Writing a CV

Your CV or 'Curriculum Vitae' is your chance to showcase your skills and experience to your potential employers before interview. Your CV is the document that will help potential employers decide whether you will be given an interview or not.

What format should you use for CV writing?

There are at least a dozen differing formats for writing a CV. There is no single ‘best format’ for CV writing; it is a case of selecting the format that you feel best presents your skills, ability and experience in relation to the job you have applied for.
All formats are a variation of one of three different types of Curriculum Vitae (CV), and can be broadly divided into three categories.

Detailing your employment history in reverse chronological order

CV details your career history showing your current employment first, and then working backwards. A chronological CV gives a complete record of your career history, education and qualifications, and quickly shows your relevant skills to a potential employer.

CV Hints and Tips

DO: Write your CV in the first person (i.e I have) rather than the third person (i.e he/ she has). However, you should take care not to overuse the term "I" as this will be implied.
DO: Mention the things you are good at, but be careful not to overdo it. Over selling yourself to potential employers can be counterproductive.
DO: Make sure that your CV provides an accurate image of your personality, abilities, skills and achievements. You are unlikely to be short listed for a role if you present a different image of yourself at interview to the one you have presented within your CV.
DO: Target your CV toward the skills and abilities that are asked for within the job description, and highlight your accomplishments
DON’T: Say negative things about yourself in your CV, or mention things that you are bad at.
If your CV is not securing you interviews A lack of interviews can be disheartening, and if this is happening to you the first question you should ask yourself is ‘Is my CV communicating all my relevant skills and experience properly?’

DO: Get expert assistance with your CV if your applications result only in rejection letters. Paying a professional will help you to present yourself in a better light and gain more interviews, saving you time and disappointment.
DO: Take care when sending multiple applications for different roles within a single company. Many companies use automated applicant tracking systems and any CV that has been sent will be stored in a database and compared with earlier versions. If you submit a different image of your skills and achievements in successive versions of your CV, you run the risk of being perceived as being less than forthright or lacking in firm career objectives.
Creating either perception could result in being ‘screened out’ as a candidate.

Detailing your skills and experience only

A CV which details your skills and experience is termed a ‘functional’ CV. The functional CV format focuses not on your career history but on the skills, abilities and expertise you possess that support your application, without showing your work history.

Combination of employment history and skills information

As the title suggests, a combination CV format combines the features of a chronological and the functional CVs in one document. Use of this format allows you to focus on your skills and qualifications, before presenting your employment history.