Introduction to Crafting a CV

Understanding the purpose of a CV

A CV, or Curricula Vitae, serves as a comprehensive record of your professional journey, including your education, work experience, skills, achievements, and sometimes more personal details, particularly in other countries. Different from a resume, which is often competency-based and tailored to a specific job, a CV is credential-based and is used widely in academic, scientific, and medical fields in the United States. When you write a CV, think of it as your professional biography that paints a detailed picture of your career path.

The impact of a well-crafted CV on job search success

Crafting a well-thought-out CV can significantly influence your job search success. It presents to potential employers a narrative of your professional credentials and sets the stage for future interactions. By carefully aligning your CV's content with the job description, showing relevance through your skills, and acknowledging the role of ATS softwareand digital platforms, you're not just submitting a document; you're orchestrating your first impression, enhancing your chances to reach the interview stage. As the job market evolves, a CV that thoughtfully combines professional details with personal flair can make all the difference in a competitive landscape.

Why is it called a CV?

Why is it called a CV?

Historical origins of the term 'Curriculum Vitae'

The framework of today's job application arsenal wouldn't be complete without the contribution of a CV, or "Curriculum Vitae" – a phrase which harks back to Latin, meaning "course of life." Unlike a resume, traditionally more succinct and tailored to specific positions, a Curriculum Vitae presents a comprehensive chronicle of professional achievements and academic credentials.

The CV versus Resume: Differences and uses

Navigating the subtle distinctions between a CV and a resume is essential in aligning with employer expectations. In the United States, for instance, a resume is the go-to for most job applications, pared down to skills and experiences pertinent to the job at hand. Conversely, CVs are detailed dossiers reserved for academic, scientific, or medical professions, reflecting credential-based achievements. Yet, in other countries, a CV might resemble the American resume, though potentially with added personal details.

It's crucial for job seekers to realize that what to include in a CV may differ based on regional norms. Amidst the rising use of applicant tracking systems, understanding how to write a CV that's ATS-friendly, for example by integrating job description-specific keywords and clear formatting, can make the difference in reaching the interview stage. As hiring trends evolve, a clear grasp of what to put in a CV - from education and work experience to skills and professional affiliations – ensures you deliver the relevant information an employer seeks, and all without losing your personal touch.

Personal Information

Personal Information

The essentials: Name, contact details, and professional title

When you start to write your CV, your personal information secures the top spot in CV sections. Include your full name, postal address, and contact details—aiming for at least seven mentions. Ensure these details are current and correct; after all, you want the hiring manager from your job applications to reach you effortlessly. Additionally, state your professional title; this quickly informs the employer about your career level and area of expertise, potentially aligning with the job titles in the job description.

Avoiding the inclusion of sensitive personal information

While figuring out what to include in your CV, be cautious not to reveal sensitive information that could be misused. Stick to the relevant information necessary for the job search, steering clear of data like social security numbers or personal identification numbers, which have no place on a CV, especially in these days of privacy concerns and identity theft. Remember, the purpose of the curriculum vitae is to land you an interview, not to give away personal details unnecessarily. Keep it professional, safe, and relevant to the job at hand.

Objective or Summary Statement

Objective or Summary Statement

When considering what to put in a CV, the inclusion of an Objective or Summary Statement is a crucial factor. This concise personal statement or profile is your chance to capture the hiring manager's attention by clearly stating your career goals or showcasing your professional profile.

Crafting a Concise Career Objective

A career objective should directly reflect the job title and job description of the position you're applying for. It's important to tailor this section, as this is where you outline your intent to apply and what makes you a perfect match from your previous jobs. For a recent graduate or school leaver, this is the opportunity to highlight how your educational background aligns with the job.

Creating a Compelling Summary Statement

In contrast to an objective, the summary statement should focus on how your work experience and skills make you ideal for the job. It must be relevant, engaging, and written with the employer in mind, reflecting key skills and professional experience. Including a professional title can help solidify your status as a qualified candidate.

