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How to Write a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A curriculum vitae, or CV, is more than a resume – it is a detailed look at your career path, including your achievements, publications and awards. A CV should be used when applying for positions in academia or to science- or research-oriented industry jobs. In some European countries such as the UK, a CV is the standard for all types of job applications. (To find out whether a CV is preferred in another country, check the Career Guide for that country on Going Global .)
The principal difference between a resume and a CV is that a CV is typically two or more pages and includes more comprehensive information about a candidate’s research background, presentations, publications, committee memberships and other experience of an academic, clinical, or scientific nature. Resumes are narrower and more tailored, while a CV is more detailed and does not exclude any professional experience.
Step 1: Choose a Format
Select a simple and appealing format for your CV. Avoid borders, colors, images or graphics, as these tend to be difficult for automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to read. Our basic formatting suggestions are below.
- Center name at top of page and make it two font sizes larger than the rest of the text
- Use a professional-sounding e-mail address that you check often; remove the hyperlink
- May include both current and permanent addresses , if desired
- Optional: Include your LinkedIn profile URL
- Font: Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Times New Roman (same font throughout)
- Font size: 10-11 point
- Margins: .5 to 1 inch, all sides
- Page Numbers: In general, CVs tend to be longer than resumes, ranging in length from two to ten pages. Be sure to include your name and page number on each page after the first page.
- Use consistent formatting for dates throughout (e.g., 2/18, Feb. 2018, February 2018)
- Consider aligning all dates on the right side of your document
- Use bullet points to give relevant details and explanation of your experiences
- Bullet point style and formatting should match throughout
- Bullet points in a CV typically do not use a period because they are usually not complete sentences
- Within each section, list information in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
- Consider using bold and all caps for HEADINGS in the body of your CV
- Consider using bold for Names of Degrees and Position Titles
- Consider using italics for Name of Organization, City, and State
Looking for visual examples? Check out these templates for reference:
- CV Template with a Research Focus (download)
- CV Template with a Teaching Focus (download)
- CV Template for Nurse Practitioners (download)
Step 2: Collect and Fill in Information
Make a list of all your teaching experience, research experience, work experience, awards and scholarships, study abroad and training programs, professional associations, publications, presentations, technical skills, languages, education, and certifications. Use exact names for degrees, programs, organizations and titles.
Review the position description and determine the skills and experience the employer is seeking. Order sections of your CV from highest to lowest priority based on position description.
Remember that sections are flexible and can be combined to tell your unique story. Information within each section should be listed in reverse chronological order, with the most recent listed first.
- Generally at the top of your CV
- Degree (Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, etc.) and month/year of graduation, University, and location
- Major(s), minor(s), and any concentration(s) within your major(s) or minor(s) if applicable
- Optional: if you’ve completed a thesis, list the title of the thesis and your advisor’s name or committee members’ names
- Optional: list relevant awards and honors that you earned for academics
Licensure (if applicable)
- Title of licensure
- Granting organization
- Expected date and/or expiration date
- Optional: include license number
Certifications (if applicable)
- Title of certificate
Honors, Awards, Fellowships (if applicable)
- Name of Honor, Award, Fellowship, granting organization, and year
- Include a brief overview of the honor/award/fellowship
Research or Teaching Interests (if applicable)
- Share a few of your research or teaching interests, and be prepared to talk about them in future interviews
If the position focuses on teaching, list your teaching experience first. If the position focuses on research, put your research experience first.
- Always include job title (e.g. lecturer, teaching assistant, instructor, etc.), dates, name of organization, and location
- Address what you learned and the skills you developed in addition to the tasks/jobs you performed
- Do not list course numbers
- Do include what population of students you taught (e.g. undergraduate, graduate), number of students, and the class format (e.g. online, hybrid, or in-person)
- Always include job title, dates, name of organization, and location
- Helpful to give a very brief overview of the research project
- Helpful to give a brief overview of demonstration scientific techniques used and/or advanced technical skills
- List specialization, number of hours, month and year, organization, and location of relevant clinical rotations in reverse chronological order
- Bullet points should focus on advanced responsibilities and accomplishments you have achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for
- Demonstrate skills gained and accomplishments achieved that are relevant to the position you’re applying for
Publications and Presentations (optional)
- Depending on the number you have of each, you might want to break this into two sections
- Important to use consistent formatting (MLA, APA, or other)
- Helpful to bold your name within the citation
- List publications and presentations in reverse-chronological order
- Optional: list articles or papers that are in progress and will likely be published
Institutional Service (optional)
- Committee(s) service: role, dates, name of organization, name of committee, and location
Community Service (optional)
- Choose quality over quantity in this section
- Only include experiences where you developed skills relevant to the position
- Always include role, dates, name of organization, and location
Professional Membership(s) (optional)
- List name of organization, years of participation, and any leadership roles
- List specialized and/or technical skills
- We recommend listing contact information for three to six individuals
- Contact Information: Name, Title, Department, Organization, Mailing Address, Email, and Phone Number
- Ask for each person’s permission prior to listing them as a reference
Step 3: Carefully Review Your CV
Since CVs involve a lot of detail and careful formatting, mistakes are easy to make. Before you consider it final, meticulously review the content and formatting of your CV and search carefully for typographical errors. If possible, have your faculty, principal investigator, advisors, committee members, or career coach conduct a final check. It might help to have a person from your industry look over your CV as well.
Want a second opinion?
Come to walk-in hours to review your CV with a career coach.
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Writing the Curriculum Vitae
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This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time
This handout provides an overview of strategies for writing an effective curriculum vitae. This topic is particularly important for graduate students who are entering the academic job market for the first time. Although there is some overlap between the two resources, this handout should serve as a supplement to the suggestions available from Purdue's Center for Career Opportunities .
What is a Curriculum Vitae?
Also called a CV or vita, the curriculum vitae is, as its name suggests, an overview of your life's accomplishments, most specifically those that are relevant to the academic realm. In the United States, the curriculum vitae is used almost exclusively when one is pursuing an academic job. The curriculum vitae is a living document, which will reflect the developments in a scholar/teacher's career, and thus should be updated frequently.
How is a CV different from a resume?
The most noticeable difference between most CVs and most resumes is the length. Entry level resumes are usually limited to a page. CVs, however, often run to three or more pages. (Remember, however, that length is not the determinant of a successful CV. You should try to present all the relevant information that you possibly can, but you should also try to present it in as concise a manner as possible.) A more subtle but equally important distinction is that whereas the goal of a resume is to construct a professional identity, the goal of a CV is quite specifically to construct a scholarly identity. Thus, your CV will need to reflect very specifically your abilities as a teacher, researcher, and publishing scholar within your discipline.
What should I include?
Your CV should include your name and contact information, an overview of your education, your academic and related employment (especially teaching,editorial, or administrative experience), your research projects (including conference papers and publications), and your departmental and community service. You should also include a reference list, either as part of your CV, or on a separate page. Also, if you have a dossier containing confidential references available, you should mention that on your CV as well.
What comes first depends both on your background and on the job for which you are applying. Typically, the first item on a CV for a job candidate directly out of grad school will start with the candidate's education listed in reverse chronological order. Frequently the title and even a brief description of the dissertation will be included in this portion. After that, you will want to determine both what the jobs that you are interested in require and where your strengths lie. When determining what comes after your educational credentials, remember that the earlier in your document a particular block of information comes, the more emphasis you will be placing on that block of information. Thus, the most important information should come first.
If you are applying at a research university, research projects, conference presentations, and especially publications become very important. If you are applying to a liberal arts college or community college that strongly emphasizes teaching, then showing your teaching background is of paramount importance. In any case, you will want to be sure that the information that will be most helpful in determining your qualifications for the job for which you are employing comes before information that will be less helpful.
