Creating your CV

Selling yourself!

CV is an abbreviation for the phrase Curriculum Vitae, the Latin for ‘the story of your life’. A CV is the summary of your career history, qualifications, skills and interests. It is also sometimes known as a resume.

Why do you need one? CVs are important for a number of reasons. Mostly it is an essential tool for marketing yourself and your abilities to potential employers. It is useful to always have an up-to-date general CV that records your entire working career.

Not all job applications require a CV, but having an up-to-date CV ready can help to:
  • remind you of the jobs you have done in the past
  • highlight your skills and qualifications
  • reflect on your achievements and successes
  • help present your wider skills and personality e.g. demonstrating your interests/volunteering that you do or have done in the past
  • reflect on how you can use your experience to make your next steps
  • identify any gaps in your skills, qualifications and work experience
  • prepare you for interviews by reviewing the information in your CV
A good CV will impress. What does it need?

Keywords: Did you know that companies spend no more than 6 seconds on average looking at your CV? Many use software to scan your CV for keywords that match the skills required in the Job Description. Once you know what job you want to do, it’s a good idea to look at a range of job descriptions to identify the most common keywords and include them in your CV.

We look for people who are genuinely interested in the work that we do. We find that they settle into their new roles and team quite quickly and find their work a pleasure.
- Jess Sumner, CEO, Community Works

To look good: There are many templates available on the internet to help you. Your adviser will help you when you join Routes. Microsoft Word also has many simple templates.

To be adaptable: It’s generally a good idea to keep one master CV that records as much information as possible about your working history, your skills, your achievements, your training and your interests. Update this regularly. This will provide you with information to draw on when you fill in job applications.

Then when you see jobs you want to apply for and the process requires a CV, you can tailor your CV for that specific role. Generally, a CV should be no more than 2 pages.

Want to get started? There are some helpful free templates to get you started available on Totaljobs. These cover being out of work for a long time, through to changing your job.

There are also a range of useful online CV builders such as: this one by Reed.

Take care to ensure that you read the terms and conditions of online CV builders before including your personal data and to make sure there are no hidden charges.

Our Advisers' Top Tips:

Aradhana says: Make your CV stand out. It needs to be professional, inspiring and word perfect. Get help and advice to develop your CV.

Claire says: There are a number of very good free websites offering clear and simple advice on how to build and update your CV. Look at some of them before you start. You will find a link to some of them at the end of this page.

Jayne says: Scan through lots of similar job adverts to identify the words and skills that are required and make a list of the most important requirements that appear. Then you can work on developing some of those skills. When you possess those skills add them to your CV.

Mirco says: Lots of job applications don’t require a CV. The process can also involve completing an application form. Your CV will have all the relevant information you need to complete the application form, so always keep your CV up to date.

Nicole says: You can include a link in your CV to a LinkedIn page if you have one. If you do, make sure that your LinkedIn page is up to date and the content matches what you say in your CV.

Video: What a Hiring Manager Looks For In a Resume