A Short Guide to How to Write a CV
A CV is an important document for a person looking for a job, be it a freshly graduated student or an experienced person looking for a change. A CV or Curriculum Vitae or sometimes just Vita is a detailed document.
Why is it so important?
Because it’s what an employer would look at first before you are called for an interview. Your interview questions will depend a lot on what you have written in your CV, so it’s advisable to learn beforehand how to write a CV for a job, especially if it’s your first job. Also, your chances of being hired significantly depend on how well it is written.
This article will tell you what is a CV, what are its important aspects, how to write it in an effective and interesting style, what to include or not.
Useful, right? But that’s not all that we have for you.
Along with these things, we offer a template and an example so that you can see what an excellent CV looks like and how to write one that can be your best representative.
So keep reading!
What is a CV and why is it required
People generally consider the resume and CV the same thing and use these words interchangeably. But in reality, they are noticeably different. A resume generally covers your personal, educational and extra-curricular activities along with your affiliations and experience if any. It is normally written in a compact format, i.e. in one to two or maximum 3 pages.
On the other hand, your CV is longer than a resume and shows your important life events directly or indirectly related to your career.
So what does CV stand for?
The C stands for Curriculum and V stands for Vitae which are Latin words and their English meaning is “Course of Life”. It is usually a detailed document written in two or more pages or even in 10 pages. It depends on how broad your career-related experiences and activities are.
CV vs Resume
Though both are useful while applying to a job opportunity, their relevance depends on what type of job, where or which company you are applying to.
Most of the European countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and other countries in mainland Europe use CV for all type of jobs. They don’t use resume at all. On the other hand, the employers in United States of America and Canada prefer the resume as an application document instead of CV. They generally use CV only when they are applying abroad or in academic institutions or research organizations.
In some countries, the CV meaning is not different from the resume. For example, in India, South Africa, and Australia, both CV and resume are used interchangeably. When applying in the private sector, they use the term resume, and when applying for a position in public service, they use the term CV.
The basic difference between the CV and resume is the scale they use to show the information about a person. On the contrary to CV which is a Latin term and means “Course of Life”, the resume is a French word which means “To sum up”. So in a simple definition, you use resume when you want to sum up your experience and accomplishments in the area related to the job you are applying for.
If you think about a resume vs CV, we can say that:
A resume is a to the point presentation of your achievements and experiences related to the job profile for which you are applying. It is generally targeted to the position you intend to apply for.
On the other hand, a CV is a complete presentation of everything you can offer to the job and the company. It portrays your personality with your personal traits, abilities and future goals. It also can be used to show your intended contribution to the company or the field in which you are applying for a job.
What CV formats exist?
There can be no format for how to make a CV that fits all type of jobs. Actually, you don’t create a CV tailored for a job type. In fact, you are creating a document that tells about all your accomplishments and activities you have attempted in your life so far. You have to prepare it by keeping in mind the area of your work and not just a particular job.
Therefore, there can not be any specific format. However, we can say that the style and structure, as well as the order of particular sections, may be different per the industry or the field of your expertise. It can be that a section of CV is suitable for a specific job may not be too relevant or a decision drawing factor for another job.
To better understand how highly successful CVs are written for different industries, you can look at some examples. You can find them online or from the recruitment firms or the mentors. You can also talk to the employees of the company you are applying to, to get an idea on how their CVs were constructed and which sections and information worked the best for their selection. But remember when you are writing it that it’s all about you and should be reflecting your thoughts and style.
There are certain guidelines you can follow to make a CV. They are as given below.
1. Your personal information
The top section of your CV will show your name, residential address, email id and the phone/mobile number. This section is generally written in larger fonts and placed on the top of the page. This is to make it easily visible to the recruiting person so that he or she can know about the person he or she is going to interview.
The name should be displayed in the center of the top part and in the larger fonts. The rest of the information, i.e. address, email and phone number can be on the left or in the center below the name. It depends on you where you want to place them.
2. Something more about you
In this section, you have to write about who you are as a person. You can write about your nature, portable skills, your qualification in brief and the extra activities that have given you an edge for being a better employee in the organization.