Is there a standard curriculum vitae format?
One of the most important things to remember when working on your curriculum vitae is that there is not one standard format. There are different emphases in each discipline, and a good CV is one that emphasizes the points that are considered to be most important in your discipline and conforms to standard conventions within your discipline.
So how can you find out what these conventions are? A good place to start is to find as many examples as possible of CVs by people in your discipline who have recently been on the job market. You can find these by asking other grad students and junior faculty in your department if you can have a look at their CVs, and you can also make use of the Internet to find CV samples in your discipline.
Resources such as The Curriculum Vitae Handbook by Rebecca Anthony and Gerald Roe (Rudi Publishing: Iowa City, 1994) also include sample CVs for various disciplines. One caveat to remember regarding examples, however, is that they should never be used as models to be followed in every detail. Instead, they should be used as sources of strategies for how to present your own information most effectively. The most effective formatting for you will likely be distinguishable from the most effective formatting for someone else because your experiences and strengths will be different, and you will thus benefit from formatting adapted specifically to your situation.
How should I construct my work description entries?
Two common strategies that apply to CVs as well as resumes are gapping and parallelism . Gapping is the use of incomplete sentences in order to present your information as clearly and concisely as possibly. For example, instead of writing, "I taught composition for four years, during which time I planned classes and activities, graded papers, and constructed exams. I also met with students regularly for conferences," you might write, "Composition Instructor (2000-2004). Planned course activities. Graded all assignments. Held regular conferences with students." By using incomplete sentences here, you cut out unnecessary words and allow your reader to see quickly what you have been doing.
Parallelism is also very important to a strong CV. Generally, you will want to keep the structure of your phrases and/or sentences consistent throughout your document. Thus, if you use verb phrases in one portion of your CV to describe your duties, try to use them throughout your CV. Particularly within entries, make sure that the structure of your phrases is exactly parallel so that your reader can understand what you are communicating easily.
One distinction between the work description sections of resumes and CVs is that bullets are very commonly used in resumes and tend to appear somewhat less frequently in CVs. Whether or not you use bullets to separate lines in your CV should depend on how the bullets will affect the appearance of your CV. If you have a number of descriptive statements about your work that all run to about a line in length, bullets can be a good way of separating them. If, however, you have a lot of very short phrases, breaking them up into bulleted lists can leave a lot of white space that could be used more efficiently. Remember that the principles guiding any decision you make should be conciseness and ease of readability.
How can I improve my CV?
The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab provides the opportunity to work with one of our graduate instructors in order to get some assistance with your CV, and many other universities offer similar opportunities through their writing centers. Also, consider showing your CV to your dissertation chair in order to get some feedback from him/her. Finally, many departments have job search or job placement committees that provide you with the opportunity to meet with faculty members in your department for extensive editing. If such a resource is available for you, that may be the best source of advice of all.
What other resources are available for help with my curriculum vitae?
There are numerous useful resources, both online and in print. Here are a few.
The Chronicle of Higher Education 's job site features a number of articles that may be helpful to first-time applicants on the job market.
The Curriculum Vitae Handbook by Rebecca Anthony and Gerald Roe (Rudi Publishing: Iowa City, 1994) includes sample CVs for various disciplines and tips for how to write CVs in various contexts.
The Academic Job Search Handbook (3rd Edition), by Mary Morris Heiberger and Julia Miller Vick (who are the authors of the Chronicle 's "CV Doctor" column) also provides sample cover letters and CVs
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A resume is a brief, informative document summarizing your abilities, education, and experience. It should highlight your strongest assets and differentiate you from other candidates.
Used most frequently in academic settings, a CV (curriculum vitae) is also a summary of your experience and abilities, but a CV will include more credentials relevant to academia and research, such as publications, presentations, and references.
Your cover letter is a way to introduce yourself to organizations in a narrative form that will accompany your resume. Use your cover letter to describe your qualifications as well as your interest in both the job and organization so the employer will want to interview you. Since the primary purpose of a resume and cover letter is to “market” you, always keep the organization’s hiring needs in mind.
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Creating an Undergraduate CV
Your curriculum vitae (CV) is a representation of your scholarly identity and trajectory in your field.
A CV is used to apply to research roles or other academic positions. It shows your academic credentials and achievements, experience conducting research in your field, and other experience relevant to the opportunity you’re targeting.
Your goal is to convey your interest in the field, as well as the relevant skills and knowledge that will prepare you to excel in the target opportunity.
When might I use a CV as an undergraduate?
You may be asked for a CV when you’re applying to a research position, to a fellowship, or to graduate school in the sciences. If you’re applying to a research position in industry, pay attention to whether they ask for a resume or a CV in their posting, as they may prefer a resume. In your cover letter, you can let them know that a CV is available upon request.
Many faculty may be happy to receive either a resume or a CV from undergrads looking to conduct research with them. Remember that in this case, whichever document you submit should still be tailored toward research in their field! If you haven’t done research before, convey your interest and preparedness by showing the transferable skills and knowledge you’ve built through your coursework and other experiences.
What should my CV look like as an undergraduate?
Unlike your one-page resume, your undergraduate CV can be two pages.
Sections on a CV
The sections on a CV are designed to feature the experiences that academics (like professors or researchers) acquire over time. As an undergrad, the sections on your CV will depend on the experience you’ve had so far—and the professors or researchers interested in hiring undergrads won’t expect you to have graduate-level experience. So, don’t worry if you don’t have information to go in all of these categories!
Start with these mandatory sections:
Include your name, address, phone number, email address, and professional website or profile (if you have one).
Include the degree-granting institution and school, the degree you’re receiving, your major or concentration, and your expected graduation date. If you’re writing a departmental thesis, include the title and the names of your thesis advisers. You can include relevant coursework, which we generally recommend keeping to two lines of text or less.
If you have additional higher education, you can also include it. If you’ve studied abroad, for instance, you can include the institution name, the month and year range you attended, and relevant coursework you took during this program.
Your CV may include some of the following sections:
Include the name of the lab or department and institution, the position you held, the location, and your dates of involvement. We recommend including a brief description of the project, your role, the primary methods used, and key findings.
This section includes scholarly publications such as journal articles, book chapters, and published conference proceedings.
Format each bibliographic entry according to your discipline’s style guide, with the article or chapter title, journal name, and publication information. Include authors in publication order, bolding your name.
Include publication status if the piece is not yet published—e.g., in preparation, under review, forthcoming. We recommend listing the DOI if the article has been accepted but does not yet have page numbers.
This section showcases scholarly presentations you’ve made, usually at conferences or symposia.
Include the author(s) and title of presentation, the conference or symposium name, and the location and date (or month if a range) of the presentation. Specify the format of the presentation—e.g., poster or oral presentation.
Grants / Awards / Academic Honors
List any academic awards, fellowships, grants, or funding received. In each entry, include the award name, award-granting institution, and year of the award.
If the nature of the award will not be clear based on the award name, you can briefly clarify parenthetically.
Include the name of the course and institution, the position you held (e.g., Teaching Assistant, Instructor of Record), the location, and month-year range of the teaching engagement. We encourge you to include a brief description of your role.
Additional Professional Experience
On a CV, you may include recent professional experience that is pertinent to your scholarly trajectory. You can title this section by the job area if helpful—e.g., Additional Engineering Experience, Editorial Experience, Museum Experience.
Include the name of the organization, your job title, and the location and month-year range of the experience. You can include a brief description of your role and accomplishments to highlight relevant transferable skills.
Leadership / Activities / Service / Volunteer Work
Include the organization, your position title, the location, and dates of your involvement. You can include a brief description of your role and accomplishments.
Professional Memberships or Affiliations
List any memberships you maintain to professional organizations in your field. Many scholarly associations have low-cost student memberships.
Include any relevant certifications or licensures you hold.
