What is a Curriculum Vitae (aka Résumé*)?

A CV is a concise written overview of your unique skills, education, work experience and achievements. Your CV is a personal marketing document used to sell yourself to prospective employers and should ultimately demonstrate why an employer should take the time and money to consider you for the job. You'll often need to submit your CV along with an application or cover letter, see hereAlso, consider getting yourself a LinkedIn profile which will serve as your online CV.

*NOTE: In countries like the UK, India, South Africa and Australia, the words ‘CV’ and ‘résumé’ are used interchangeably, which is what we’re doing on this page. However, in countries like the US, there is an important difference that you must note. A résumé is a shorter document that provides a concise overview of your previous experience, skills and education. Whereas a CV is typically a longer, fairly detailed overview of your life accomplishments. It is largely focused on academic coursework and research but could also include achievements and awards, scholarships or grants, and publications. When we –  and many others – say ‘CV’ we typically mean ‘résumé’ but feel free to clarify with your prospective employer. Awkward? We know, don’t even get us started on pints, feet, stones, Celsius, miles or which way to drive around a roundabout!


Why is it important?

It’s your passport through the door and in most situations, a CV is the first contact you will have with a prospective employer so it is your chance to make a good first impression. A well written CV could be the difference between getting an interview and not being considered for the role so take the time to make it count.


What is included in a CV and how do I write it?

A CV should typically include your details, a personal statement, your work experience, education, skills, hobbies and interests, and references. While there is a general template, the exact way in which you write your CV may depend on what you are applying for and whether or not you've had gaps of unemployment (for more information, click here.). Also, there are some country specific dos and don’ts. For example, in France and Germany it is fairly common to include a picture, however, in the UK and the US that is a no-no, so check out the relevant links below. Good luck!


Remember, on your CV you will need to have your education, skills and work experience so start working on those now! Find part time jobs here or by offering your time to friends family and local businesses and charities. 

Note! While the team is working on their language skills, a lot of our resources are English speaking country based. While there will be some overlaps between countries, your region may do things differently so be sure to check out your local resources so you have the right CV/ cover letter format for you.

What is a cover letter and why is it necessary?

A cover letter is a one page document that should accompany your CV or application when applying for jobs. It is necessary as it gives you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job, and it’s also the easiest and most effective way to stand out from the crowd. Also, given your CV is supposed to be short and sweet, your cover letter is the perfect way to show your personality, elaborate on your achievements, and further explain why you’re the best fit for the job.

What is included in a cover letter and how do I write it?

In general it should include your personal details, the hiring manager’s name, where you found the vacancy, a brief description of why you’re a good fit for the role, your relevant experience and skills and what you can do for the company, and a closing statement.