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6 What is a curriculum vitae and why do I need one?

Photo of a typewriter with the words 'Curriculum vitae' typed on the page.
Figure 5 Curriculum vitae

The words ‘curriculum vitae’ are Latin and translate as ‘course of life’. In practice a CV has become a brief account of your education, qualifications and previous occupations used in support of a job application. Depending on when you are writing it, you may have more or less to include in it, or you may want to emphasise some things more than others. Even if you already have a CV, it is wise to regularly review and update it, so that the content still fits with your career goals. For instance, if you want to make a change from one career path to another, you might need to emphasise different aspects of your experience.

Activity 5 Assessing the value of CVs

Timing: Allow approximately 5 minutes

This activity will familiarise you with some of the benefits of writing and maintaining a CV.

Watch the following short video clip in which people describe their personal experiences of creating a CV and what they see as the benefits.

Download this video clip.Video player: preparing_a_cv.mp4
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Jot down the main points made, if you find them helpful.

So, now you’ve considered why CVs are useful, let’s look at what you should include, in the next section.

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