Create categories for your skills, such as languages, technical or computer (software, hardware, coding languages), laboratory, machining, and design. In each category, list the relevant items—e.g., language names, tools, programs. For languages, we recommend indicating your proficiency level. Keep each category to 3 lines maximum.
This includes a list of relevant references, including their name, title, institution, and contact information (phone and/or email).
How should I format my CV?
CVs typically have a much simpler format than resumes. You’ll left-justify the content, use one-inch margins all around, and a size 11 or 12 font. Use bold and italics sparingly, and avoid extra design elements. Include a right-justified header includes your last name and page numbers (#/#).
How should I describe my experiences on my CV?
Typically, undergraduate CVs include short descriptions of your experience that focus on field-related content such as a description of the research project and the methods you used. Remember, your reader is likely another scholar in your discipline who will be able to interpret this technical language. It is more common to display these descriptions in paragraph form, but some people prefer bullet points for clarity.
Learning About CV Conventions in Your Field
Many professors, postdocs, and graduate students post their CVs on their departmental or lab website. Their CVs will be a lot longer than yours—some professors’ CVs run up to 15 pages. You may notice that faculty CVs will be, in most cases, less detailed than your undergraduate one, with fewer descriptions: they may be serving as records of research and teaching conducted, rather than job-search documents. Nevertheless, these CVs can help you understand trends and conventions in your discipline.
Can I see what a CV might look like?
Sure! We’ve created a couple of sample undergraduate CVs for your reference.
- Sample Undergraduate Science CV
- Sample Undergraduate Humanities / Social Science CV
Where can I get feedback on my CV?
You can get feedback on your CV from your previous research mentors (faculty, postdocs, grad students), instructors of relevant courses you’ve taken, career counselors , fellowship advisers , or writing consultants .
We recommend always seeking feedback from mentors in your field, as they will be able to offer discipline-specific insights and tips.
Finding an Undergraduate Research Position
Getting research experience during your time as an undergraduate can aid in your pursuit for graduate school or certain career opportunities. There are many opportunities available to conduct research alongside faculty at Columbia or other universities and research institutes.
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- Academic CV Template + Examples, Best Format, & Tips
Academic CV Template + Examples, Best Format, & Tips
As seen in:
The most critical part of any academic application process is writing an academic curriculum vitae that highlights relevant achievements and shows that you’d be an asset to the educational institution you’re looking to join.
The good news? You’re about to write an academic CV your peers will use to teach students how it’s done.
In this guide, I’m going to show you:
- A proven academic CV template better than 9 out of 10 other academic CVs.
- How to structure your academic CV to show off your most relevant achievements.
- Tips on how to format your CV to match selection committees’ requirements.
- Academic CV examples that will dazzle every selection committee.
Want to save time and have your academic CV ready in a flash? Try our CV builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Just type up the contents. Our builder will make sure your CV looks great. See 20+ templates and create your CV here .
Academic CV sample made with our builder— See more CV examples here .
What Is an Academic CV?
An academic CV is a synopsis of your educational background, professional appointments, research and teaching experience, publications, grants, awards, fellowships, and other key achievements. CVs are widely used by researchers and scholars when applying for academic, scientific, or research jobs.
Let’s make one thing clear. Your academic CV is not a resume you’d use to apply for a job outside of academia. As its aim is to demonstrate your academic experience and achievements, it consists of several additional sections.
2. What's Included in an Academic CV Template?
A good academic CV template should include the following sections, from top to bottom:
- Contact Information
- Research Objective or Personal Profile
- Professional Appointments
- Awards and Honors
- Grants and Fellowships
- Teaching Experience
- Research Experience
- Additional Activities
- Languages and Skills
What if you’re at an early stage of your academic career and, for instance, have no teaching experience or fellowships to showcase yet?
Just skip these sections that are not applicable for your CV. Include the remaining ones in the order listed above.
If you’re applying for a scholarship and have been explicitly asked to submit an academic resume , don’t submit a lengthy academic CV, but a shorter document. Want to learn how to write one? Have a look at our guide: Scholarship Resume (Template & Complete Guide 20+ Examples) .
You might have noted that, all over the Internet, there are thousands of recommended academic CV formats with differently ordered sections. Why is the one suggested above the best of them? Because it focuses on what’s most prestigious and competitive. It helps you validate your worth as an academic candidate in a flash.
Here’s some food for thought: many applicants choose to put their Teaching and Research Experience sections above Professional Appointments and Publications, but it really makes little sense. Why? Because getting a regular academic contract or getting published in a peer-reviewed journal is harder to achieve and more competitive than just teaching or doing research.
Pro Tip : There’s no page-count limit for a CV for an academic. Make it as long as it needs to be to show your whole career path. Even if it means double-digit page count.
Alright, so you’ve seen the full checklist of all the necessary sections for your CV . Now, let’s break down how to structure the content of each section to best highlight your accomplishments and skills.
Read more: What is a CV? What Does "CV" Mean?
1. Contact Information
Pretty obvious, right? The header of your academic curriculum vitae has to include your full contact information.
In the contact information section, enter your:
- Professional title and affiliation,
- Institutional address,
- Your home address,
- Telephone number,
- LinkedIn profile (optional) .
Pro Tip : When writing an academic CV for humanities, the common practice is to put the words “Curriculum Vitae” below your full name.
In technical or business academic fields, adding a link to your LinkedIn profile in your contact information section is strongly recommended.
Whether or not you include your LinkedIn profile, expect the selection committee to thoroughly research your online presence. Want to know how to make sure they’re going to like what they see? Check out our guide: How to Check Your Online Presence Before Recruiters Look You Up
2. Research Objective or Personal Profile
What’s the difference between these two?
Research objective on a CV for academic purposes is a brief, concise paragraph in which you outline your research plans.
A personal profile gives a summary of your academic background and your best achievements.
And which one to choose?
Go for research objective if you’re writing an academic research CV. For instance, if you’re applying for graduate research programs or for a research grant. True, you’ve already discussed them at length in a separate document describing your research goals—but you still need to reiterate them on your academic curriculum vitae.
Because, more often than not, selection committees look at your academic CV before they start reviewing other application documents. If your CV begins with a research objective, it’s a surefire way to immediately catch the selection committee’s attention—to make them eager to read on and learn more about your career background.
How to write it? Have a look.
Here’s a sample research academic CV objective:
Academic CV Example—Research Objective
MA student in Journalism and Social Communication at Anytown University, made the Dean’s List for three consecutive years, seeking to leverage two study abroad experiences and a semester-long research internship to undertake postgraduate research regarding the evolution of socialist mass-media in mid-twentieth-century Eastern Europe.
Wow, right? That’s one hell of a PhD CV objective.
Looking for a permanent academic contract? In your academic lecturer CV, put a personal profile below your contact information.
Just like your academic CV research objective is a synopsis of your full research objective, an academic CV personal profile should summarize your personal statement.
See this example of an academic CV personal profile:
Sample Academic CV Personal Profile
Proactive lecturer and researcher with 10+ years of experience teaching courses on undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Supervised 22 BA theses, 9 MA theses, and 2 PhD dissertations. Edited and co-authored 3 monographs on contemporary trends in psychology and psychoanalysis. Published over 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
What makes this example so great?
Above all, that it’s super specific. It includes proof of this candidate’s academic prowess and a lot of verifiable achievements.
When making a CV in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a professional CV template here for free .
When you’re done, Zety’s CV maker will score your CV and tell you exactly how to make it better.
Right, so you’ve started your academic curriculum vitae with a bang. The decision makers are hooked.
If you’re targeting an academic post, this section is the meat and potatoes of your CV.
Here’s how to turn it into châteaubriand with dauphinoise :
List all your postsecondary degrees in reverse chronological order. Start with the most recent one, follow it with the previous one, and then the one before it.
