How to Write a Perfect CV(Curriculum Vitae)
What is a CV?
In its full form, CV stands for Curriculum Vitae (latin for: course of life). In the US, Canada, and Australia, a CV is a document you use for academic purposes. The US academic CV outlines every detail of your scholarly career. In other countries, CV is an equivalent of an American resume and is used to apply for a job.
How to Write a Perfect CV(Curriculum Vitae)
A CV is therefore a curriculum vitae, and other than its length and purpose in a few English-speaking countries, a CV is a synonym for a resume.
What are the differences between a CV and a resume?
Let’s get this straight, once and for all:
In the hiring industry, nowadays there’s almost no formal difference between a CV and a resume. It’s the same thing that Brits call a CV and Americans—a resume.
So, if you’re applying to a European company, you should create a CV. But if you’re applying to a US-based employer, you should make a resume.
And no, a CV is not a cover letter. A curriculum vitae contains your work history, education and skills, while a cover letter is a full-blown marketing campaign. These documents are completely different, and you can learn more about those differences in this guide on Curriculum Vitae VS Cover Letter.
Here’s a disturbing thought:
Every time you’re looking for a job, you compete against 250 other candidates on average.
Yes, you read that right.
Imagine you are the recruiter and you have to review 250 job applications. Do you thoroughly read all of them? Nah, of course you don’t.
Recruiters spend only 6 seconds scanning each CV. So the very first impression is key. If you submit a neat, properly organised document, you’ll convince the recruiters to spend more time on your CV.
A poorly formatted CV, on the other hand, will get you discarded in the first-round review.
Here’s how to format a CV the right way.
Start with creating a CV outline divided into the following sections:
- CV Header with Contact Information
- Personal Profile: CV Objective or CV Summary
- Work Experience
- Additional Sections
When filling in the sections, always keep in mind the gold CV formatting rules:
1. Choose clear, legible fonts
Go for one of the standard CV typefaces: Arial, Tahoma, or Helvetica if you prefer sans-serif fonts, and Times New Roman or Bookman Old Style if serif fonts are your usual pick.
Use 11 to 12 pt font size and single spacing. For your name and section titles, pick 14 to 16 pt font size.
2. Be consistent with your CV layout
Set one-inch margins for all four sides.
Make sure your CV headings are uniform—make them larger and in bold but go easy on italics and underlining.
Stick to a single dates format on your CV: for example 11-2017, or November 2017.
3. Don’t cram your CV with gimmicky graphics
Less is more.
White space is your friend—recruiters need some breathing room!
Plus, most of the time, after you send out your CV, it’s going to be printed in black ink on white paper. Too many graphics might make it illegible.
4. Get photos off of your CV
Unless you’re explicitly asked to include your photograph in the job ad.
If so—make sure to use a professional looking picture, but not as stiff as an ID photo.
5. Make your CV brief and relevant
Don’t be one of those candidates stuck in the nineties who think they have to include every single detail about their lives on their CVs.
Hiring, nowadays, is one hell of a hectic business. Nobody’s got the time to care for what high school you’ve attended or to read 10+ bullet point descriptions of past jobs. We’ll get to that later on.
You want the recruiters to get back to you, so you need to let them know how they can reach you.
In the contact information section, enter your:
- Full name
- Professional title
- Email address
- Telephone number
- LinkedIn profile
- Home address
The contact information section seems fairly straightforward, but here’s the one reason it might be tricky:
Recruiters will use it to research you online. If your social media profiles are unprofessional, or if your LinkedIn profile information doesn’t match that on your CV, you’re immediately out of the race.
After listing their contact information on a CV, most candidates jump right into their work experience or education.
But you’ll do better than that. You will actually get remembered by the employer.
So, how to make a CV pop?
All it takes is a CV personal profile statement—a short, snappy paragraph of 100 words tops that tells the recruiters why you are just the candidate they’ve been looking for.
Your personal profile will either be a CV objective or a CV summary.
What’s the difference?
A CV objective shows what skills you’ve mastered and how you’d fit in. It’s a good choice if you’ve got little work experience relevant to the job you’re trying to land, for example, if you’re writing a student CV.
A CV summary, in turn, highlights your career progress and achievements. Use it if you’re a seasoned professional and have a lot of experience in your field.
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