Each CV you send should be accompanied by a covering letter.
A curriculum vitae (literally, the course of [my] life) (CV) provides a summary of your work, and other relevant, experience and of your qualifications.
The covering letter is addressed to a specific employer and talks about your application for a specific job for which they are recruiting.
Because there is a certain amount of leeway in deciding whether a piece of information goes in one or the other (or both), I am using the term CV below to apply to both documents.
I suggest the purpose of a CV is not to help you get a job.
I think the purpose of a CV is to help you get an interview. In other words, to help an employer decide whether they want to employ you. Only if they think they might employ you will they call you for interview.
These may seem to the same thing, but they aren’t. The first is about the applicant, and what the applicant wants to have happen; the second is about the employer and what they need.
Like it or not, the employer has the whip hand here and, if you think in terms of what they need, you will be more successful.
Write each CV individually and tailor it for the particular job and employer it is addressed to.
I don’t mean as in “Dear [insert name here]”. Don’t use standard templates unless you can make the result not look like a template.
Of course, there will be some information which you can cut and paste into most CVs. But… make the information you include about you directly relevant to the specific job and employer you are addressing.
Top tip You are more likely to succeed with ten thoughtful, well-written, relevant CVs than with a hundred duplicate CVs which are more or less irrelevant to their recipients. Those ten CVs will still take longer, but the time will have been well invested if you get the job.
Research the company; research the job.
Don’t explain why you want the job. Explain how you can meet the employer’s needs.
Think about where you might be in the company in five years’ time. Talk (briefly) about a possible career progression in the company—they won’t hold you to it, I promise! But, if you can demonstrate that you are thinking about yourself in their business, that will appeal to them (and set you apart from other applicants).
Top tip Call them, if you can, to ask them why they are recruiting. What are they looking for in new recruits? (They will be as surprised you called as you are that they give you some valuable information.) Ask them where they see the business in five years’ time—that will surprise them! Ask if they can direct you to other material on the web than the company’s website.
If they make specific requests for content in your CV, you must include it.
In the CV, refer to any research you’ve done and certainly mention any contact you’ve had with them.
> What are the basic things to get right in a CV?