- Year of completion or expected completion (no starting dates)
- Degree type
- Your minors, if applicable
- Your department and institution
- Your honors
- Dissertation/Thesis Title and Advisor
Pro Tip : Don’t spell out “Doctor of Philosophy” or “Master of Arts.” It makes you come across pretentious. You can choose to omit the full stops in “Ph.D.” or “M.A.” Just remember to be consistent throughout your CV.
See a properly written sample academic curriculum vitae education section:
Education on an Academic CV—Example
2017 MA in French
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL Graduated summa cum laude
Thesis title: “The Lesbianism of Marcel Proust: An Analysis of the Traits of Female Queer Culture in In Search of Lost Time”
Thesis supervisor: Professor George Swan
Want to learn more about the reverse chronological format of a CV or resume? See our dedicated guide: Chronological Resume Template & 20+ Examples [Complete Guide]
That’s how it’s done. Now, for the next section.
4. Professional Appointments
If you’ve already had these, put them right below your education section.
That way, the selection committee members will immediately know what institutions you’ve cooperated with so far. It’s pretty important in the academia, right?
In your professional appointments section, include:
- Your position
- Your institution
- Dates worked
- Brief description of your responsibilities
Contrary to what the above list might suggest, try to avoid using bullet points on an academic curriculum vitae. I can’t stress it enough: it’s not a resume!
Take a look at this example of an academic CV Professional appointments section.
Sample Academic CV: Professional Appointments Section
Douglas Kelly Professor of Art History
University of Wisconsin, 2012-2017
Taught a total of 18 undergraduate and 9 postgraduate courses, mainly focused on contemporary conceptual art, as well as photography, and performance. Supervised 12 MA theses. Member of the Postgraduate Studies Board from 2014 to 2017.
Note, in the professional appointments section on your postdoc academic CV, include only contracted academic positions.
If you’ve got no such posts under your belt, don’t list part-time university gigs, or T.A. positions in this section. Let’s face it, these are not mightily impressive—every PhD-level scholar has had them, right?
Instead, follow with…
Divide them into two sections: Peer-reviewed Publications and Other Publications. List the former first—a no-brainer, isn’t it?
Then, divide your peer-reviewed publications into further subcategories in the following order:
- Book chapters
- Peer-reviewed journal articles
- Contributions to edited volumes equivalent to peer-reviewed journals
All other publications go into, well… “Other Publications” section.
Pro Tip : When listing your publications , choose one bibliography style ( MLA, APA or Chicago ) and stick to it throughout your academic CV. Not sure which one to choose? Check the website of the institution you’re applying to and see what citation style they use.
6. Awards and Honors
This is where you can show off your trophy case.
List all awards and honors you’ve received in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the award, the year when you got it and the institution that presented you with it.
Writing how much $$$ exactly you received is optional. The rule of thumb is: if you’re in arts or humanities, don’t include it. For business or scientific CVs, it’s more common.
7. Grants and Fellowships
Why is this section important?
Because it proves that your research so far has been innovative and valuable enough to attract funding. It's particularly important nowadays, due to the planned cuts in federal science funding .
As with awards and honors, list your grants and fellowships chronologically descending. Enter the year span and the funding institution’s name. Again—disclosing the exact amount of funding you received is field-specific.
Divide this section into three subsections:
- Invited talks—those you presented at other institutions
- Campus talks—those that you did at your institution’s campus
- Conference participation—conferences you participated in but gave no lecture
9. Teaching Experience
This one’s a bit tricky, because it’s not synonymous with “Professional Appointments” section I’ve discussed above.
In the Teaching Experience section on your academic curriculum vitae, include the TA courses you’ve taught. List all the courses taught if you’ve had less than 10 of these.
But if you’re an experienced scholar and your academic CV Appointments section truly shines, feel free to only list the institutions in which you’ve been a Teaching Assistant along with the dates you TAed.
Targeting a teacher’s career? You’ll need a perfect resume. For some great teacher resume examples, see our guides: Teacher Resume: Sample & Complete Guide [20+ Examples] or Teaching Assistant Resume: Sample and Complete Guide [20+ Examples]
10. Research Experience
This is where you list all your academic research posts. As per usual—enter them in reverse chronological order.
If you’re experienced—limit your research or lab positions to the following:
- Full-time Researcher
- Research Associate
- Research Assistant
Little research experience? On an academic CV for masters application, or other academic CV for graduate student, list even the smallest research projects in which you’ve participated .
11. Additional Activities
Everything that doesn’t fit into the above sections goes here.
What do I mean by this?
Have a look at some examples of academic CV additional activities entries:
- Non-academic jobs
- Extracurricular university activities
- Service to profession
- Media coverage
Pro Tip : If your academic CV is particularly extensive (above 8 pages), you don’t have to list any of the above activities. Do so only if they’re really breathtakingly impressive.
12. Languages and Skills
Pretty straightforward, right?
List all the languages you know well enough to read academic texts in them. Indicate your level of proficiency using the following phrases:
- Fully proficient
- Can read with a dictionary
Any language of which you only have some very basic understanding is left off.
Putting skills on an academic CV is optional. It might come across as unprofessional. In general, do it only if you’re in a technical or scientific field.
The final section of a well-organized academic CV template is the References.
List your references vertically. Include:
- Full name and title
- Traditional mail address
- Telephone number
- Email address
Yup, you have to include the snail mail address, although, let’s face it, nobody will ever use it. It’s just one of those peculiarities of academic praxis.
Don’t add any narrative to your references, unless you’re creating an academic curriculum vitae for an undergrad student. If so—give a brief explanation of your academic relationship with a given reference.
And there you have it! A complete academic CV template.
But hold up a sec. Before you start writing yours, check out some general academic CV tips on formatting.
And yes, this matters a lot . Academic decision makers can be very picky when it comes to seemingly unimportant details.
How to Format an Academic CV?
Think about this: academic selection committees have to review thousands of applications for each post, scholarship, or grant they’re offering. Whether you’re writing an academic CV for graduate school, an academic research CV, or even applying for college, you’ll be facing a lot of competition.
What does it mean for you? That you need to choose a clear, legible academic CV design . One that’ll make all the key details information about your career easy to skim for the decision makers.
Here’s how to create a professional academic CV format:
1. Use one inch margins for all four sides of your CV
That way, your CV will look good once it’s printed on white paper.
2. Be consistent with your font
- Choose one font type and size and stick to it throughout your CV. Go for 11 or 12pt. Use 14 to 16 pt for your name at the top and bold for section headings.
- Use standard fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman.
- Avoid italics of any kind except for journal or book titles (dear Brits, this is about you).
For more on picking a great font for every application document you write, check out our piece: What is the Best Font for a Resume (+10 Examples & Tips)
3. Put double blank line before all headings and one blank line after them.
White space is good for readers. It guides their eyes to all the important parts.
4. Make your CV as long as it needs to be
An academic CV is not a resume. It doesn’t have a page-count limit. It’s supposed to show the detailed course of your academic career.
5. Save your academic CV in PDF
PDF files keep your formatting intact. A word academic CV could look differently on various devices, depending on the software version.
For more, see: Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format and How to Write a Curriculum Vitae for a Job
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
See more cover letter templates and start writing.
Writing an academic CV doesn't need to be difficult if you follow this general guidance:
- Struggling to put your academic curriculum vitae sections in the right order? Your most competitive and prestigious achievements should always go first.
- Start with a brief research objective or a personal profile that shows what your academic career has been about.
- Don’t use bullet points and don’t over-explain your academic experience. Be concise and to-the-point.
- Use a good academic CV format—make your CV legible, clear, and elegant.
All check? Good luck with your application (though you won’t really need it)!
