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Part One

Your CV should be
your "passport
new opportunities"


Different countries have different traditions as regards curricula vitae. For example, German companies traditionally prefer hand-written CVs because they use graphology to analyse their candidates. However, this would seem very strange (even prehistoric) in the English-speaking world.

You are bound to have
a CV and you may even have one in English. However, it is almost certainly out of date. It is much more complicated to get your CV up-to-date when a job which really interests you crops up than if you regularly modify it. For example, are your referees really the most appropriate people to give a character reference? Will your tutor from university even remember who you are? A surprising number of people send off badly-presented or out-of-date CVs - don't be one of them!

The Basics

  • Your CV should tell a company who you are and why they ought to be be interested in you. Make sure all information is relevant and keep it concise.

  • Your CV should put your experience and qualifications in a favourable light but you should not lie about anything. You should be able to provide further information about anything which is on your CV. Any hesitation or inability to do so will suggest to the interviewer that what you have written is not "the whole truth and nothing but the truth".

  • Your CV should be two or three pages long. One page suggests you don't have enough experience or training, four pages is too long.

  • More and more job advertisements nowadays ask for a photograph of the candidate. In theory this is to help them to recognise candidates. In practise, especially in the service sector, looks count. Don't just use any old passport photo, but try to get one which looks right for the job in question.

  • Don't use coloured or textured paper because employers may want to photocopy, fax or scan your CV. If you insist on using expensive paper or coloured ink, or including a photo on your CV, test how well it copies.

  • Remember that increasing numbers of companies are asking for applications over the Internet. You should have access to the Net so that you can apply for these jobs.

  • It used to be fashionable to begin a CV with a punchy statement about yourself (e.g. "An enthusiastic team-player who is sociable, ambitious and energetic"). This type of thing is plainly ridiculous since nobody is going to write the truth (e.g. "Boring, lazy misanthropist who only works to pay the rent"!). Fortunately this isn't fashionable anymore so don't bother.

Work Experience

  • List employment in reverse order. Your current or most recent job first, your first job last.

  • The first page should include all contact details (permanent address, telephone numbers, fax, e-mail) and educational achievements (degrees, diplomas and language certificates).

  • Give your job title and a description of your current and last job including your responsibilities. Try to give it more meaning by including some numbers (e.g. how many people you managed, the size of the budget you dealt with, etc.).

  • Try to include some information which reflects your performance in each job you mention (profits generated for the company, contracts signed, etc.).

  • If you have worked for SMEs, rather than multinationals, don't just give the name of the company, describe what they do.

  • Give most detail about your most recent activities and less about what you were doing four, five or more years ago.

Source: Think in English


as regards: in relation to, in terms of (en lo que respecta a)
you are bound to have
: I'm sure you have (seguramente tienes)
out of date
: obsolete, not up to-date, antiquated (desactualizado)
crops up: (colloquial) appears, arises (surge, aparece)
send off
: post, send by post, send in the mail (despachan, envían)
ought to be: should be (deberían estar)
further information: additional or extra information (información adicional)

any hesitation: any pause before speaking because of uncertainty or nervousness (cualquier duda o vacilación)
: these days, in recent times (hoy en día)
punchy statement: dynamic, vigorous opinion (declaración fuerte o dinámica)
current: present (actual, corriente)
: a financial plan detailing how much money an organisation expects to earn and to spend
you deal with: (in this context) you were responsible for (por el cual fuiste responsable)
SMEs: Small and/or MediumSize Enterprises (PYMEs o Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas)


Click here to read PART 2 of this article