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The words curriculum vitae come from Latin and literally mean “the course of one’s life.” Your CV is a biographical summary of your life and is usually written to describe details of education and achievements in chronological order.
Your CV is very important in the first step of marketing yourself to potential employers. For some jobs employers can receive hundreds of applications, so it is vital that your CV has that “something else” that makes it special and attracts the reader. In the world of graduate recruitment larger organisations receive thousands of CVs, application forms and covering letters, so think about what is going to make what you write stand out from the crowd. A well written CV will be something that paints a picture of you that will match your skills and achievements as well as your future ambitions.
Always write your CV in the first person e.g. “I have” rather than “He has.” Alternatively you may omit the “I” altogether if you prefer. Check carefully for inappropriate jargon and substitute more user-friendly words when you can.
Ensure that you write about your achievements. Don’t write about things you are not so good at – it might be unwise to mention things that could count against you when the employer might not have considered them anyway!
Always check and double-check your CV or application form for spelling errors and punctuation. Having read through thousands of CVs over 20 years, it is amazing how many have obviously not been spell-checked or grammar-checked properly before being sent off. Think about the employer’s likely reaction if they feel you have not even considered it important enough to check your CV or application form properly.
Check for common grammatical errors such as spelling “practice” (the noun) when you mean “practise” (the verb).
Finally, remember that however perfect you (and we) may feel your CV is, it will be still down to the individuals who read it to judge what is valuable to them. There is no such thing as a 100% perfectly written CV. The reality is that, however professional they are, whoever reads it will have their own likes, dislikes, prejudices and preferences. We would like to think that all the clients who have successfully used A Winning CV have, with our help, been able to submit quality CVs that were just right for them.
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