Do you have any questions on how to make an academic CV that gets you that dream post? Want to share your experiences with writing a CV for academic posts? Give us a shout in the comments and we’ll answer your queries!
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Write an academic CV
This section outlines key points to remember when preparing a CV and covering letter and highlights how to present your education and experience for academic jobs in teaching and research.
When you write your CV and cover letter you will face lots of choices about what material to include and how to present it. You need to use your judgement to make decisions which will demonstrate your experience most effectively.
An academic CV can be longer than the two pages which is standard in other sectors but it should still contain the most important information at the start.
If the application is for a research only position then you should emphasise your research experience, publications, contributions at conferences, research funding you have won and any relevant technical skills.
If it is for a research and teaching position (lectureship) then you should also give details of any teaching and tutoring experience.
The headings below describe the typical content of an academic CV.
your PhD, first degree and Masters, if you have one
probably no need to list school qualifications, but if you do, put those that counted for entry to higher education only
for your PhD you should summarise your research to date, include the names of your supervisor(s) and details of any funding obtained. If you have a viva date or target submission date note that
title, grade achieved, and dissertation title is usually enough for Masters and first degrees
give more detail about courses you have taken if they demonstrate a wider subject knowledge that could be of use if applying for a teaching post
if you are including this section you can choose to give full details of your PhD research here, and only dates, title and supervisors under the education section
include any research experience in addition to your PhD, such as research assistant or technician roles
give details of the subject area if relevant, and your methodology and technical skills
mention any funding obtained, and your supervisor or research leader
provide details of any tutoring, demonstrating or lecturing
mention courses taught and level, e.g. Sociology 1 or Cell Biology 2
show involvement with developing courses, marking and assessment
for a teaching application, you could include your teaching methods and philosophy, and any feedback received
invited or guest lectures could be included
The focus should be on your research and / or teaching experience but you can also include briefly other work that can:
demonstrate the skills being sought for the job
show you can successfully manage work and study
fill any chronological gaps in your history
demonstrate that you will be a supportive colleague, willing to make a contribution to the administrative work of the department
list any administrative experience you have such as helping to organise a seminar programme or conference or committee membership
Publications and presentations
Published, peer-reviewed publications or monographs will often hold the most weight but early on in your career you will mention other things to illustrate your research activity and impact.
contributions to books
can include those accepted for publication but not yet published
if this section is a bit slim you could include submitted articles to show your intention to publish
inclusion in conference proceedings
presentations or posters at conferences -mention if these have been invited presentations
Interests / other activities
This section is not essential in an academic CV but could be used to include:
positions of responsibility that demonstrate some of the skills the employer is looking for that have not been covered elsewhere
hobbies and interests that say a bit about you, but only very brief details
when applying for advertised jobs, you will usually be expected to provide full contact details (name, relationship to you, address, e-mail and telephone) for 2 - 3 referees at least one of whom will be your PhD supervisor
think carefully about who you ask to act as a referee. It can be useful to have someone who is well-known in your academic field but only if they know you well and can comment positively on your abilities
make sure you brief your referees well on what you are applying for and give them an up-to-date copy of your CV to ensure they are aware of all the contributions you have made to your department / research area
Watch our Quick Guide to academic CVs which covers the basics of what to include in an academic CV:
In recent years, some research-funding applications have required submission of a CV in the narrative format. Read more in the Narrative CVs for research and innovation blog from our Research Office, which includes a link to the Resume for Researchers template developed by the Royal Society. Also, the Institute for Academic Development offers helpful information on narrative CVs and what steps to take to create your own.
Narrative CVs for research and innovation
Narrative CVs - Institute of Academic Development
The covering or supporting letter
This is your opportunity to show your motivation for the position and demonstrate that you meet the person specification for the job. For academic jobs a covering letter may be longer than one page and should if at all possible be addressed to a named person rather than ‘Dear sir or madam’. You should use your covering letter to address:
why you are interested in this institution and department or research group - they want to know that you are genuinely interested in working for them and are knowledgeable about the teaching (if relevant) and research interests of staff within the department
why you are interested in this position and how it fits in with your career plans
what you have to offer in terms of research and / or teaching experience, qualifications and skills - use good examples to back this up
your ideas for the future in terms of research direction, and your potential to attract funding and publish - particularly important for research-only jobs or teaching jobs at research-intensive universities
You don’t need to repeat your CV, but you should draw attention to key points to encourage the employer to read it.
Using generative AI to create your CV or cover letter
Technologies such as ChatGPT can provide a reasonable basic structure for you to build upon, but what they give you is unlikely to be tailored convincingly and will be bland and generic, and unlikely to impress employers. Use them as a support and starting point if you like - but edit their product to make the end result your own.
Remember these points:
- adapt the content generated, to make it more closely related to you -otherwise it will lack impact
- be cautious about submitting any personal data, as whatever you put in could be in the public domain
- you may be risking plagiarism, as these systems incorporate, in their output, content produced by other people without acknowledging or referencing them
The Bayes Centre at the University has produced general guidance on the use of AI .
AI guidance for staff and students - Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh
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How to write your degree on your CV
You’ve quite literally dedicated years of your life to your university degree, so you understandably want to do this justice on your CV.
However, knowing the best ways to present your degree on your CV, how much detail to include and where to position this information isn’t always second nature, particularly if you’re new to the world of work.
So, if you’re looking for the best way to showcase your degree and impress recruiters, this guide is for you. Below, we’re going to share with you some proven and effective ways to write your degree into your CV.
Add your degree after your name
One of the simplest ways to include your degree on your CV and to let the recruiter know right away that you’re qualified is to add your degree after your name.
But of course, you don’t want this to take up a lot of room or to look too ‘clunky’, which is where standardised abbreviations come in.
In the UK , there are several types of degrees you can study, and therefore you need a way to demonstrate and differentiate these. The standardised abbreviations are:
- Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Master of Arts (MA)
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Medical Degree (MD)
- Bachelor of Science Honours (BSc (Hons))
- Bachelor of Science (BSc)
- Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA (Hons))
- Bachelor of Arts (BA)
- Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
To add these to your CV, simply put your name at the top as you normally would, followed by a comma and your relevant abbreviation, for example, Joe Smith, PhD.
If you’ve got multiple credentials that you need to add, you should do the same but list these in ascending order, for example, Joe Smith, MSc, PhD.
Where to include your degree on CV
As well as putting your qualification next to your name at the top of your CV, there are a number of other places you can highlight this.
You can mention this in your personal profile , stating your course name and given grade if you’ve already graduated.
But perhaps most importantly, you need to include your degree in your education section . This is an essential part of your CV as it is a formal summary of your qualifications. In this section, you will list your qualifications in reverse chronological order, so your degree will come first. You should include the name of your course/degree, followed by the university you study or studied at, and the dates you attend(ed).
The other details will depend on whether you’ve already graduated or you’re still studying.
If you’re still a student and you haven’t got a grade behind you yet, there are several ways you can support this section. Instead of including a final grade, you can include the degree you are studying for, to show you are working towards it
You could also include details of any exams you have taken and how you scored on these and possibly even your predicted grade if you know it.
If you’re a more experienced candidate, you might prefer to save space on your CV to discuss your career history, but your degree could still be very attractive to employers, so don’t forget to include it.
You could add your degree initials next to your name and mention it briefly in your education and CV profile
Where to put your education on your CV
Something else that you have to consider when writing your CV is how you’re going to structure it. There are a number of different ways you can do this depending on the role you’re applying for; for example, is it an academic role, a graduate role, etc.?
However, there is a standard structure (also known as a chronological CV) that most job hunters tend to use, and this goes as follows:
- Header – containing your name (and possibly credentials) and contact information
- Personal profile
- Core skills
- Work experience/employment history
- Hobbies and interests – optional
Here, you can see your education section is placed towards the bottom of your CV.
