ – account of your education, qualifications and (hopefully relevant) experience which can be submitted as part of an application for a job – whether a weekend job, full-time role or apprenticeship vacancy. Getting it right is important.
The key purpose of your CV is to act as a sales brochure to advertise the star product – i.e. You! The aim is to demonstrate that you have the skills and competencies to do the job and to show that you are the ideal candidate for an employer to invest their time and money in. You need to make an impact and get noticed – and there’s not much room to do that.
Easy to read
Any CV needs to be written with the reader in mind – i.e. the employer – rather than for your own benefit, so please do make it easy for them to look through!
Firstly, it should be relevant to the opportunity that you’re applying for and proof of your enthusiasm for the role by clearly demonstrating that you’ve researched the employer and, equally, that you know exactly what you’re applying for.
It should also be easy for an employer to read if your CV is based on their key priorities. These may not always be clear in advance, but if you make it relevant, you’ll have a better chance of matching to the employer’s key requirements.
And your CV needs to be easy to read because employers – and recruiters – can have literally hundreds of applications to consider. They won’t have time to read through them all in detail and so will typically spend just six or seven seconds reviewing each one! That’s it, just a few short seconds to grasp enough from your CV to give your application further consideration and keep you out of the ‘reject’ pile.
To help clarify this point, imagine that you’re looking to buy a nice car: something expensive that involves making a decision because there are several different models to choose from. That’s what the employer is doing: they will have a lot of different applicants to choose from and need to decide which ones to shortlist and, ultimately, which one to pick.
In deciding on which car to purchase, you’ll take a look at the different sales brochures, and pay particular attention to the details that are important to you.
With cars, you might be checking the different trim for the seats, the hubcaps or the dashboard features. In the same way, the employer will scan your CV looking for the headlines that are of most interest to them and that is why it needs to be easy to read.
Examples might be that they are looking for a ‘team player’, for someone with ‘five passes at GCSE including Maths and English’ or for someone with a clean driving licence. If you do your research before applying, you should be aware of a lot of these priorities before you adapt your CV to the vacancy.
We’ll cover the layout of your CV in more detail in another blog very soon, but for now, the purpose of your CV is to show very simply why an employer should consider you and, critically, it should be just enough to get you to the interview stage where you can deliver your sales pitch in person! Careersnearhere: It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started!