WHAT IS A CV?
A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a document that provides an overview of a person’s life and qualifications. It includes a detailed account of the individual’s education, work experience, skills, and other relevant information. Employers use CVs to assess whether an applicant is qualified for a job and to decide who they would like to interview. The content and length of a CV can vary widely, and it’s important to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for. Remember to keep it updated as you gain more experience and skills.
The purpose of a CV. It’s indeed a crucial tool for job seekers. Here’s a summary of the key points:
- Convince Employers: The primary purpose of a CV is to convince prospective employers of your employability. It should effectively communicate your skills, qualifications, and work experience.
- Open Doors: A well-crafted CV can open the doorway to interviews with various employers and placement agencies.
- Stand Out: Your CV will be one among many. It should stand out and convince the employer that you are the right person for the job.
- Continuous Improvement: Continually improve your CV based on feedback and examples. Resources can be found in libraries, bookstores, and on the internet.
How to write a CV. Here’s a summary of the key points:
- Career Goal: A short statement of your career aspirations for the next five and ten years. This should also include a statement on what your value will be as a worker.
- Personal Information: Include your surname, first name, date and country of birth, identity number, gender, marital status, health status, driver’s license, address, and contact numbers.
- Educational History: Detail your academic achievements.
- Languages: List the languages you can speak and write, and your proficiency level in each.
- Computer Skills: Highlight your technical abilities.
- Current Position and Employer: If applicable, mention your current job and the organization you’re working for.
- Employment History: Include all your previous employment, including part-time jobs and volunteer work.
- Skills and Characteristics: Describe your basic skills and personal traits.
- Awards and Leadership Positions: Mention any recognitions or leadership roles you’ve had.
- References: Provide credible references who can vouch for your work ethic and credibility. Remember to check with them before listing them as references.
Your CV to the specific job you’re applying for. Emphasize certain skills or experiences based on the job requirements. Always include a cover letter highlighting your suitability for the job. Finally, proofread your CV and cover letter multiple times before sending them off.
General tips to consider when writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV) :
- Well-Typed and Easy to Read: Ensure your CV is well-typed, easy to read, and printed on clean paper.
- Font: Use a modern font such as Helvetica or Lucinda Sans.
- Font Size: Use 14 pt. font size for headings, 12 pt. for subheadings, and 10 pt. for the body of the CV.
- One Side of Paper Only: Use one side of the paper only.
- Concise and Comprehensive: Keep it concise, but mention all your skills. Use bullets where you can.
- Proofread: Check for spelling and grammar errors. Proofread a number of times to omit mistakes.
- Be Truthful: Be truthful and reflect your skills and qualifications correctly. Do not exaggerate.
- List of Skills: Make a list of skills you have developed before you start typing your CV.
- Tailor Your CV: Develop your CV to address the skills needed for the job you are applying for.
- References: Obtain permission from people you intend putting as references and their contact details.
- Certified Copies of Qualifications: Add certified copies of qualifications. The certification must have been done less than three months ago.
- Presentation: Bind your CV in a nice file that will catch the employer’s attention. Do not fold your CV if you plan to post it or hand deliver it.
- Keep a Copy: Always keep a copy of your CV.
- Career Counsellor: You can ask a Career Counsellor at the Labour Centre to assist you to attend a CV-writing life skills programme.
What is the difference between a CV and a resume?
A CV (Curriculum Vitae) and a resume are both used in job applications, but they are not always interchangeable. Here are the key differences:
- Length: A resume is typically one to two pages long and includes skills and qualifications relevant to the job you’re applying for. On the other hand, a CV doesn’t have a length limit and is much longer than most resumes because it includes more detailed descriptions of coursework, research, publications, or presentations
- Experience/Career Type: Resumes are used when applying for jobs in the private or public sectors, often referred to as “industry positions”. CVs are mostly used to apply for academic roles or programs, grants, fellowships, and research or teaching positions.
- Geographic Location: In the U.S., a resume and CV are two distinctly different types of documents used for different purposes. In other regions of the world, such as the UK, New Zealand, and parts of Europe, employers use the term CV to describe both CV and resume-style documents and don’t use the term “resume” at all. In South Africa, Australia, and India, the terms CV and resume are often used interchangeably1.
In summary, a resume is a summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, while a CV is a more detailed document that is usually more than two pages.