How to Do a CV


A curriculum vitae, which is the preferred way to convey job experience in many European countries, offers more details about your academic credentials and professional experience than a traditional resume. The right organization coupled with compelling details about your education and previous jobs can help you attract the attention of an employer and edge out other job candidates.

Organization and Structure

  • Unlike a resume, there's no predetermined format for the information in a CV. Your contact information, including your email address, regular mail address, phone number and name should go at the top. Thereafter, your CV should follow the standards for your specific industry. For example, academic CVs list education first. A consultant, by contrast, might highlight her recent projects. If you're not sure how to organize your CV, put the information most relevant to the job first, prioritizing the most impressive details. For example, a freelance editor might list the publications for which she has worked first. Each section should go in reverse chronological order, such that your most recent positions or accomplishments are listed first in each section.

Career Experience

  • Your work history should highlight professional experience that is directly applicable to the job for which you are applying. Unlike a resume, don't just itemize duties. Focus on your achievements. A manager might note that he cut expenses in half or recruited a diverse group of new employees, for example. Keep your sentence structure consistent, so that everything is written in the same tense -- past or present. Maintain consistency in tone and style throughout. For example, if you use full sentences in one section, continue to do so in each section. Likewise, if you opt to use bullets to highlight your achievements, do this in each portion of your CV.

Academic Background

  • List your educational achievements, including the schools you've attended, the dates you attended these schools and the degrees you earned. List any academic awards you've won that are germane to the job. If you don't have much else to list on your CV, add honor societies and school memberships, as well as your GPA and class rank -- but only if they're impressive. Highlight any courses or independent studies you've completed that are relevant to the job. For example, a psychologist applying to be a rape crisis counselor might note that she's taken classes on working with trauma victims.

Publications and Professional Recognition

  • Depending on your profession and the job for which you're applying, you may have publications, professional memberships or a history of workplace recognition to highlight. If you have a particularly impressive list of work-related awards, put it near the top of your CV, following the same protocol for publications. List only items that enhance your qualifications for the job. For example, a psychologist who publishes poetry doesn't need to put that information on her CV, but if she authored a journal article in her field, she would list that.

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