The Debate Around Including an Objective or Summary

The decision to include this section depends largely on your career stage and professional experience. An objective may serve better for those newer to the job market, while a summary is more suited to those with substantial work experience. Either way, it's a strategic part of your CV that helps frame your relevant professional accomplishments and can be decisive in progressing to the interview stage.

Work Experience

Work Experience

Listing your past positions: Format and details

When considering what to put in a CV, your work experience takes center stage, showcasing not just where you've been, but also where you're headed professionally. Start by listing your previous jobs in reverse chronological order, beginning with your current or most recent job. Be sure to include your job title, the name of your current employer, and the dates of your employment for each entry.

While your contact details are crucial, remember to balance personal information with professional discretion. It's common to provide just enough to allow a potential employer to reach you, typically an email and phone number. However, full address details are less commonly provided these days due to privacy concerns.

Highlighting achievements instead of responsibilities

As you write each position's entry, focus on relevant accomplishments instead of just descriptions of your job responsibilities. This could include successful projects, improvements you contributed to, or any specific recognition you received. Use bullet points to break down these achievements, weaving in keywords from the job description to optimize for applicant tracking systems and catch the eye of the hiring manager.

How to deal with employment gaps

Employment gaps in your work history can be a concern for some applicants, but it's all in how you frame them. Be upfront about the gaps, and whenever possible, fill them with productive endeavors such as volunteering experience, relevant coursework, or personal projects. If the gap was for personal reasons, like travel or family, be prepared to provide a brief explanation in your personal statement or potentially discuss it more in your cover letter or at the job interview first stage.

In all, your work experience should provide a potential employer with a narrative of growth, adaptability, and the continual development of skills and expertise. Remember, you're not just listing jobs; you're telling the story of your professional journey.

Education Section

Education Section

Detailing Academic Background

When contemplating what to put in a CV, your education is a centerpiece. Tailor your educational background to mirror the job description, ensuring it demonstrates you're a fitting candidate. For fresh faces in the job market, like a recent graduate or school leaver, it’s wise to inject more detail into this section, possibly including relevant modules, dissertation titles, or achieved grades that resonate with the job's requirements.

Listing your education sections in reverse chronological order offers a clear timeline of your academic journey. If you’re a seasoned professional, keep your education section succinct, focusing on degrees over high school details, unless they add something unique to your application.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Professionals should highlight any ongoing learning endeavors or certifications that bolster their qualifications. These not only showcase a commitment to staying updated in your field but also align with the employer's need for adaptable and proactive team players. Including these details shares with hiring managers and CV employers that you are continually elevating your professional profile.

Placement of the Education Section Based on Experience Level

For those with extensive work experience, the education section can be brief and take a backseat to the work history and skills you include in your CV. Focus on connecting your academic credentials directly with the job title and job description to ensure relevancy.

For individuals at the dawn of their career, education takes on more significance. If work history is limited, your education can reflect key skills, like excellent communication skills or team player qualities acquired through group projects or sports team involvements. Placement of this section should be near the top of your CV to showcase your educational achievements and potential to the hiring manager.

Skills and Competencies

Skills and Competencies

Identifying Relevant Hard and Soft Skills

When contemplating what to include in a CV, recognizing the distinction between hard skills and soft skills is vital. Hard skills are the specific, teachable abilities that are often required for a job, such as proficiency in a foreign language or facility with a certain type of software. On the other hand, soft skills relate to personal attributes and character traits that enhance your interactions, such as being a team player or having excellent communication skills.

Categorizing Skills for Readability

Your CV sections should present skills in an organized manner, often using bullet points for clarity. By categorizing them, you make it easier for a hiring manager to scan and acknowledge your qualifications. Typical categories might be 'Technical Skills', 'Languages', 'Management Skills', or 'Communication Skills', depending on your professional experience.

The Importance of Tailoring Skills to the Job Description

The job title usually guides the relevance of skills in your CV. Aligning your skills section to match the job description ensures that the employer sees the relevant information immediately. For instance, if the job advert stresses customer service experience, you should highlight any roles in your work history that demonstrate your expertise in this area. Additionally, remember that many employers use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), so the closer the language in your CV matches the job listing, the better your chances are at getting past these automated filters and on to the interview stage. Always adapt your CV for each job application to maximize the alignment with the employer's needs and the job on offer.

