Do you want to quickly land a new rewarding job in your field? If you answered yes (and of course you did!) Then you should apply with a well-written CV (curriculum vitae) that shows the hiring manager that you are a quality candidate.
Formatting a professional resume is hard work, but you’ll be happy to take the plunge when the job interview invitations start pouring in. Read the following sections to make sure your resume format is optimized for an effective and successful job search:
The first step in formatting a CV is to check whether you need an academic CV, job search CV, or CV. Here’s how to choose the application document you need:
Academic CV: If you are applying for an academic or scientific position, use academic Curriculum Vitae Formatting. Resumes have no page limit, so you can include all of your research experience, publications, and other academic or scientific qualifications.
Job Search Resume: If you are applying for a non-college job in most countries outside of the US, use a job search CV that proves your qualifications in 2-4 pages.
Resume: If you are applying for a non-university job in the United States, do not write a CV (unless the company specifically requests it). Instead, use CV formatting to showcase your relevant accomplishments on 1 to 2 pages.
If you need a CV, refer to several professional CV examples for inspiration. But if you need to use a resume template, here are a few well-formatted examples to get you started:
Below are three templates that use professional resume formatting. The first two samples are academic CVs, and the third is a job search CV that functions as an American CV or as an International or European CV:
Academic Resume Example (emphasis on university education)
The organization of this sample emphasizes the experience of university education. Use a similar format when applying for a speaker or professor position.
The sample is adapted from the original 24-page CV of Dr. G. Richard Scott, professor of physical anthropology at the University of Nevada with nearly five decades of experience. (For more confidentiality, the contact details are made up.)
Academic resume example with emphasis on research experience
This sample rearranges Dr. Scott’s information to highlight his research experience. Follow this example to apply for an academic or scientific position:
Job Search Resume Example
Use this resume example to apply for non-college jobs, such as electrical engineering or sales positions:
Confused about whether to use a chronological (or reverse chronological) CV, a functional CV, or a combined CV to categorize your CV sections? Just follow these steps to organize your resume plan:
- Read the job posting to determine which aspects of your experience best match the requirements of the job.
- Place the most relevant sections near the top of your CV to grab the attention of the hiring manager.
- Use reverse chronological order in each section to show your career progress.
Once you have completed your plan, write each of the following sections:
Here are formatting tips for each CV section:
Your CV header should follow the format below:
- Your name appears at the top, formatted in bold text and set in a larger font size than what you use for the rest of the text on your CV. Highlighting your name helps the hiring manager to notice your application and find it easily.
- Your mailing address may be lower than your name, but it’s not required these days.
- Then add your phone number.
- Finally, enter your work email address.
- If you want, add links to relevant online profiles.
Here’s a sample resume header designed to impress academic or science employers:
Format your CV Training section by listing all of your degree titles, using one of these formats:
Format option 1:
Date of graduation, degree title, name of institution, location of institution
GPA, honors (optional)
Format option 2:
Institution name, institution location, graduation date
GPA, honors (optional)
If you are a recent graduate applying for your first professorship or research position, adding your GPA (if it’s 3.5 or higher) and the accolades you’ve received is a good idea. If you already have university teaching experience, it is not necessary to include your GPA and honors.
Here is an example of a properly formatted CV training section:
Start each heading in your Work Experience section with the name of the institution or company, followed by your job title and dates of employment.
Under each headline, list your most relevant accomplishments – backing them up with specific numbers when possible – in a few points. Here’s what a work experience section looks like when you use professional resume formatting:
If you’re writing a resume that spans a long career, you can also list your work experience without bullets to highlight your career progression:
Adding research experience to a resume is not an exact science. If you have limited experience, you can include research in your work experience section, following the same format you used for your work history.
However, if you have worked on many projects and want to highlight qualifications relevant to a research position, create a unique section for your research experience.
Here are two examples of how your CV looks:
When listing publications on your CV, simply apply the formatting used by your discipline (for example, MLA formatting for humanities or APA formatting for science).
Here is an example of a CV post section format using APA formatting:
Here is an example of a CV post section using MLA formatting:
If you have any honors or awards (including grants and scholarships) to put on your resume, follow this format:
The title of the honor, the name of the awarding organization and the date you received it
Here is an example of a professionally formatted CV Honors and Awards section:
Depending on your field of work and the position you are applying for, you may also need to include the following optional sections on your CV. Click on each section to display a correctly formatted sample:
A job search CV is intended for non-academic or scientific applications and consists of the following sections:
The header of your job search resume should include your name and contact details. To format your header, separate your name with bold text in a font size larger than the rest of your resume. This ensures that the hiring manager will not confuse your qualifications with information from another candidate.
After your name, add your mailing address, email address, phone number, and links to relevant online profiles.
Here’s a sample job search resume header:
Format your job search resume intro as a short 2-4 sentence paragraph or 2-4 bullet list. Here is an example:
Format your work experience like this:
Company name, location
- 2 to 4 chips
- Each bullet illustrates your accomplishments, using specific numbers when possible
Feel free to change the company name / location along with the job title to highlight your experience, but remember to use the same format for each job. that you list.
Here is an example of a job search CV work experience section:
Under your education letterhead, write the name of your school and the date you graduated. Add a new row for your degree title, GPA (if it is greater than or equal to 3.5) and the accolades you have received (for example, summa cum laude).
Then add courses, thesis titles, and other relevant information.
Here’s what a job search resume section looks like:
Place your relevant skills in a bulleted list, as shown in the following example:
Here’s how to set margins and font sizes on your college or job search resume:
Set your margins between ½ “and 1” on all sides. Margins that are too large group your information together, making it difficult to read. Margins that are too small lead to less white space, which makes your resume cluttered.
The best font size for an easy-to-read resume is between 10.5 and 12. If you need to reduce the pages of your job search resume, use a font size of 10.5 or 11. is often the solution. Use a size 12 font for an academic or science resume, as it has no page limit.
Submit a PDF CV to the hiring manager if possible. Here’s why:
- PDFs preserve your formatting: If the hiring manager opens your resume in an older version of Word, there may be some formatting issues that make it difficult to read.
- PDFs do not include red underlines: Word’s spell check feature highlights words and phrases it doesn’t know (e.g. names of people and places). When you save your CV as a PDF, the red lines disappear, making it easier to read.
While it is generally best to submit a PDF CV, there are times when you need to send a Word file instead:
- When the job posting specifically says to send a Word CV, do not send a PDF. Always follow the employer’s instructions.
- When the employer uses Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to review applications, send a Word file. ATS software is better for scanning Word documents than reading PDFs.