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A CV is not an Autobiography

A CV is not a kind of shortened autobiography.  It is a marketing document for use in a very competitive market place.  What you need to do is to demonstrate in your CV is reasons why the prospective employer should consider you as a preferred candidate for the job on offer.

In order to do this, you will need to capture their interest from the outset, so that they will want to read on to find out more about you.  Remember that the only knowledge that the reader has of you is what you are telling them in your CV and you cannot assume any prior knowledge.  This means that you need to strike a balance between too much detail and enough information so that the reader can understand who you are and what you have to offer.

The first thing you need to do is to introduce yourself to set the context within which the rest of the CV should be read.  The best way to do this is with a profile which includes an overview of  information about the sectors you have worked in and the skills you have developed.

Don’t include detailed information and make sure that the information you do include is relevant to the application you are making.  For example, there is no need to include particulars of primary education.  If you are graduate then you probably don’t even need to include ‘A’ levels.

It is important to prioritise your information.  As your career progresses your experience will become more relevant than your education, so always make sure that the most important , career related information comes first.

Personal information should go at the bottom of page 2, if it is included at all.  These days I never include date of birth or marital status, but I do put in a section which I call ‘OTHER INFORMATION’ where I put in such things as Nationality, Driving (if relevant), languages and interests.

So when writing a CV remember that a CV is not an autobiography – it does not need to include full details of everything you have ever done.  The trick is in identifying your target market and making sure that your CV demonstrates that you have the qualities that the prospective employer will be looking for.

© This article is copyright The CV Consultancy 2010.  You have permission to reproduce this article or forward it to others, provided that the permission granted by The CV Consultancy is acknowledged and all links remain intact.

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