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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

When do you first need a CV?

We recently conducted a survey to find out when students put together their first CV. The results were very clear with more than three-quarters preparing a CV whilst still at school/sixth form and a further 10% during their first year at university.

That’s really great to know, because it clearly shows how keen students are to embrace the world of work and that they realise the importance of self marketing with a CV. Although many job applications ask for some sort of application form to be completed, either online or offline, at some point in the recruitment process most employers will ask to see a CV.

What is really important, however, is to keep your CV up to date. It isn’t a document that you can think ‘Yes, done that, tick the box, don’t need to do it again’. Try to keep it updated regularly, particularly after you have done any kind of work experience or project which has highlighted your skills.

You might think you will always remember what you did in that short stint at Widgets Incorporated, but in six months time will you really remember the detail of the responsibilities you were given? Will the precise dates of your last few jobs all merge into one?

As much as anything, keeping your CV up to date will help when you come to complete full-time job applications when you graduate and also with any internship applications for summer jobs. These days the process for internship applications is as time consuming and lengthy as for a full-time job. Having all the information you need on your CV can really help with completing the details.

Then there are all the ‘competency based’ questions which are all over application forms. They’re the ones which are styled something like ‘tell me about a time when you…’ These are crucial. If you have kept your CV current with all your achievements, training and development, the basis for the answers to those tough questions will be right there in front of you.

That’s not to say that your CV needs updating every week, or even every month, but don’t make the mistake of writing it while you’re in the sixth form and thinking it will still be acceptable a couple of years later!

Not sure what format a CV should take? Have a look at our advice pages for more info.
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