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What is a CV? Definition, Why You Need A Curriculum Vitae and Types

Each year, the job Ghana market admits approximately 40,000 graduates into the economy. Statistics indicate that a meagre 10% of this huge figure are able to secure jobs that same year. And it takes about 10 years for everyone within this year group to get a job. These statistics are frightening. But don’t let them put you into anxiety and panic. Most applicants downplay the importance of their CV or curriculum vitae which usually is what introduces you to the HR.

This article will explain what a CV is, indicate its importance and the common CV types to guide you in writing yours. 

Submitting a well-written CV will enable you to get the chance to make your case in a job interview. Hence its importance is immense. 

Let’s consider what a CV is before we jump into why it is important.

What is a CV?

A CV is a tool. 

A CV is a communication tool which allows you to tell someone in the position to offer you a job or opportunity such a scholarship your value. It usually contains your basic personal information, your experiences, skills, educational background and your qualifications. 

CV is an abbreviation for Curriculum Vitae which means “Course of Life” in Latin. 

Depending on your location, or where you are sending your application, a CV may be the same as a resume. 

Generally, in Europe, a CV is the same as a resume. This isn’t the case in America where there is a slight difference between the two. 

A CV is a document that contains all information as already indicated leaving nothing out. A CV is usually used in the academic fields.  

A resume is usually used to apply for jobs. It is a sort of 1 page summary of your experiences and other relevant information. The information in a resume must be relevant to the job or role you are applying for.

In Ghana, you may occasionally find an HR manager requesting a resume. It is often the case that you submit a CV. And they are basically the same. Just as the case of Europe. 

Types of CV

1. Chronological Curriculum Vitae

The chronological type of CV plays more emphasis on the chronological happenings of events. It also highlights the experiences more by putting “Professional Experience” section before “Skills”. These experiences are list in the order in which they occurred, from current to old. 

Using this type is good when you have been working for some or you have relevant experience in the field you are applying for. 

The main way to do this is in the order of your sections. When using a chronological CV, your sections should reflect this format;

  • Contact information
  • Academic history
  • Professional experience
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Awards and honours

Thus, your professional experience should appear before your skills. This should be preceded by your academic history. 

2. Functional Curriculum Vitae (Skill-based CV)

A functional cv is very useful when you are changing fields but have no relevant experience in the new field. This type of cv focuses on the qualifications and skills of the applicant as against the professional experience. This is because in this case, there is either no professional experience or it simply isn’t relevant to the role. A typical case is for a new graduate without actual work experience. Also, people changing careers or fields should use this type. 

Here is the initial structure of the functional or skill-based cv.

  • Contact information
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Awards and honours
  • Academic history
  • Professional experience

As seen above, the emphasis is on the qualifications and skills, awards and honours and academic history. This is done by showing them first. 

3. Hybrid Curriculum Vitae (Morph of Chronological and Functional)

The hybrid or “combination” cv is a mix between chronological and functional. In terms of structure, it doesn’t differ from the chronological. The difference is in the actual listing of professional experiences and skills. The most relevant and important are added first. 

Importance of CV

1. It is your marketing tool

Assuming you are a business, how good would you say you are at marketing yourself? In the end, the best products and marketing wins. 

Your CV is your marketing tool. It sells you even before you are given the chance to defend yourself. Make sure to make the very best impression. 

A good impression will help you stand out immediately.

2. Your CV is probably your first chance at the job or opportunity

Considering that most job application processes start with submitting a cover letter and a cv, you might want to consider this more carefully. 

The CV could be your last chance to prove yourself. There is no guarantee that you will be called for an interview or assessment unless you have a great CV.

3. Helps you reflect on your own skills, qualifications and career

A good CV isn’t a simple matter of using the right formatting, fonts, structure and even language. The CV is the skills, qualifications, experiences and whatever you have achieved and have to offer. 

Taking time to write your CV helps you rate your readiness for the job you dream about. In most cases, people get shocked when they are denied jobs they want. But the prerequisite is to have the right matrix of experiences and skills. 

Conclusion

CV writing really is critical to landing a job that you would be proud of. In exchange for your effort for writing your CV, the benefits are immense and shouldn’t be left to chance. Depending on your location and situation, you may require a slightly different cv. However, the basics are the same and the purpose is to impress the recruiters enough to get an interview. 

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