This section is very important and should be written very carefully as it is what will catch the attention of the employer. It will play a significant role in making the first impression of your overall CV. So if you can shape it with well-thought words and an outstanding style, your chances of having a call for an interview will be increased.
3. Write about your education and qualification
This section deals with your educational qualification and experience. You should also specify the details of any training that you have taken. List all your degrees in reverse chronological order. Make sure to include those degrees that you are currently pursuing.
You should include the name of the educational institutions starting from the university and go backward. Mention the year you attended the course, the major and minor subjects, and grades for each educational certificate.
4. Add a section for the experience
In this section, you have to list all the job and training experiences you have taken so far. Starting with the name of the company, the location of the office or the company premises, the time duration in the years from the joining year to leaving year, and what was your job profile and responsibilities.
In this section, you have the chance to explain what you have done and achieved in your previous jobs. Specify your achievements in terms of project and process implementations, sales and marketing campaigns, operations and quality improvements etc.
5. Mention your skills and achievements
This section is to list the skills you have developed in your previous job and the goals you have accomplished with the new skills. You can mention your work, i.e. any article you published, classes you have taken, training you have given, presentations you have made and the lectures you have given.
6. Hobbies, interests and other information will go next
You can show your hobbies, interests and other information in this section. You can list your hobbies and interests like reading, writing, playing a sport, playing a musical instrument or singing etc.
Next, you can explain if there is any inconsistency in your CV, i.e. any gap you have taken between two jobs or two courses or during a course. You can mention what you did during that gap and what you learned that helped you boost your study or career.
7. Include the references
The teachers, professors, and previous bosses can be included in your list of references. They can give your future employer a good feedback about your work and can increase your chance of getting hired. You can mention their name, email address, and phone number.
You should call them and inform them that you are giving their name as a reference. Also, ask their convenient time during which your future employee can call them.
8. Review and Proofread your CV
Once you are done with writing your CV, you should review it. You should proofread it to remove the spelling mistakes. Also re-read your CV carefully to know if there is any inconsistency in the sentences or if there are any grammatical mistakes. Poorly written CVs are rejected by the employers even if you are the most suitable candidate for the job.
By reviewing and proofreading, you can make sure that your document is properly written. You should read it from an employer’s point of view so that you can find the information that is irrelevant. If there is any, you should remove it, because the relevance and truthfulness of whatever you mention in your CV are very important.
9. Formatting of your document
Like any written document, a CV also should have a proper formatting and well-organized structure, i.e. resume font size, section headings etc. The section headings should be easily readable, so they should be written in large fonts, the names can be bold, and the dates can be underlined. The lists should be properly bulleted or numbered. Make sure that whatever formatting you use for an item is applied to all other similar items to maintain the consistency.
Using Curriculum Vitae templates
Though you have read the information provided in the previous paragraphs, you may still need help writing your CV. And that’s where online templates can come in handy.
As you know a CV means a course of life and is a detailed document of a person, so there can’t be a fixed template for all jobs. So, all you can do is take some good templates for your reference and create the best one out of the mix to suit your needs. After all, your CV is about you and you have to decide what to include and what not.
Below are some links to good CV templates which you can use as a reference to create yours.
You can take the templates as a good start for your own CV and make changes according to your requirements. There can be more templates available online.
Some useful CV examples
We have given some links to sample CV. You can refer them to get an idea of how it is written. It will help you further in creating an effective and strong CV. Observe the factors for their success and include yours accordingly.
Note the formatting and the writing styles and model your CV using the best of them. You can make changes if you feel necessary and that way give your own touch to the CV. Make sure you don’t plagiarise. Though it will not be compared online, writing about yourself in your own words will actually make a unique impression on the employer. This will increase your chances of getting a call for an interview.
Writing a CV in your own words will also help you appear in the interview with full confidence. And you will be able to answer all the questions because the questions will be mostly related to the information you include when you create a CV.
Please see links to the examples of CV below.
Hope this article will be helpful to you. We have tried to include as much information as possible to help you with creating an effective CV.
Best of luck.