What is a CV?
A curriculum vitae (CV) in most parts of the world is a document used to apply for a job. However, the specific use and structure of a CV differs depending on the country you live in.
In the United States and Canada, for example, a CV is used to apply for positions in academia, such as research or graduate studies. It is typically at least two pages (but often significantly more) and provides a comprehensive overview of your academic positions, publications, and accomplishments.
In most other countries, however, a CV is simply the document you send to employers to apply for a job. In fact, in Europe and the UK the words “CV” and “CV” are synonymous (although “CV” is less commonly used).
In short, unless you are applying for academic positions in the United States or Canada, writing your CV is the same process as writing a CV.
What to include in a CV
Now that you know what a CV is, you are probably wondering how to structure your own CV. At a minimum, your CV should include the next five sections:
- Header with your name and contact details
- Professional experience
Any other information, such as volunteer work or hobbies, are optional additions to your resume.
How to write a CV (with examples)
If you are applying for a job outside of North America, you will need a solid resume to land an interview.
To get you started, here’s how to create a CV that stands out from the competition:
1. Clearly list your contact details at the top
The first thing to do: employers need to know who are you and how to contact you if they want to offer you an interview.
Make it easier to find this information by including the following contact details in the header of your CV at the top of the page:
- First and last name (in large font)
- Phone number
- E-mail adress
- LinkedIn profile (optional)
Make sure your email address and LinkedIn profile are up to date and professional before adding them to your resume.
Sample Resume Contact Information
Here’s an example of what a good resume contact details section looks like:
2. Open with an objective or a compelling CV summary
Placed just below the header of your CV at the top of the page, a concise and focused CV presentation is the best way to immediately catch the attention of employers and convince them that you are the right person for the job.
There are two types of resume submissions commonly used by job seekers:
The goal of both introductory styles is to quickly showcase your relevant experience and skills to convince employers to keep reading your resume. However, how they achieve this is different depending on which intro you use.
CV Objective Example
A CV objective is a 2-4 sentence introduction that indicates how many years of work experience you have, what your most valuable qualifications or skills are, and how you can use those qualifications to help the business. 39; employer.
Here is an example of a strong CV goal:
Resume summary example
A resume summary is a 3-4 sentence introduction that, like a goal, indicates how many years of relevant work experience you have and also touches on your professional skills. However, unlike a career goal, a resume summary highlights one or two of your most notable professional accomplishments (backed up by specific numbers).
This makes it more suitable for applicants with more work experience, while a lens is ideal for people just starting out in their careers.
Here’s an example of an effective resume on a CV:
3. List your relevant work experience in chronological order
This is the most important section of your CV if you have already started your career. Your Work Experience section is where employers assess your qualifications, looking for information about your top work accomplishments and past responsibilities.
To write a solid work experience section, start by listing every relevant job you’ve had, from most recent at the top to least recent at the bottom. In most cases, you should list a maximum of four unique positions on your resume.
For each position you indicate, include the following information:
- Company Name
- Job Title
- Your start date and end date (month and year)
Then include 3 to 5 bullet points for each position, outlining your main accomplishments and responsibilities in that position.
While writing each chip on your CV, be sure to include the following details to make it as compelling as possible:
- An action verb that grabs attention and shows employers what you have accomplished
- Specific numbers (such as dollar amounts or percentages) that provide context for these accomplishments
- An example of specific and relevant responsibility
here is a sample CV chip in action:
Experience working on a sample CV
A well-written work experience section on a CV should look like this:
4. Highlight your education
A clear training section is an essential part of your resume, especially if you are a recent graduate or have minimal work experience.
If you have less work experience, your education section should be very detailed to help you showcase all of your academic achievements. However, if you already have years in your career, keep your training section short and to the point to stay focused on your work experience.
If you have work experience, include the following information in the training section of your resume:
- The names of your university, community college or technical school
- Location of schools (city and state)
- Date of graduation (month and year)
If you are a student or recent graduate, you can also add the following information to your Education section:
Teaching on CV examples
Here is an example of a CV training section with minimal detail, written by a job seeker who already has a decade of relevant experience:
Now here is an example of a detailed section on the education of a recent graduate:
5. Highlight your skills
Employers are always on the lookout for candidates who have a strong set of professional skills relevant to the jobs they are hiring for. Although listing a skill set in the skills section of your CV does not prove that you are qualified for the job, highlighting targeted and specific skills. Is show employers that you at least understand the job requirements.
There are two main types of skills that you should include on your resume: technical skills and soft skills.
Technical skills are job-specific abilities acquired through experience, education, or training. Typically, technical skills are either the technical skills needed to perform a specific job or a general set of skills, such as project management.
If you are applying for a job that requires specific knowledge like software development, adding technical skills to your resume is essential to land an interview.
Here are some general examples of technical skills to include in your CV:
- Language skills
- Graphic design
- Front-end development
- UI / UX design
- Social media management
- Mechanical Engineering
- Perl / Python / Ruby
- Hardware troubleshooting
- Photo editing
- Data analysis
Soft skills are innate character traits that positively impact the way you work or interact with other people (like interpersonal skills or creativity). They are naturally learned throughout your life and, unlike technical skills, cannot be easily taught in the classroom.
Here are some examples of soft skills for your CV:
Skills on a sample CV
Here’s an example of how the skills section of your resume is formatted correctly:
6. Add additional information that highlights your qualifications.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve already put the basics together for your resume. Now is the time to add the finishing details.
Including an additional section on your CV is optional, but the right information can help you highlight your qualifications or convince hiring managers (if relevant).
Here are additional sections you can include on your CV:
Applicants who speak multiple languages are valuable in a variety of industries. If you can speak or write in more than two different languages, consider adding a separate section on your resume to show off your skills.
Including interests or hobbies on your resume is a great way to stand out from other applicants and show employers that you are a good culture fit for their business.
However, before you add an interest section to your resume, determine if your hobbies are relevant to the company you are applying to and are suitable for the job. Also think about the level of formality of the business.
For example, including your love for hiking is totally appropriate when applying for a casual startup or an outdoor business like Patagonia.
However, highlighting how many hours you spent on Call of Duty when applying to a law firm would be seen as unprofessional.
Adding a dedicated volunteer work section to your resume is a great way to showcase some of your transferable skills and show that you are involved in your community. These two reasons alone make volunteering a great addition to your resume, but it’s especially effective to include if you’re applying for a job in the nonprofit sector or in politics.
Plus, including volunteer work helps fill out your resume if you don’t have paid work experience.
Additional section on a sample CV
Here is an example of a properly formatted interest section on a CV:
3 good CV examples
To help you get a better idea of what your finished resume should look like, here are three resume examples made using some of our resume templates:
Sample CV 1 page (without work experience)
First of all, here is an example of a CV from someone with no work experience:
Sample CV 1 page (with work experience)
Now here is an example of a CV with years of professional experience:
2-page CV example (academic)
Finally, here is an example of a two-page academic CV (the type you would use in American universities) from a candidate who has just started their academic career: