Why is your CV so important?

December 22, 2014

Your CV is a summary of your education, skills, and work experience. Take a closer look at why writing the perfect one can help you land your dream job.

Why is your CV so important?

Your CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a summary of your education, skills, and work experience, that is typically sent along with a job application.

Though similar to a resume, a CV has some differences. While a resume is very concise – no more than a page or two – a CV is a more detailed account of your experience and skills, and can be longer. If you are a senior executive, lawyer, professor, physician or scientist, then you will likely use a CV. That’s because a CV can be much longer than two pages. In fact, it should be lengthy, impressive and highly detailed to highlight your years of experience and expertise.

What does a CV have that a resume doesn’t?

Both resumes and CVs contain summary statements followed by work history (also known as employment highlights, work experience, and the like). This is typically followed by any special skills you may have, and possibly a section devoted to awards and honours you may have received over the years.

For a CV, the above content is just a launching point. Beyond that, you can include a range of sections depending on what type of company you’re pursuing. Here are some other areas you might consider adding when putting together your CV:

  • Professional licenses or certifications
  • Listing relevant course work to match career or academic objective
  • Scientific or academic research, laboratory experience, grants received
  • Description of thesis or dissertation (if you have advanced degrees)
  • Papers, books and other related publications you have written
  • Academic or professional presentations delivered
  • Travel or exposure to cultural experiences
  • Related extracurricular activities, professional and association memberships
  • Additional information that may support objective or qualifications
  • Letters of recommendation or a list of references
  • Professional development

On a CV, more is more

While you don’t want to bury your prospective employer in an avalanche of information about yourself, a CV is often at least five to 10 pages in length. If you are a senior practitioner in your field, your CV may well extend to 20 pages and beyond. This is so that you can list how extensively you have been published and include your many professional speaking engagements or notable public appearances. Over many years, these things tend to add up.

The overall impression you want to give with your CV is that you are so experienced, educated, and accomplished that you are the most solid candidate for the position you’re applying for.

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