How to Write a CV in 7 Simple Steps

Searching for a new job can sometimes be scary.  But who of us never experienced the situation when you find the position, which is a perfect fit for you. You already imagine meeting new colleagues and bringing your favorite cup to the workplace. So you press the “Send your CV” button. You wait for an answer for a day, week, month, year… But never get it. It happens to thousands of applicants every day. And each of them has the only question: “Why???”

I’m afraid, we know the answer. No one likes your CV. It didn’t catch recruiter’s attention and got lost among hundreds of other applications. But you’re reading this, which means that this scenario will never happen to you again. Because we are going to tell you everything about writing a good CV.

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Curriculum vitae or CV stands for an application document mostly in the UK, New Zealand, Asia or the European Union. It is traditionally considered to be used for academic purposes to provide detailed information on a scholarly career. It is often used as a synonym of resume in European countries. However, there is a slight difference. A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience, while CV can contain more information, such as projects, clients, achievements, etc. Resume should be no longer than 2 pages. At the same time, the CV can be 3+ pages long. However, many people don’t see any difference. That is why try to clarify what document you are expected to send, in case you have an opportunity to do this.

Let’s get rolling!

Choose the professional CV format

The competition to an average position is about 250 candidates per place. It would be hard for recruiters to read all the application documents sent attentively. Recruiters need 6 seconds to scroll down the CV and make the first impression of it. That is why the format is important when writing a CV. Start with a good layout. Professional CV template should include the following sections:

  • Header and Contact Information
  • Summary or Objective
  • Professional Experience and Achievements
  • Skills or Areas of Expertise
  • Additional Sections (Certificates, Awards, Memberships, Volunteer Experience, etc.)

In case you are a recent graduate and lack of experience, it is recommended to put the education section above the experience section.

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Besides, you should pay attention to the proper formatting. Here are some CV writing tips:

1. Be careful with the fonts

It is not recommended to use super-creative fonts that are hard to read, creating a CV. Better use one of the standard fonts that are often used for documents: Times New Roman, Verdana, Cambria, Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica or Bookman Old Style. Choose 9 – 12 pt font size and single spacing for resume body and 14 – 16 pt for headings.

2. Make your template coherent

Before you complete your resume, check thoroughly all the margins, fonts, headings, italics and underlining. Use a single date format, punctuation, and grammar structure for sentences.  

3. Choose a proper design

Writing a curriculum vitae, you should remember that despite the creative resumes became extremely popular, you should use them carefully. Content is of the top importance in your CV. That is why the design should not distract attention. Don’t be afraid of space and don’t clutter the file with extra graphics.

4. Check if you need the photo

Traditionally, you are not expected to include a photo to your CV if you apply in the US. However, in most European countries, it is required. You also should add a picture on a CV if you are asked to do so in the job advertisement. In this case, choose a professional photoshoot in business attire on the neutral background. Selfies are not recommended.

5. Make sure it is brief

So many people believe they should include every moment of their lies in a CV. Don’t be afraid to remove less important information that isn’t relevant any more during CV preparation. Nobody is going to read 10+ bullet points description of the job you’ve done 20 years ago. And try to use fewer adjectives, such as “outstanding professional “.

Save your resume in PDF and make sure all the formatting you’ve made looks good. DOC and DOCX will work as well; however, there is a chance the formatting might be ruined on the recipient’s side. So it’s better to use PDF to send your CV unless other recommendations are provided in the job description.

6. Include Contact Info

Providing your personal information on a CV, include the following:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Postal address (or City and State)
  • E-mail
  • Phone Number
  • LinkedIn link

Make sure all the information is correct and links are working, as recruiters may use them to reach you. Besides, check your LinkedIn profile to match your CV, otherwise, headhunter would question your honesty.

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Introductory Paragraph

Some candidates miss this section and make a mistake. This is a 100 words intro to catch the recruiter and introduce you as a candidate. So if you wonder how to write a CV for a job, the answer is to start from the beginning. There’re two types of introductions: summary and objective.

Resume objective demonstrates the skills you’ve mastered and the plans you have towards your future career. Summary, on the other hand, makes focus on your experience and career progress as well as core accomplishments on previous positions. Basically, objective answers “What am I looking for? What can I do? What necessary skills do I have to perform successfully in this position?” Regarding the summary, the question would be “Who am I as a professional? Why should you choose me for this job?”

Career Objective Example:

Hardworking graduate of the Business Management Department is looking for an administrative position at an international company. Acquired good knowledge of team and project management, team leadership, marketing, and customer service. Able to work within a fast-paced environment. Committed to pursuing a long-term career, develop personally and professionally.

Career Summary example:

Effective business-leader with 20 years of experience in the automotive industry. Knows how to start a business from scratch and grow it to multi-million dollar revenues. Completed more than 50 projects and collaborated with Fortune500 companies. Experienced in building and motivating highly productive teams.

Experience Section

Well, for sure this is the most important section on your CV. Basic CV writing needs information on your job titles, companies you worked for, dates and main responsibilities. But in case you apply at senior level positions, there are some pieces of advice to improve your resume. Here they are:

  • Describe your achievements. Focus on measurable ones: revenue earned, projects completed, clients attracted, etc.
  • Use action verbs. Start each sentence with a verb in the past tense, use unique grammar for all the bullet points.
  • Make your CV in line with the job description. Find the key points in the job ad and tailor them to your CV.
  • Make two sections to represent your experience: responsibilities and achievements. In this way, the recruiters will easily find the information they are looking for.

Reading your experience, the recruiter should easily find the answers to the following questions: “What did you do at your last job?”, “How well did you do it?”, and “What can you bring to your new workplace?”

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Education Section

It is not difficult to insert your education info to the resume. Probably, the easiest in curriculum vitae writing. First of all, talking about education, we assume the academic degrees you received. If you want to write about extra training you undertook and certificates you acquired, create an extra section for them. Don’t mention your secondary education in case you have a Bachelor, Masters’ or Ph.D.  

Include the educational institution you studied at, it’s location, the degree you have, year of graduation, honors (if any). Recent graduates with a lack of practical experience may also add the courses they studied and GPA results, thesis title, best achievements, and extracurricular academic activities.

Skill Section and Additional Sections

The most important is to tailor the skills you have to the position you apply. You should not include the ability to make 100 sit-ups for the Office Manager job, but being bilingual is quite a hit. Indicating the level of your proficiency with dots and diagrams is not the best idea. However, you may use “Basic”, “Confident”, “Advanced”, etc. for this purpose. It would be great if you make separate sections for your hard skills (Areas of Expertise), soft skills (Competencies) and technical skills. This can help you to enhance the CV with more keywords for ATS checkers.

Every profile is unique and this is a chance to present it to the recruiters. List your scientific publications or research projects if you have some. Or maybe you won some important industry awards? You could have participated in volunteer projects or been a member of some professional organizations. Add that information on your CV creating the additional sections you need.

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Cover Letter

While a CV is a brief review, the cover letter is a short essay that represents yourself as an employee and a person. Let the recruiter know about your motivations and reasons, details of your experience and the achievements you are proud of the most. Be honest and represent your personality. But stick to the professional topics. Cover letter increases your chances to get the job as a recruiter is more likely to remember your candidacy.

Now you have a detailed instruction on how to make a curriculum vitae more successful and become a CV expert. So we wish you good luck and get an invitation to the best interviews!   

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