However, if you’re a student or fresh graduate with no experience you might wish to prioritise your degree by putting your education section above your employment history.
This might also be the case if you’re applying for a graduate role or if the employer has placed importance on education over experience in the job description.
How to write first-class honours degree on cv
If you’ve achieved a first-class honours degree, you should be very proud of yourself, and you need to make sure you shout about this throughout your CV.
When adding this to your personal profile, you might wish to abbreviate your credentials to ‘1st’ or simply leave it as ‘first class’ – ultimately, it’s up to you which you prefer.
So, for example, you might write
‘I am a talented marketing professional with a first-class honours degree in Digital Marketing’.
Alternatively, you could choose to write:
‘I am a skilled tradesman who achieved a 1st class honours degree in Welding Engineering’
When it comes to including your degree in your educations section, the same rules apply. However, if you’re looking to save space at all costs, you might prefer to use the abbreviation of 1st – after all, every little helps.
How to include an unfinished degree on your CV
How to write 2:1 degree on CV
If you achieved a 2:1, this is also great news, and there are multiple ways you might wish to show this on your CV. Although 2:1 is the most common way of writing your degree, 2.1 is also an acceptable version in the UK.
“Junior designer with 2:1 degree in Graphic Design from the University of Brighton”
These two (1st and 2:1) are both classed as upper-division honours degrees. If your grade was lower than this, you might wish to simply characterise this by your degree type and name rather than including the lower grade.
For example, you can open your profile by saying, ‘I am a Graphic Designer with a degree in Design Studies, ’ avoiding giving an actual grade.
In conclusion, whether you’re still studying, you’re a recent graduate, or you’ve been a part of the workforce for several years now, highlighting your degree on your CV is so important. Using our tips and advice above, you can carefully write your degree into your CV to show your passion for your industry and that you’re qualified for the role.
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How to write a CV
A good CV should:
- Be factual and accurate.
- Be targeted to the job you're applying for.
- Be short - ideally no more than 2 pages/sides of A4.
- Convey an impression of what you'd be like as an employee.
- Be easy to read, engaging and look professional.
What to include in a CV
You should include:
- Your mobile telephone number, address – first part of your postcode or town / city (don’t provide your whole address for data protection reasons) and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile also provide your URL.
- Your education and qualifications from school, college, university or vocational.
- Your work experience (paid or unpaid), with responsibilities and achievements developed in these posts.
- Your key or transferable skills.
- Any additional relevant skills, such as language skills or specific IT skills.
- It’s also useful to include a ‘personal profile’ or short paragraph highlighting your key skills and career aims to catch the eye of your potential employer.
You don’t need to include:
- Your marital status.
- Your health status.
- Your nationality.
- Your full address details (especially if your CV is publicly accessible for example on job boards).
- School and university addresses, or examining boards.
- Minor qualifications unrelated to the post applied for.
Choose the right type of CV
How you present your skills, achievements and ambitions in a CV (curriculum vitae) are key so it’s important to choose the right format for the job you're applying for and your circumstances.
There are 2 main types of CV:
- A chronological (or traditional) CV, and
- A skills-based (or functional) CV.
Other types of CV include:
- First job - non graduate CV.
- First job - graduate CV, and
- Unemployed CV.
This type of CV lists your details, under appropriate headings, starting with the most recent.
This format of CV can suit best if you…
- Have experience and skills that closely relate to the job you're applying for.
- Want to emphasise career progression.
- Have had mainly continuous employment with no gaps.
- If you want to use this format and have gaps in your work history, give an appropriate reason for them, such as bringing up a family.
Skills-based or functional CV
This type of CV emphasises your skills and personal qualities rather than your employment history.
This format can suit best if you…
- Are changing career and want to show employers how transferable skills gained in other types of employment will be relevant for the post.
- Have extensive gaps in your employment history, because they are not as prominent as they would be in a date-listed order in a chronological CV. Be prepared though to explain any gaps at interview.
- Have had a series of short term paid or voluntary roles; this format enables you to group together related skills and achievements gained from these.
Other types of CV
While a skills-based CV or chronological CV will be appropriate for many jobs and circumstance, there may be some sectors and jobs where you want to use a combination of these formats or has different requirements.
A hybrid CV is a mix of the chronological and the skills-based/functional CVs. It sticks to the more conventional order of the former but combines an ordered layout with more emphasis on achievements and skills found in the skills-based, rather than on responsibilities.
The hybrid CV can be a good option if you want to draw attention to specific skills or achievements that would help you stand out as a candidate.
Mostly needed for IT roles, the technical CV provides a format for highlighting specific technical skills relevant to the role (eg programming languages, systems, platforms) alongside the all-important ‘softer skills’ that all employers are looking for.
Creative industries CV
With the expansion of digital and creative industries over recent years, CV formats have become more imaginative in these sectors. A highly creative CV format can be suitable for some roles in creative and artistic sectors such as marketing, design or journalism where it could help you stand out from the crowd. In its presentation, it can demonstrate your design skills and creativity in a way that a potential employer can see and feel. Infographics are a popular tool for taking large amounts of information and presenting them in a visually engaging way.
Many employers will be looking to assess your creativity through your portfolio, often at interview stage. However, if practical, you can put elements of your portfolio onto a website and include the web address in your CV. If you do this, make sure your work is structured and indexed, well photographed and highlights the range of your work which is relevant to the role.
However creatively you plan to present your CV, remember that employers will still need to see, at a glance, that you have the criteria they're looking for. Presentation must be balanced with the essential requirement of providing relevant evidence targeted to the role and the employer.
If the career gap you are concerned about was a very long time ago, say 10-15 years, there is no need to for you to worry. The chances are the employer won’t even think about it. Similarly, if the gap is a matter of a few months rather than years, don’t lose sleep over it. The easiest way to avoid these sorts of gaps gaping out at the employer is to only give the years for your employment rather than the months. For example, you could say 2004 – 2012 (rather than May 2004 – February 2012) which would give you some room to cover the gaps.
No matter how negative you think the reasons are for any gaps in employment, it really is essential that you do not try to hide them by extending the length of time spent in other positions. A lot of jobseekers have a tendency to do this “It’s just a couple of years, no one will know”. Employers are more than likely going to take up references from your previous employers and will be able to find out straight away whether or not you have been dishonest.
Some gaps in your work history are easier to explain than others and the key is really to try and make it sound as positive as possible. Always try to focus on positive points from your career gap, experiences you have gained or the new skills you have learnt. Try to use the gap to your advantage. For instance, if you went travelling to India during your gap year at University, you could say that the experience developed your budgeting skills, independence and awareness of different cultures. Now if you were applying for a job that involves working with people from different ethnic backgrounds, this would be a very useful attribute to highlight on your CV.
If the gap in your career was due to you doing some voluntary work, make sure you mention this. Working voluntarily at your local youth club or community centre is a great way to showcase what you have been doing whilst you have been out of work. The experience and skills you acquire will definitely be seen as transferable to employed situations, and it will also demonstrate to employers that you are enthusiastic and willing to invest your own time in making a positive contribution to help others and to help yourself.
Another good example to use is self-employment. If you tried starting up your own business, you can then say that you now have experience of being your own boss. You could point out all the new skills you have gained from sales to budgeting and from marketing to hiring and firing assuming that you had people working for you. Even if the business venture wasn’t successful (don’t mention this negative aspect on your CV) at least you can take a lot of positives from your career gap.
Caring for a family member
The good thing about disclosing the reasons behind a career gap are that you are under no obligation to reveal everything. It is always easier to explain gaps in detail later in interview situations rather than on your CV. Sometimes the bare minimum is sufficient but that’s only true if the reasons you have given are satisfactory and positive. For example:
“A family member was ill and I was responsible for caring for them. Once they recovered I was able to start looking for work.”
