What are CVs and resumes?

Not so long ago CVs and resumes were mainly used by ‘professionals’ (doctors, lawyers, teachers etc.). However times change. More and more employers use CVs and resumes to screen candidates as a part of the recruitment process.  The internet also allows companies and organisations to advertise vacancies and get clients to apply for jobs online via their websites. This usually means uploading your CV or resume. So the need for a CV or resume that is professional and effective is vital.   So just what are CVs and resumes?

Is your CV / resume doing its job properly or do you need help writing a professional CV or resume?

If you are actively job searching, your CV is one of the most important tools you will need to get you the job you are seeking.

Surprisingly, many people place a low priority on how important securing a job is reliant upon the quality of their CV.

The first thing a job seeker should ask themselves is, “what is the purpose of a CV / resume?”

When writing a professional CV, it is important to remember that a CV does not get you a job; that is generally decided at an interview. However it should be impressive enough to get you interviews and consequently put you in the position where you can land a job. With that in mind make sure not to give information that might reject your application. With that in mind concentrate on positive statements and your suitability for the role; in short make the reader want to see you.

When you write a CV, you must always remember it is a personal marketing tool. It should be designed to:

1. Get you an interview or get you an invitation to meet a prospective employer for an informal chat.
2. Sell your skills to a prospective employer.

Writing a professional CV is vital in gaining interviews. Many people let themselves down by not paying attention to the content and layout of their CV. The truth is if your CV is doing its job, then you will be getting lots of interviews when you send it out.

When was the last time you updated your CV format, style and content? Regularly updating your CV / resume is something you should consider as it should always be an honest reflection. Are you using words that are general but do not give the reader a true picture of you? It is all well using generic terms such as ‘a good team player’ because you think that is what all employers are looking for, but if your job roles involve working on your own; then the phrase can look pointless.

When writing a professional CV it must be interesting and should reflect you. Include information that will give the reader a clear picture of you. It should sell your skills, qualities, experience and convince the reader that you are a candidate to be invited to an interview.

If you give the reader the right information, make it easy to read and relevant to the post; you will greatly increase your chances of success.

Tips for writing professional CVs and resumes



When writing a professional CV / resume you should ensure that:

1. It is targeted and tailored for the job. If possible don’t just write A CV. Have a different CV for each role you may apply for.

2. It clearly shows that you are able to do the job. Demonstrate concisely your skills and capabilities. Highlight the important information so that the employer notices them immediately and doesn’t have to read through reams of paper before realising that you can do the job.

3. It should show you have a personality and get across what sort of person you are (both professionally and personally).

4. It should reveal your outlook in a clear-cut, positive and professional manner.

5. It should be brief and to the point and only contain relevant information. Personal details should be kept to a minimum. Your nationality or marital status should not be an indicator of your ability to do the job.

6. It should address what the employer wants to know about you. Do not ramble on – make it attractive and to the point.

If your CV is not doing its job – think of how to improve it. You are the one who can make sure that your CV is well constructed, that it can sell you in a positive manner, deliver results and help you to get the job that you have applied for.

Before sending out your CV check for the following:

what-are-cvs-and-resumes-explained-at-the-personal-development-cafeAttention to detail

One of the most common weaknesses and reasons for a CV being rejected is spelling and grammatical errors. Even if you use spelling and grammar checks remember they are not perfect; get a family member or friend you can trust to check your CV.

Not enough information

In most cases a CV needs to be concise, but it also needs to give information for the reader to make an informed decision as to your suitability. Not every applicant will be invited for an interview, so in order to get yourself considered for the shortlist; provide them enough information not to reject you. A standard CV should be enough to fill two A4 pages, try to keep it to that length; assume the reader is a busy person who doesn’t have the time to read five or six pages of your career history. If you can convince them to give you an interview in 2 pages your CV has fulfilled its purpose.

Using cliches

Do not construct a list of phrases such “Excellent communication skills”, “Enjoys working under pressure” or “Works well in a team”. If you want to demonstrate these skills or attributes, the best way to do so is describe them in your roles or in a key skills section where you can say just how you have used these skills e.g. “Excellent communicator responsible for training new members of staff.”


This might seem obvious, but many people still lie on their CVs in the belief that they can get away with it. That is not part of writing a professional CV. Do not do it. Just imagine how you would feel if at interview the lie was discovered! If you say something on your CV make sure you can back it up if asked.

Contact Information

Surprisingly some people are reluctant to give out their telephone number or cell phone number and then wonder why they aren’t getting any results from their CV. Check that you have given your correct, current contact details. When writing a professional CV include an e-mail address, but remember this is a professional document, do not use what you think is a funny address your prospective employer might not like sending an e-mail to fluffybunny{@}rabbithutch.com! Simply get a new email address in your name.

Remember your CV / resume never travels alone! The first thing that might introduce you to a prospective employer will be your cover letter. It is vital to make sure that your cover letter sells you and your skills.

Go to our sample CV cover letters section if you are looking for great example cover letters in your field to introduce your CV/resume to a prospective employer.

Alternatively you can download a software program that enables you to produce powerful letters by following their process.

Once you have constructed a great CV /resume and a covering letter that will impress, you can search for jobs in your country and overseas, find the latest jobs and start applying instantly by uploading your CV / resume online.

Whatever your profession go to our sample CV / resumes by job title page where you can find free examples of:

Sample Chronological CV / resume

Sample Functional CV / resume

Sample Targeted CV / resume


If you have any questions, comments, need help writing a professional CV or resume or would like further information on how to write a CV or resume, use the comment form below and we will gladly give you the advice and guidance that you need.