Learning how to write a CV correctly is essential. In many ways, this is one of the critical tools that help individuals and applicants alike get to the final stages of the interview, and of course, to landing their dream job.
Given that the CV is the most valuable tool to get individuals a foot in the door and the ability to land their dream job, it only makes sense to put in the effort to tailor the content of your CV. A good CV can be a game-changer. However, not everyone knows how to write a CV, especially when starting from scratch.
For those of you who are getting ready to apply for a job and want to learn how to write a CV and distinguish a CV from a resume, keep reading. This article focuses on the following aspects.
- What Is A CV?
- Aspects To Include In A CV
- How To Write A CV
- How To Make A CV Stand Out
What Is A CV?
CV stands for curriculum vitae, which is Latin for course of life.” A curriculum vitae is considered a more detailed document that centers on an individual’s educational background, history, credentials, experience, and skills.
This aims to provide a comprehensive overview of a person’s credentials; this can also include awards, achievements, affiliations, and many others.
CVs can be geared towards an academic setting, medical fields, and even those in scientific research. Apart from seeking jobs, CVs can also be used by persons looking to gain access to scholarships, fellowships, grants, and postdoctoral positions.
Depending on the level of experience and the person’s educational background, the length of the document can be quite long. Usually, CVs can be between two or more pages in length.
Differences Between A CV And Resume
Many people tend to confuse CVs and resumes, and for a good reason. Both of these bear similarities, such as being tailor-made for the particular job application that an individual is applying for. However, there are also stark differences between the two.
The word resume is French for the word “summary.” Unlike the comprehensive coverage of CVs, resumes are typically shorter, with their length around one to two pages maximum.
Rather than emphasize credentials, resumes highlight competencies, such as a person’s skills, achievements, and what they can bring to the table. This is why on most resumes, the relevant work experience comes first rather than leading with the educational background.
Aspects To Include In A CV
Now that readers know more about this document learning what to include in the curriculum vitae is the next crucial step. This, of course, includes personal details, such as the name, contact number, email address, and address.
Given that the CV is credentials-based, individuals should also include their educational background and the corresponding year this was earned. This includes their high school to postdoctoral institutions, if applicable. One should start with the latest or the most present undertaking, such as a Ph.D., Master’s, Undergraduate, and so on.
Apart from the details above, the curriculum vitae should also highlight their level of experience when it comes to their work. This should include their employment history, with the work experience being recorded to start with the most recent job posting. The professional experience should also include the company, the job title, and the date of employment.
At the very least, the skills of the individual should also be highlighted on the CV. These can include recent training and qualifications that are relevant to the position being applied for. The range of skills and qualifications can consist of communication skills, foreign language skills, teaching and research experience, and the like.
Other Aspects To Consider
Now that the basic aspects of the curriculum vitae have already been covered, individuals writing this document also have the option to highlight additional sections, such as pertinent awards and honors. However, in doing so, they should detail the award-giving body or the organization and other relevant information.
The additional section can also include publications and presentations. Here, people can include their dissertations/thesis, lectures, exhibitions, and the like. On top of these, scholarships and grants can also be included, and licenses and certifications obtained.
It can be better for students who do not have enough work experience to highlight academic and extracurricular experiences and any volunteering activities and internships.
How To Write A CV
Writing a curriculum vitae can seem intimidating, especially for those who do not know precisely where or how to start. For this, it is always best to remember that writing in a clear and concise manner is preferred. To do this, people should turn to bullet points instead of complete sentences and paragraphs.
To start, individuals should first choose the best curriculum vitae format. There are varying options available depending on the need – may it be academic-related or otherwise – and looking these up will help individuals when they are writing their own CV.
In addition, choosing the right font type, size, spacing, and margin will also go a long way. Veering away from ornate fonts is ideal, with the font size being anywhere from 10 to 12 points. Section headings, however, can use larger font sizes. A minimum margin of 0.5 inches on all sides can also help individuals maximize the space.
Once they have already decided what format to use, people can add their personal details and information. Moving forward, include all the essential aspects and details, such as educational attainment, professional experience, and the like. Each is separated by headers which can either be placed in bold or italics.
What To Avoid Including In A CV
Religious affiliations and interests, while falling under personal details, should be wholly avoided altogether. While interests can also be discussed depending on the format or application being made, bear in mind that these should be pertinent to the position being applied for.
Besides this, and unlike resumes, CVs no longer require individuals to attach their photos, but this can depend on the country or company being applied to. A salary history will also most likely be unnecessary for the curriculum vitae.
Bear in mind that CVs do not require the individual’s reason for leaving his or her previous position in the company to be undisclosed within the document. References are likewise placed outside of the CV as this can easily be requested by prospective employers when needed.
How To Make A CV Stand Out
Individuals should consider writing a personal statement. While this is not a requirement, this allows the user’s CV to stand out from other competitors in the field. After all, this personal statement captures what the applicant can bring to the company and why they are suitable for the job.
Another essential tip when it comes to writing a CV is that individuals should always keep it short and to the point. This way, prospective employers and hiring managers would not be put off reading the whole document. Likewise, using strong verbs throughout the document will help in the person’s favor.
Presentation is everything when it comes to one’s CV. Besides choosing the proper format, persons writing their CV should also consider the clarity, quality, relevance, and usefulness it provides. This means that the information provided should be relevant and laid out seamlessly in reverse chronological order to highlight the most recent professional experiences.
Last but certainly not least, when it comes to making a curriculum vitae stand out, the individual can highlight the specific set of skills that can be offered to the prospective employer. This can entail writing a customized section in the CV that is tailored to a particular company.
What To Remember When Writing This
Going over the finished curriculum vitae is essential. This allows individuals to gain a closer look at the work they have done and gives them a chance to further proofread and fine-tune the outcome. Editing its contents increases the chances of finding and correcting grammar, spelling, and syntax mistakes.
Tell it like it is. Many individuals are tempted to beef up their CVs for the sake of it, but it can only do more harm than good, especially as many employers run background checks. Being truthful about the education and professional work experiences allows the company and the prospective hire to be on their way to a good start.
As mentioned, there are different types of CV formats and templates. Given this, keeping the CV update is important as this reflects the new skills, qualifications, and undertakings experienced by the individual. By modifying it regularly, the person gives a fresh and modern take to their recent achievements.
The Bottom Line
Being able to write a CV gives individuals the confidence to proceed with their job search. With this article breaking down the writing process and its inclusions, people will have an easier time understanding how to go about this on their own.