It's a tough job market out there, and it has been for a long time. You just know that any job opening you find out about is going to have a ton of applicants. I discovered it was a lot easier to get my foot in the door once I learned how to write a really killer CV. There are some easy tricks that will really help you stand out of the crowd in this department.
If your school experience was anything like mine, nobody ever really sat you down and taught you how to write a CV. I had to learn by trial and error. The main thing I discovered was that, like so many life skills, writing a good curriculum vitae is something you can teach yourself.
For starters, know that a CV is not quite the same thing as a resume. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, the two different documents serve different purposes. Where a resume is supposed to be brief and highly focused on qualifications that matter to the particular job you're applying for, a CV should be more all-inclusive. That doesn't mean that it can go on endlessly, though; like a resume a CV is best kept as short as possible. You can keep the length down by being as brief and to-the-point as possible.
The ideal CV is about two pages in length. That should be enough to hit all of the highlights of your education, career, and qualifications without making any omissions. It may not leave much room for detail, (especially if you've had a long and varied career) but that's okay. A prospective employer who wants to see your CV isn't looking for laser-like focus. They want to get a well-rounded impression of who you are and what you've done.
That being said, you still need to frame your experiences and accomplishments as positively as possible. The same kind of linguistic tricks that work on resumes work on CVs. Use the active voice whenever possible. (For example, never "be educated" when you could "learn" instead.) While you should keep your CV complete, (i.e., don't omit any significant employment or education) you can save space by glossing over episodes that you feel are less important or impressive.
In the modern world, you have to be prepared for the fact that employers and others who look at CVs can (and do!) use software to sort the wheat from the chaff. You can make sure your CV winds up in front of human eyeballs by working relevant keywords into it. This does mean you may have to tailor your CV for a specific application, but it's worth the effort if it gets you the attention you want, right?
There's plenty more to learn before you really know how to write a CV. As long as you stick to it and make a serious effort to refine your curriculum-vitae-writing skills, though, you'll be able to crank out a distinctive and noteworthy CV in no time!