As you leave school or college and go about looking for a job and building a career, you’ll hear the term CV thrown around quite a lot. Sadly, many are unaware that a CV is of the utmost importance and the first step to building a career or even how to write a good one. The fact is that no-matter what you want to do or what you’ve trained as or even how well you are, your CV will undoubtedly be the single most important part and first step towards getting a job.

So, where do we start and what is a CV? The C.V stands for Curriculum Vitae (which is Latin and just means ‘your story’).  In America they call a CV a Resume …. But it’s just the same thing.

The CV is a list of your qualifications, work experience and achievements during your working career. It does allow you to talk a little bit about your personal hobbies and interests, but this is only a very small part of a CV. It shows your name and contact details at the top and then lists all your work experiences in date order starting with your most recent at the top. A Curriculum Vitae details all your academic credentials and professional accomplishments and is used for seeking faculty jobs as well as for applying for academic post doctoral research opportunities, grants and fellowships.

For those who do know about a CV, you will have read countless articles and been given endless advice on the importance of a good CV.  Much of it will have focused on how you should place your skills and experience in the best possible light, without, of course, stretching the truth ! However, be aware of the risks of inflating your CV…. Instead it could stall your progress.

So, why is it important to have a good Resume? Never underestimate how important it is to have one. First impressions count  and the first impression of you is going to depend on how you present it, because it is the first chance you get to make a good impression on a potential employer. Your CV should be tailored specifically for the job one is applying for and include the skills, qualifications and experience which are most suited to the job. The purpose of the CV is to interest a committee in interviewing you.

Make sure to tell the truth ….Provide information which is accurate and truthful. Inaccuracies will have a negative effect on your job prospects. It is now standard practice for employers to do background checks.

Consider the role profile of the job and be positive about your achievements. Make it clear why you are the best candidate and demonstrate the required skills on your CV.   Remember to draw attention to your skills and strengths as well as your qualifications. Make sure they are clearly stated and not lost in a lot of technical jargon. Brevity is important in crafting a high impact CV. Longwinded statements suggest that you lack clarity and direction.  Sum up your job objective in one sentence on your application.

Your CV is no place for false modesty. Impress the employer by stating your skills and how you have solved workplace problems and the results. Problem solving abilities are as important as vocational skills.

Include an opening statement in your CV. But make a statement of it. In itself it is a good thing. It will resonate better with recruiters, HR professionals and ultimately with hiring managers.  It should be tailored for a specific role and spell out why you are suitable for the role, why it interests you and why you want to work for that particular company.

From the job profile try to work out what are the most important aspects of the role and in what order …. Make this a priority. You need to make sure that you provide the extra details that are important to the position…. Systems knowledge, relevant qualifications, experience on similar projects’

Completing your CV is the starting point for any successful application.  But, your CV’s full impact will not be felt unless you tailor it specifically to the role you are interested in.  Sometimes, this may just involve tweaking your opening statement or elaborating on an important aspect of the role. Tailoring your CV is a crucial stage in your job search.

By tailoring your CV to match each role you apply for, you will dramatically increase your chances of securing that vital interview. Maximizing the impact of your CV is one area of the recruitment process that you can influence.  Build a well crafted CV and create that powerful first impression.