What is the purpose of your CV? {Start thinking about it differently}

Updated: Oct 8


“What do you think your CV is for?”. The most common answer I get to this question is “to get me a job!”. Seems reasonable, on the face of it. But it’s entirely the wrong way to think about your CV. Here’s why…

1. Your CV will be too long and will lack focus…

On average, the receiver of your CV (e.g. recruiter, hiring manager, HR, business owner etc.) will spend just 6 seconds skimming through it. The question that needs to be answered in this most brief of timeframes is this: “interesting, or irrelevant?”.

If you hold the view that the purpose of your CV is to land you a job, the overwhelming tendency will be to put everything into your CV that could possibly help in that aim.

More often than not, this will lead to a 1,400 word CV spanning 4 pages of monotonous tedium for the reader to digest.

This is unlikely to land you favourably in the “interesting” pile.

Try to be concise and clearly state what you’re capable of AND the value you add.

2. Your CV will be too specific to the role you’re applying to…

Now, bear with me on this. I know the age-old cliché that you should always tailor your CV to the job you are applying to. I tend to disagree.

Now, making some tweaks to your CV to include relevant key words or to draw particular attention to specific skills or experiences; fine.

However, if you are writing specific content for each role you apply to (e.g. mentioning the target company specifically or relating parts of your CV to the specific job in question) there are a number of disadvantages that could be hurting your job search.

A well-crafted CV should represent you well to all of the employers who would conceivably value your skills and experience. Not just to a particular person at a specific company. If you want to add more specific context, do this in your cover letter.

3. You can crush your self-esteem…

Self-confidence, to a large extent, is derived from seeing expected outcomes to your actions. The more your actions achieve the desired result, the more confident you become in your ability to carry out that action.

Your CV alone will not get you a job. There are many components to that ultimate goal. If you expect your CV to get you a job, you will quickly lose confidence in its efficacy and as a result, damage your own self-confidence.

In order to have confidence in your CV, you need to set realistic goals that it should achieve. Outcomes that your CV alone can deliver, that are positive and move you in the direction of getting the job.

So how should you think of your CV?

Simple. Your CV is personal marketing collateral. The purpose then is clear: it should make relevant people want to speak with you.

It should be accessible, relevant and it should demonstrate the value that you bring. It should engage the readers curiosity enough for them to want to learn more. You don’t need to include everything. You don’t need to blow smoke with over personalisation. And yes, you can get positive, measurable results.

So, if you’re thinking “I need a good CV to get a new job” change the way you think about it. “I need an effective CV to get more interviews”. You’ll have a stronger CV, see much better results and be much more confident about your job search in general.

Not sure how your CV stacks up? Why not get a free CV review and find out…


You can also help yourself to a host of Free Resources right here, including a CV Writing guide, as well as Personal Profile and Cover Letter templates.

Happy hunting and get in touch anytime if we can help in any way!

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