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Professional Affiliations and Memberships

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

The benefits of including professional organizations

Including professional affiliations on your CV can catch the eye of the hiring manager, signaling your commitment to your industry and offering an insight into your network. When you write your CV, these memberships showcase your active engagement in the professional community, likely aligning with the job description's sought-after skills or experiences. For example, membership in a marketing association could highlight your understanding of current industry trends which is especially appealing if the job advert lists this as a key requirement.

How to list memberships relevant to your career

While considering what to put in a CV, ensure that your professional affiliations are listed in a manner that aligns with your professional title and work history. Begin with the most prestigious or relevant organizations to the job you're applying for, and include your role or contributions if substantial. Be sure to format this information in reverse chronological order, akin to your employment history, making it easy for applicant tracking systems to parse through. Remember, the goal is to include information that complements the job description, so prioritize the most relevant memberships.



Listing Language Proficiencies

When considering what to include in a CV, language proficiencies should not be overlooked. The ability to communicate in multiple languages is a skill that adds immense value to your professional profile. Start by mentioning each language you're proficient in, and as part of the CV sections dedicated to skills, ensure you’re displaying this relevant information clearly.

Indicating Levels of Proficiency

It's important to indicate your level of proficiency in each language; for example, basic, conversational, fluent, or native. This gives employers a better understanding of your communication capabilities. If language skills are crucial for the job description, highlight them near the top of your CV to catch the hiring manager’s attention.

The Advantage of Being Bilingual or Multilingual in the Job Market

In our increasingly globalized world, multilingualism is a highly sought-after skill by employers, especially companies with a diverse clientele or those operating in multilingual regions or other countries. Being multilingual can set you apart in the job search, signaling to potential employers that you possess excellent communication skills and can engage with a wider audience.

Volunteer Work and Community Involvement

Volunteer Work and Community Involvement

Showcasing Volunteer Experience

When contemplating what to include in a CV, don't underestimate the power of volunteering experience or unpaid work placements. Employers often favor candidates who've displayed a commitment to bettering their community, as it reflects a proactive and altruistic character. When writing about volunteering experience, use bullet points to list relevant jobs, emphasizing soft skills like being a team player or having excellent communication skills, which are integral to most job descriptions.

Impact of Community Service on Your CV

Community service can significantly enrich your CV, offering a glimpse into your personal values and work ethic. This section can be pivotal in the recruitment process, particularly when you demonstrate relevant skills acquired through unpaid work that align with the job description. It's crucial to highlight any professional titles held during volunteer work, as they add substantial weight to your professional profile.

Integrating Volunteer Work with Professional Experience

In the narrative of your career, weave volunteer work seamlessly with your professional experience. Ensure you include your CV's contact details consistently and consider the job search's broader perspective. For example, if the job advert emphasizes leadership, and you've captained a sports team or spearheaded a community project, that's relevant experience you should include in your CV. Such details can be compelling to a potential employer, showing your career goals are matched with community-driven initiatives.

Publications and Research

Publications and Research

Including Academic Publications

When considering what to put in a CV, your publications can be pivotal for certain fields. To include in a CV, list your academic publications in reverse chronological order, giving prominence to the most recent works. If you've written extensively, focus on the most prestigious or relevant pieces; this ensures you don't sacrifice valuable space with less impactful publications. Remember, each item you include in your CV should add weight to your application, aligning with the job description and showcasing your expertise.

Listing Research Projects or Contributions

Your CV is the place to detail significant research contributions relevant to the job. When you write a CV, ensure each project or study listed includes pertinent data like the objective, your role, outcomes, and any recognitions. Tailor these entries to mirror the job description's language — this can resonate well with hiring managers and get past applicant tracking systems programmed to pick up specific keywords.

