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Planning a better future
Planning a better future

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6 The curriculum vitae

Like an application form, a curriculum vitae (CV) is primarily intended to make the recruiter think it worthwhile interviewing you. The advantage of a CV is that you get to decide what information to include and highlight, and what to leave out or minimise. In addition, your CV doesn’t need to conform to any particular format, so you have more control over the impression it will create. You can tailor the style, content and design to show off your strengths and present you in the most positive light.

The importance of tailoring your CV

It’s most important that you keep in mind that one ‘all-purpose’ CV will not be much use to you. This is only likely to work if you always apply for the same job in several very similar organisations. It is often more effective if you adapt your CV to suit the particular organisation or job you’re applying for – something that’s easy enough to do if it’s word-processed.

Employers expect you to show that you’re responding to their own advertisements, not sending out a batch of identical CVs to a list of companies. You may in fact be doing just that, but it must look as though you’re targeting the individual company, and you can reinforce this impression by tailoring the covering letter.

What style of CV?

The general style of the CV should depend on the sector or organisation that it’s addressed to. For example, applications to marketing organisations or to the publishing industry can be successful if the style and layout suggest a flair for lively prose or graphic design. To use the same approach for a financial institution or a local authority, say, might have an adverse effect. Bear this in mind when you design your own CV.