CV is short for "Curriculum Vitae", which means the course of life. If you look up definitions for curriculum vitae / CV, it is usually considered to be a summary of someone's education, their qualifications, and their work experience.

When most people write their Curriculum Vitae, they write it with this definition in mind. This is all well and good,if your CV is too rigid you may miss out on your ultimate target: namely your job!

Curriculum Vitae Advice

Your curriculum vitae is arguably most important job hunting tool, and many people make mistakes when they write a CV so you need to make sure that it is as strong as possible if you want the best results in the job market. Amongst other things people tend to undersell themselves, and most people don't know how to optimise their CV to the kind of things employers look for. This is not unusual, because it is a specialist skill. Indeed there is a lot more to CV writing than meets the eye, and especially if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

However, we have vast experience in helping people sell themselves far more effectively on their curriculum vitae, and we can help you in this respect.

Order CV



Curriculum vitae

A traditional curriculum vitae would start with your personal details (i.e. your name, address and contact
details etc) e.g.:

Personal Details

K Smith
2 Church Avenue, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, UK
Tel: 01234 555 3444

This would then be followed by a profile:

Personal Profile

This is the area where you can summarise your work experience. You can also include some personal traits in this section. Please note, that the personal profile should not be too long, so if you can write effectively yet concisely then all the better.

Traditionally the next section is the work experience section:

Work Experience

This section lists your jobs together with dates. While some people just list jobs and very little else, it is to your advantage if you come across as an achiever in this section, so that you stand out over and above the competition. Consequently, it is helpful if you can turn simple job roles into achievements. This is far easier said than done, and especially if you want to do it concisely, pertinently and proactively. In fact it is a specialist skill to do this powerfully. However, we help clients with this day in day out and if you need help in this respect then we can help you.

Traditionally the next section is qualifications:


Whilst this section sounds pretty straightforward on the surface, there are other considerations are played and sometimes it isn't a good idea to add all of your courses/qualifications willy-nilly. At the same time, if you do have good qualifications then these are usually worth listing.


Some people also add training sections (including IT training), and sometimes it is advantageous to include this, but it really depends on you, what training you have done, to what level, and what job you are targeting.


Some people put the skills summary near the top of their CV, but it is usually more effective towards the end. The skills section is essentially a very visible way of showing the employer the main skills and competencies you have on offer.
For example, many people mention their IT skills, people skills etc.


It is quite common for people to include interests on their CV. At the same time, it isn't obligatory, and not everyone includes this. If you can include interests which are relevant to the job, then all the better.


Similarly, you are not obliged to include references on your CV. Some people include them, some people don't include anything, and some people just include some text mentioning ‘references available upon request.’
Ultimately, it is up to you whether you include them or not, but most employers are not really interested in references until you impress at interview.

Other sections

Some people include other sections on a CV, for example they may include a separate section on IT skills, voluntary work etc. A lot of the time extra sections are not really necessary, but different employers look for different things they need to be flexible and keep an open mind.

The above curriculum vitae advice is taken in parts from a comprehensive CV book written by one of our senior consultants, Paul.
You can read more about curriculum vitaes, and a lot more besides in Paul's book.

© Copyright CV Consultants 2005-. All rights reserved
Please feel free to bookmark our website  and link to this page