This gets straight to the point and thus prevents employers from making both negative and instinctive conclusions about the gap. Not only have you explained what you were doing but you’ve provided reassurance to potential employers that the issue is now completely resolved and that you are fit for work.
CVs for different scenarios
You may have gaps in your employment history or have information you need to disclose to a prospective employer. These example CVs can provide some tips and advice on how to explain these scenarios.
If you have a gap in your career history
If you have a criminal record
If you have a disability
Key steps for creating a CV
Aim to create a ‘master’ CV (curriculum vitae) which includes a range of skills, qualities and achievements which you can then tailor and adapt to specific vacancies you're applying for.
A seven-point plan to prepare a winning CV
1. Gather information
Gather together the core information that you’ll need to populate your CV: dates of study and your qualifications, dates of employment, voluntary work and your core contact details.
Choose the most appropriate format of CV for the job you're applying for or your circumstance.
3. Draft a Personal Profile (or Career Summary)
This section is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It’s where you give an overview of who you are and inject a touch of personality. Tailor it to every job you apply for, highlighting specific qualities that match you to the role. Aim to keep your personal statement short and sweet, and no longer than a few sentences. Write in the third person, for example, ‘A natural sciences graduate, with over 10 years’ experience in the environmental conservation sector…’ instead of ‘I am a natural sciences graduate’.
To make the most of this section, you should try to address the following:
Your key strengths and attributes.
A summary of your experience and brief details of achievements or results relevant to the role.
Your career goals.
4. Use clear and positive language
Avoid general phrases and clichés such as ‘I work well as part of a team and on my own initiative’. Incorporate key words and phrases that appear in the job specification.
5. Be concise
Organise the content so your CV is no more than two sides of A4. Try to include a brief ‘Personal Profile’ at the start, and make sure your relevant experience and qualifications are prominent. Highlight key information with headings and bullet points. Minimum font size would be Arial 10, Calibri 11 or similar. Sans-serif fonts are easier on the eye.
6. Review and check your CV
Have you given enough prominence to the experience or qualifications that the potential employer is looking for? As a rule the first two thirds of the front page should show how you meet their needs. Check it for accuracy, grammar and spelling. Ask someone who knows you to look over this to review it. If you know someone who works in the same sector, their views could be really valuable.
7. Tailor your content for each job application
Draw on your most relevant skills or experience, giving brief and specific examples that demonstrate your qualities and achievements. Identify how your contribution made a difference and what added value it offered. As a general rule, if the information is not relevant to the needs of the employer as specified in the person specification then do not include it in your application. This is not the entire story of your life, just the parts that are relevant to that employer.
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How to Write a CV: The Key Details
How to write a cv template, how to write a professional cv: the best tips, how to write a cv for a job application: examples of biggest mistakes, frequently asked questions, final thoughts, how to write a professional cv: 2023 examples and helpful tips.
Updated November 22, 2023
A CV (sometimes known as a resume ) is short for ‘curriculum vitae’, which is the Latin for ‘course of life’.
It summarises your work history, education and interests, all of which are helpful for future employers when they are looking to recruit.
Many job descriptions will require you to send a CV and cover letter to state your interest for the role – so you want to be sure to write these to match that specific job advert as closely as possible.
Of course, you can have a ‘master CV’ which you can then edit for each particular job, so you don’t have to start from scratch each time.
If you do this, then make sure to regularly update your master CV (even when you’re not actively applying for jobs) so that you don’t forget achievements. Keeping your CV up-to-date should be something you do every few months.
This article goes over the key information you want to include in your CV as well as key tips on what not to do if you want to impress. Employers may ask for an online application form to be filled out as well as a CV, and some of the information here can be applied to both.
Remember, to get to the interview stage, you want to have the strongest CV you can.
In every CV, the key details to include are:
Your name and contact information – Use your personal email address, not the work or university one that you were assigned, as this way you’ll keep better track of applications. Try and be sure that your email address sounds professional too. Use SandraWM[email protected] rather than [email protected] , for example.
Your skills and experience that are potentially work relevant.
Your education/professional summary – The depth of these will vary based on whether you’re applying for your first job or if you’re further along in your career. This will also depend on whether you have a lot of academic qualifications or not. It’s important to note also that education as a section should include any training or relevant courses you have – so it’s not just about your ‘university degree’.
Personal statement – This is a newer, stylistic addition to the CV world and is generally a short, four-to-six sentence statement that says who you are, covers your top skills and your aspirations for your career.
In addition to the above key details, your CV may have a section for:
Hobbies and interests – Especially if they refer to transferable or soft skills. This section is particularly important if you’re just starting out and don’t have much work history.
Personal achievements and awards – The more impressive, the better.
Academic work/portfolio – You can link to your online portfolio here – for example, if you’re a designer and have a website. If you are adding these links or LinkedIn profiles, be sure they are up to date and that you have optimised them, using all the available features. For example, on LinkedIn, asking people for testimonials can be very powerful.
Typically in the UK, photos are not included in CVs or cover letters . It’s a fairly dated procedure and can lead to unintended biases.
Unless the employer specifically asks for a photo – or it is highly relevant to your line of work, such as acting, you don’t need to include a photo.
In addition, these days, references aren’t usually included in a CV. You can always include a line about providing references if needed, but the employer is likely to ask for them regardless as you move along the recruitment process.
How to Format Your CV: Examples
Here are some examples of how to present or format your information. There are also several templates you can use in most word-processing software packages, or you can download more stylish ones if the look is important to you.
Another option is to hire a professional CV writer .
How to Write a CV Examples: Your Name and Contact Information
Gina Patel [email protected] +44 7786 456 764
Keep your name and contact info up top and make it as clear as possible. You may want to enter your home town or address – but this isn’t the norm any longer.
How to Write a CV Examples: Your Skills and Experience
Skills Experience ★ First Aid and Lifeguarding ★ Adept at Excel and SPSS ★ Presentation skills and PowerPoint knowledge ★ Customer Service Specialist< ★ Office Management – Lakers Dental Surgery – 2023 ★ Intern at local – Redhouse Dental Hospital – 2021–2023 ★ Front of House – Anoma Hotel – 2020
In this example, the applicant has a breadth of experience, not just dental, which is fine to include.
This is because having customer service experience in a hotel might lead to the development of soft skills, which can then also be used in a medical setting.
So even if you’re applying for a job with a dentistry CV , you can refer to other types of skills and experience.
How to Write a CV Examples: Your Education/Professional Summary
Appleton University – Master’s Diploma in Hygiene Studies (2021) Appleton University – BA (Hons) Biomedical Sciences (2020) Dockside School – 9 GCSEs (2015) and 3 A-levels (2017)
You don’t need to break down all your secondary school subjects unless your CV is very short and needs to be expanded upon.
You can also add any academic awards or scholarships in this section.
How to Write a CV Examples: Personal Statement
Creative photographer with an eye for detail and a flair for the dramatic. Over 10 years of experience capturing the essence of actors and creating their head-shots. Winner of Statesman Talent award (2020). Now seeking opportunities to expand more into commercial, runway and modelling photography.
Your personal statement should give a taste of your personality if you are applying for a job where your individuality matters.
If on the other hand, you are writing an investment banker CV , then perhaps you would keep it cleaner and leaner.
As well as the above sections, you might want to add the more optional ones. These include hobbies/interests, personal achievements and awards, as well as adding academic work or a portfolio.
How to Write a CV Sample: Hobbies and Interests
Modelling clay figurines – Growing my fine motor skills and creativity Running marathons – Completed London 2018 and training for New York Organising a book club – Building my soft skills and engaging young people
You want to try and connect your interests to your job application.
For example, if the role includes working with young people, then it would be appropriate to highlight any tutoring or babysitting you might have done, even if it was casual.
