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What is a Resume?

What does CV mean?

‘CV’ stands for Curriculum Vitae and in Latin means ‘course of life’. We normally use it to mean “A brief account of a person’s education, qualifications, and previous occupations, typically sent with a job application” (Oxford dictionaries).

What does resume mean?

While CV comes from a Latin phrase, résumé is french. You say it ‘rez-you-may’ and it actually means ‘a summary’. It is “A brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience prepared by an applicant for a job” (Dictionary.com)

What is the difference between a CV and a résumé?

Well, both of those definitions sound the same, and in Australia the words can actually be used interchangeably. Most employers would say that there isn’t very much difference between the two.

The main difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV may be more detailed and say everything you have achieved, whereas a resume is shorter and specific to the  job you are applying for.

So… which do I do?

Until you have many years of work experience, your résumé or CV will be more like a summary anyway, and in Australia you can call it either one you like regardless of how long you make it.

Even if you call it a CV, there is no point putting information on there that doesn’t show the important skills and attributes you could provide to the job. It probably shouldn’t be longer then two pages and only one page if you haven’t had any work experience.

What kinds of things should I put on there?

The best thing to do, especially if you don’t have much work experience is to focus on the skills you have. You need to demonstrate your personal attributes and skills, and how that fits in with the job you are applying for.

Demonstrating how well you can do the job is the most important thing you can show in your CV or résumé.

What if I have no skills and experience?

Can you make sure you will turn up on time for the job? Being punctual is a very important thing you should mention.  Are you good at talking to people? That’s referred to as ‘interpersonal skills’ which you can explain by saying you are friendly, polite and outgoing.

Everyone has skills and experience! Its just a matter of thinking about the kinds of things you are good at and the skills you have developed!

After you have thought of some of your skills, compare that to the duties and selection criteria for the job.

As for experience, make sure you think about not just paid work, but volunteering and work experience too. Have you helped out with a reading group at school? volunteered for a local youth event? Did you do work experience at school? These are all things you can put on your CV or résumé.

Do I need to change my résumé  or CV for each job I apply for?

Yes. You don’t need to change everything, your experience will be the same, but you need to make sure that the skills and qualities you mention in your CV relate to the position you are applying for and the company.

A good way of tailoring your résumé  or CV is to change your summary paragraph and maybe a few of your key skills to sound more relevant.

For example, if you applied for a job in retail and now you want to apply for one in an office change things like “demonstrating communication skills and providing great customer service” to “using effective communication skills to work with a range of diverse clients“.

It’s small things like changing the emphasis depending on how the organisation refers to its ‘clients’ or ‘customers’ and tie it in to what they have written in the job description.

It sounds like a lot of work but employers know when you have a ‘blanket’ résumé  or CV and are less likely to pay attention if they feel like you have not applied yourself to the specific job and its criteria.

Ready to start writing?

So, start thinking about the things you are good at, and the skills you have. When you have that you can get started!