How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format
How to Write a Curriculum Vitae CV Format is very important When applying for a job, first impressions are very important, and that starts with a great CV. Here you will find out how to build a CV that really stands out and makes a great first impression.
CV is short for Curriculum Vitae, which is Latin for ‘course of life.’ It is a document which gives an outline of your academic and professional life, providing a summary of your experience, skills and abilities for your potential employer to get a good overview of you.
In North America, a CV is known as a resume, but it performs the same function.
How Long Should a Curriculum Vitae (CV) Be?
Your Curriculum Vitae should not be more than two pages long, and is one of the most important considerations when thinking about how to write a CV. Potential employers have to deal with a lot of applications, and they don’t have time to read very long documents. Keep it concise by only including the most important elements of your experience and education, and cutting out the extras that don’t make much difference or are not relevant. Also make sure not to repeat yourself.
If you have only just graduated then your Curriculum Vitae will look understandably shorter and you can probably fit it all on one page, which is fine at this stage.
- Contact information – Make sure you’ve got your full name, address, phone numbers and email address. You can include a photo but in most cases this isn’t necessary.
- Summary – After your contact information, include a short paragraph which summarizes your key strengths and what makes you stand out. Highlight a few of your most relevant experiences and skills which relate to the position you’re applying for.
- Education – Make a list of your whole education history, including dates. Sort it by most recent, and include more detail only on the specific aspects which you think are more relevant to this job application.
- Experience – Again you can sort this by most recent, and make sure you only include details for the experience that is relevant to the industry you’re applying to. In fact, if you have a good amount of work experience in the relevant field, then you should even put this section before the education section.
- Extra skills – Often forgotten, this can be a valuable section as having a few extra, and even seemingly irrelevant skills can make all the difference to a potential employer who may have extra needs that you haven’t thought of. This is the place to include any foreign languages you speak, or computer software that are proficient in.
- Interests – Tell the employer about what interests you have outside of a work or education environment. However, make this is as interesting and as relevant as possible, instead of something vague like ‘watching movies.’ Try to think about what other skills could interact well with the proposed job role, so for example if you are part of a drama club, the ability to act could be relevant to a sales role, or if you are able to play a sport under pressure, it could be relevant to a high-pressure work environment.
- References – These are people of authority who know you well, for example former bosses, teachers or university tutors. You can include their names but this is optional, as employers can seek out references if they wish. It is sufficient to simply write, ‘references available on request.’
Go for a size between 10 and 12, and choose a sensible font, not something goofy. Make sure to break the Curriculum Vitae up into clear headings so that it is easier to read, and don’t forget to list things most recent first so that the employer can quickly see your most recent achievements. Aim to be as concise as possible, so as well as the headings, make use of bullet points where appropriate. You want it to be as easy to skim and read as possible.
If you are not 100% sure, use a spell checker and grammar checking software to make sure that your CV is linguistically perfect. Also avoid labelling yourself in a generic fashion, for example ‘hard working,’ or ‘able to work in a team.’ A much stronger way to present these qualities is to provide past examples of specific situations where you demonstrated these attributes.
Extra tips on How to Write a CV Format
- Ensure that your email address looks professional. Don’t use the Hotmail account you’ve had since you were 13 that has a silly name. Make a new email account, or even get email at your own domain for a really professional look.
- Never exaggerate your capabilities or lie about something on your CV. The consequences can be quite serious.
- If your Curriculum Vitae is going to be published online, don’t include your home address.
- Always include a cover letter along with your CV unless specifically requested not to do so. The cover letter can be tailored to the specific company you’re applying to, and you can use it to draw their attention to certain parts of your CV or to explain any gaps or discrepancies.