How to Write a CV Sample: Personal Achievements and Awards
Winning a short story competition in my high school, beating out older students Publishing an essay in my university paper – OUSU – and getting online engagement Being shortlisted in an open-entry competition for dystopian fiction after graduating from my degree in English literature (2021)
You can put your achievements chronologically or put them in order of most impressive. Try and stick to just a handful here, since you want to focus on the most relevant ones.
How to Write a CV Sample: Academic Work/Portfolio
Please see www.tomashyperionart.com for an online portfolio of my work. My LinkedIn profile is also available for perusal at linkedin.com/drtomas
Your online portfolio can be simple, but be sure to check none of the links are broken or misspelt.
When it comes to how to write a CV format, there are two popular types:
- The reverse chronological CV – This focuses on your previous employment history, with the most recent one at the top. This is best for those with an established career and plenty of experience.
- The skill-based CV – This has more emphasis on your interpersonal skills and abilities, rather than your past employment. This suits candidates who are newer to the career ladder or might have gaps in their job history. If you are wondering how to write a CV with little experience, then this is the format for you.
Here are some of the main formatting tips to bear in mind when thinking about how to write a CV for job a application:
- Keep it short and simple – One-to-two pages, use bullet points and keep sentences brief.
- Use headings – These make finding relevant information easier and makes the CV flow better for readability. Bolding and italics can also help separate information like dates and names.
- Use a clear font – Stick to a single font ideally, but a maximum of two different ones, and apply a size 11 or larger for headers.
- Convert to a PDF – This is so you don’t lose the clean formatting. Most companies prefer a PDF but always check specific requirements.
Also, when you name your file, make it clear what it is – for example, Sharma2023CV. That way it’s immediately identifiable and also, in your own filing, you’ll be able to keep better track.
Example of How to Write a Professional CV
How do you write a CV for a job?
There are various options that are practical. You can choose to use a resume builder online or follow a simple example like the one below. The choice is up to you.
For a role in a creative industry, you might want to make sure you are using a style that reflects your personal aesthetic.
Here is a simple graduate CV:
Tom Oshodi [email protected] +(44) 7825 884542 Personal Statement Recent graduate, looking for a starter role in the political arena. Driven, ambitious and willing to work from the ground up. Experienced in corporate life and also keen to serve. Enjoys networking and meeting new people to expand on skills and knowledge. Education Durham University, 2020–2023 2:1 International Relations BA Sherborne School, 2013–2020 A-Levels – 3 As in History, Economics and Philosophy GSCEs – 2A*s, 6As, 2Bs Skills and Experience Work experience, Ruffer LLP, Investment Management – August 2021 Undertook a team project on retailer H&M to analyse its investment characteristics in line with responsible investment Presented the project to peers and employees Learned how the firm operated in the investment sector and the approach taken when investing in bonds and equities Work Experience, Hosking Partners, Institutional Investment Management – July 2019 Work experience in the financial sector, building an understanding of the institutional fund management industry and how markets work Developed an understanding of the thought processes used to identify potential sectors and companies for long-term investment Interests Volunteered at Street Child Charity UK – 2018 Volunteer work in its London office Researching and creating a presentation on specific issues surrounding the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone Young British Entrepreneur Course – 2017 Learning some of the skills required for entrepreneurship Project teamwork to showcase our learned skills of public speaking and allocation of work within a team President of St. Cuthbert’s Society Hockey Club 2019/2020 Developing leadership, organisational and motivational skills
When you ask people ‘How do you write a CV for a job?’ you might get several opinions. Obviously you want to get it as strong as possible.
From an expert perspective, here are several tips to bear in mind as you create your CV.
Step 1 . Analyse the Job Description
You should always tailor the CV according to the skills and requirements in the job description.
The best thing to do is start by reading it carefully and highlighting the keywords it uses so that you can also include them in your CV.
Step 2 . Research the Company
Paying attention to the company and its social media or LinkedIn to know what its values are is crucial so that you can emphasise these in your CV.
For example, if it is big on teamwork, then it is a good idea to mention collaboration, teamwork achievements and groups you’ve worked well in.
Step 3 . Use PAR Statements
PAR stands for problem-action-result and is a helpful format to use when introducing your skills and experiences.
Step 4 . Include Quantified Achievements
Don’t just say you increased sales – you need to quantify that statement as best as you can.
Step 5 . Avoid Jargon and Empty Words
Don’t fill your CV with pointless jargon or phrasing that sounds outdated or like slang.
Step 6 . Include Your Unpaid Work
CVs don ’t need to just talk about technical/ hard skills or list paid employment.
If you think your volunteering work or personal projects are relevant to the role, and they highlight transferable skills, then include them in your CV.
The same goes for showcasing soft skills, which are extremely important in today’s world.
Some of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a CV are:
Not proofreading – You need to ensure you don’t have grammar mistakes in your CV. Get a fresh pair of eyes to help you, like a friend or mentor.
Lying – It’s just not worth it; never lie on your CV, because employers will often find out and then potentially have grounds to fire you. Even if you are wondering how to write a CV with little experience, don’t try and pad it out or make things up. The best solution in this case is to volunteer and get some more experience to build up your confidence.
Using the same CV everywhere – You must, as mentioned, tailor your CV to a specific job description. Using an identical CV for every application could mean you look lazy and thus lose interest from specific employers.
How do I write my CV?
Analyse the job description, reading it carefully and highlighting the keywords it uses so that you can include them in your own application.
Also, research the company; include quantified achievements (for example, don’t just say you increased sales – you need to quantify that statement as best as you can).
Is a CV the same as a resume?
The term resume is often used the same way as a CV is – although a resume can be shorter. If there is a key difference between the two, it’s usually that the CV is longer and presents a full history of your academic credentials vs a resume.
What should be included in a CV?
Name and contact information are crucial. You should also add skills and experience that are potentially work relevant as well as your education/professional summary.
A personal statement can be added; it’s generally a four-to-six sentence statement that says who you are, covers your top skills and career aspirations.
What is an example of a CV statement?
“Creative photographer with an eye for detail and a flair for the dramatic. Over 10 years of experience capturing the essence of actors and creating their head-shots. Winner of Statesman Talent award (2020). Now seeking opportunities to expand more into commercial, runway and modelling photography.”
What is the best CV format?
There are two popular CV formats: the reverse chronological CV, focusing on your previous employment history, with the most recent one at the top.
Then there’s the skill-based CV, which emphasises your interpersonal skills and abilities, rather than your past employment.
How long should a CV be?
Unless you’re writing an academic CV with all your publications, keep it short and simple – one-to-two pages – use bullet points and keep sentences brief.
Use a clear font (stick to a single font, ideally – but a maximum of two different ones) and apply a size 11 or larger for headers.
What is the difference between a personal statement and a CV?
A CV summarises your work history, education and interests, all of which are helpful for future employers when they’re looking to recruit.
A personal statement is much briefer. It’s generally a four-to-six sentence statement that says who you are, and covers your top skills and career aspirations.
A CV is a summary of your skills, achievements and experience that you will use to impress an employer, so you want to make sure you get it right. It will make your first impression when applying for jobs and trying to gain an interview.
Going through the application process is tough, so you want to start it off on the right foot with a strong CV.
CV writing can seem intimidating, but with the tips and guidance above, you will begin to create a compelling document to highlight who you are – and leave a positive and memorable impression on potential recruiters.
Knowing how to write a professional CV is an important life skill – and one that you will use again and again.
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- Access to your own specialist writer
- Unlimited revisions for 12 months
- Average 2-day turnaround (specialist CV 5 days)
- No templates are used on any of our CVs
You might also be interested in these other Psychometric Success articles:
Or explore the Application Advice / CVs sections.
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