What is CV writing?
At its most basic level, CV writing is exactly that; namely writing a curriculum vitae.
It's all far easier said than done and amongst many other things, you also need to know what to exclude as well as what to include in a CV.
And some people actually write their CV with just this base intention in mind, and do so under the misapprehension that CV writing is all about listing your qualifications and work experience on a document.
This would be all well and good if that was actually the case in reality. However, it isn't. CV writing is essentially about getting you an interview for the job that you want. Essentially, a CV is a sales tool, and effective CV writing involves a lot more than just listing the companies you have worked for and your roles you have undertaken. On the contrary, a CV’s primary function is to sell you to the employer; and not just any employer, but the employer for the particular job that you are targeting.
CV Writing Rules and Myths
Another mistake people make is that they think that CV writing is all about following sets of rules. And indeed, plenty of people, and even a lot of CV books try to train people parrot fashion to follow a particular formula. However, this is wholly flawed and highly ineffective.
Not only is each candidate different, but each employer is different and each job is different. Consequently, you not only should take a flexible approach when you write your CV, but you actually need to if you want to be successful. Indeed, you need to take a creative, individualised and unique perspective every time you write, amend or even tweak your CV.
While most people use one CV for their job applications, some people actually use two, three or more, depending upon the job in question. For example, an IT project manager might also have excellent hands-on programming skills, so he/she might have two separate CVs depending upon whether they are going for programming or project management jobs. Even then, if they want the best results it isn't a simple matter of just submitting the project manager CV for project management jobs, because you still need to take into account the individual employer, and the job in question. Yes, they may have a well targeted project manager CV, but if they want to increase their chances of gaining the advantage over their competitors then they still need to optimise it for the job in question each time.
The art of CV writing
This last point introduces the concept that a lot of people (including many self-professed CV experts) miss; namely that a CV isn't a static document, but a dynamic one. And the heart of top quality CV writing is understanding and dynamically responding to changing circumstances, demands and targets.
About this CV writing article's author
This original CV writing article is taken from extracts from an in depth CV book by Paul Hichens, our head CV consultant, and the specialist who developed our own unique brand of highly effective CV techniques.
Reproduction is prohibited without prior consent.
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