The Value of Publications in Certain Fields

In academia, healthcare, and sciences, publications attest to your professional experience. For a job that demands a strong research background, this section could distinguish you from other candidates. Ensure each entry is relevant, as hiring managers look for specifics that align with the professional title being offered. Include in your CV any peer-reviewed papers, books, or articles that position you as a knowledgeable candidate.


Deciding whether to include references

When pondering what to put in a CV, the decision to include references can be crucial. Traditionally, a CV detailed one's entire career but today's job search demands a strategic approach. Including references in your CV isn't always necessary as employers typically request them at the interview stage. However, stating "references available upon request" can indicate your preparedness to the potential employer.

How to list professional references

If you choose to include references in your CV, ensure they're people familiar with your work experience, skills, and professional title. List their contact details clearly, presenting each reference in reverse chronological order to reflect the most recent and relevant connections first. This format aligns with many CV sections, providing a cohesive read for the employer.

Reference etiquette: Who to ask and how

Select individuals who can vouch for your job-related skills and professional experience, like a former supervisor or a colleague from previous jobs. Obtain permission before listing anyone and provide them with your current CV for a better understanding of your recent professional journey. Always keep their contact details updated and brief them about any job application they might be contacted regarding.

Additional Sections to Consider

Additional Sections to Consider

When deciding what to include in a CV, it can be beneficial to go beyond the standard sections. Here are a few additional categories that might make your CV stand out to a potential employer:

Interests Section

Your hobbies and interests section can provide a more personal glimpse into who you are and help differentiate you from other candidates. While it might seem trivial, a hobbies and interests section can strike a chord with the hiring manager if you share a common interest. Make sure to relate your interests section of back to the job description, showing how these personal facets contribute to your professional profile.

Projects and Portfolio

If your professional experience includes significant projects or you have a portfolio showcasing your work, it's wise to include in your CV a section that highlights these elements. Tie each project to the job description, emphasizing relevant skills and accomplishments. This can give the hiring manager a better understanding of your capabilities.

Patents or Inventions

For those in research, development, or other innovative fields, including patents or inventions can be a testament to your creativity and expertise. Mention such achievements in reverse chronological order, and align them with the job description to display a track record of professional success.


If you’ve received praise from previous jobs, including a testimonials section could bolster your CV’s credibility. Extract brief, impactful statements from your references or recommendations, aligning them to the job advert. This could potentially influence the hiring decisions during the recruitment process.

Remember, apart from weaving in these additional sections to your CV, always ensure that every piece of information provided adds value and directly relates to the job title and employer you are targeting.

CV Design and Layout

CV Design and Layout

The Importance of Visual Appeal

When questioning what to put in a CV, visual appeal grabs attention. The format of your CV acts as a framework that makes your professional story easy to follow. A visually appealing CV engages the hiring manager, offering them a pleasant reading experience, and is therefore more likely to hold their attention.

Choosing the Right CV Format and Design

Selecting the correct format is pivotal. For most job applications, the reverse chronological order is preferred, as it showcases your work history and education in an easy-to-trace manner. Keep design elements simple to maintain focus on the content, including relevant job titles, skills, and professional experience while ensuring it aligns with the job description.

Balancing Professionalism with Creativity

Knowing what to include in a CV requires a balance between professionalism and creativity. Maintain professional tone through consistent fonts and colors, but don't be afraid to add a touch of individuality, especially if applying to jobs in creative fields. Remember, the hiring manager is searching for a candidate who can represent the company culture.

Accessibility and Readability of Your CV

Lastly, accessibility is paramount. Your CV must be readable not just by the hiring manager but also by applicant tracking systems (ATS) to prevent being filtered out before human eyes see it. Use standard headings for CV sections like work experience, education, and contact details, and prioritize bullet points for clear, concise information delivery. Additionally, ensure your professional title and key skills are prominent to aid quick scanning by both the ATS and the hiring manager.

Digital Presence and Online CV Considerations

Digital Presence and Online CV Considerations

Linking to a Professional Online Profile

When considering what to include in your CV, a link to a professional online profile is an invaluable addition. This becomes your digital curriculum vitae, where employers can glean more detail about your professional experience, relevant skills, and possibly even get a better understanding of your career goals. Ensure that your contact details are consistent across platforms, aiding potential employers and adhering to the recruitment process norm.

The Influence of Online Portfolios

Online portfolios showcase your work history in a dynamic way that a traditional CV cannot always capture. For jobs requiring creativity or technical skills, they offer tangible evidence of your expertise. Incorporate bullet points to highlight key takeaways from each project, linking them to the job description you’re targeting.

Privacy and Digital Footprint Management

Managing your digital footprint is a critical step when you write a CV and apply for jobs online. Personal details like your full address should be omitted for privacy, while any public content should reflect the professional image you wish to convey to hiring managers during the job search and interview stages.

Editing and Proofreading Your CV

Editing and Proofreading Your CV

The Necessity of Thorough Editing

Before hitting send on that job application, scrutinize your CV like an employer might. Are job titles and work experience in reverse chronological order, showcasing your latest achievements first? Does your personal statement radiate confidence, and does it align with the job description? Verify that contact details are correct—not just once but for each mention they make across cv sections. After all, a simple error could cost a job interview.

Tools and Strategies for Proofreading

Harness the power of spellcheckers and grammar tools, since typos in professional titles or skills can be off-putting. Use bullet points to organize relevant skills and work history for clarity. Reading aloud can also help catch awkward phrasings that might confuse the hiring manager, ensuring the right information leaps off the page.

Peer Review and Professional Services

Getting a fresh pair of eyes, especially from someone who understands what to include in a cv, can be invaluable. They might catch overused phrases or suggest sharper ones, making work experience sections and personal statements more compelling. If unsure, professional services can offer career advice and give that critical edge in job search.

Customizing Your CV for Different Opportunities

Customizing Your CV for Different Opportunities

Understanding the needs of employers

To truly resonate with an employer, your CV must reflect an understanding of what they're looking for. That means diving into the job description to decode key skills sought after. When a hiring manager reviews your CV, they’re scouting for evidence that you’ve held similar job titles or tackled related responsibilities. Recognizing these needs means your CV will be better positioned to make it past both the applicant tracking systems and the discerning eyes of the hiring manager.

Tailoring your CV for industry-specific roles

Each job application deserves a fresh look at your CV. This tailoring process involves highlighting relevant professional experiences, key skills, and accomplishments that align directly with the job title and job description. It's not about reinventing the wheel with every application but rather, tweaking the CV sections like work history, education, skills, and personal profile to showcase the most relevant aspects for the role.

The balance between a generic and customized CV

While maintaining a foundational CV that chronicles your complete work history and education, the customization comes in when you adjust the bullet points and specific examples of work experience to align with job postings. This doesn't mean a complete overhaul each time; instead, focus on the details. Lose less relevant jobs or hobbies that don't tie into the prospective role. Remember, in the job search, the quality of customization could be the tipping point that lands you an interview.


Summing up the CV Writing Process

In essence, understanding what to include in your CV is tantamount to mapping out your professional life story. Each section of your CV – from contact details to work experience, plays a crucial role. Remember, a CV is not just about stating facts from your career; it's about weaving a narrative that aligns with your job application. When considering what to include in a CV, prioritize information relevant to the job you're applying for, using the job description as a guide.

Final Tips for CV Submission

As you prepare to submit your CV, ensure your contact details are updated and prominently placed. Cross-reference your CV with the job description to include relevant skills and professional experiences. It’s paramount to customizing the CV for every job, as this helps in resonating with the hiring manager and potentially bypassing applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Motivation for Ongoing CV Maintenance and Update

The world of job search is dynamic, and so should your CV be. Regular updates to your contact details, work experience, and skills section keep you ready for new opportunities. Reflect on any new professional title, education, or job you take up - these merit inclusion. Continuous maintenance of your CV ensures you don’t miss any relevant accomplishments that could make a difference in the recruitment process.

Be ready for interview by checking out our blog on "Tough Interview Questions".

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