offers professional writing lesson videos for all levels of writers!

Sign up or log in to Magoosh Professional Writing.

How to Write a CV

Some jobs require a resume from applicants. Other jobs and opportunities, however, want to see a CV. This is especially true when applying for opportunities outside of the United States or in certain fields, such as education, research, medicine, or science. The CV, or curriculum vitae, is a document that should be about two pages in length on A4 paper. Before sending the CV out in hopes of landing the job you want, you need to know how to write a CV, and what to include.

How to Write a CV: Getting Started

When writing your CV, take the time to really read through and analyze the job description. Research the company and the person who is hiring for the position. Think about these things as you write the CV, and adapt the document for each position for which you apply. You want to tailor your CV to show the hiring manager that you truly are the perfect person for the job. Make sure that the information you choose to include is specific to the position. This will help your CV get past the computer scanners and into the hands of the hiring manager.

Format

Before writing your CV, you need to determine the format that it should use. There are lots of templates online for you to peruse. Choose a template that fits the type of job that you want. Then, maintain the format throughout the entire document no matter how many pages you need to use.

Similar to a resume, a CV should utilize headings, bullet points, and plenty of white space. You should use a commonly used font that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana. Keep it to 10- to 12-point font. If the font is too small, it will be difficult to read. However, if the font is too large, the hiring manager may assume that you didn’t have enough information to fill two pages.

Heading

At the top of the page, you need to identify yourself. Start with your name. It should be clearly written with a slightly larger, bold font to help it stand out. Below your name, include your contact information. This includes your address, email address, phone number, LinkedIn account, and other things that would be pertinent for the employer to have.

When it comes to your email address, make sure to use a professional one. Partygurl123@email.com will leave a negative impression on employers. Instead, create a simple email that uses your first and last name.

In general, it’s not necessary—or a good idea—to include a photograph of yourself. While it’s illegal for companies to discriminate based on someone’s gender, race, nationality, or other personal identifiers, unfortunately, it can still happen. So, don’t include a picture of yourself unless you’re in a field, such as acting or modeling, when looks would be important for the hiring manager to know for the position.

Objective/Personal Statement

Depending on the position that you seek, it could be important to include an objective and/or personal statement next. The objective states the type of position for which you seek. It should be brief and specific. You don’t need to use full sentences to convey your ideas. However, you should strive to write one that’s original. Choose to write an objective if you’re new to your field, meaning you’re a recent graduate or switching industries.

A personal statement describes how your experience specifically relates to the job. It’s a great way to quickly summarize your CV for the hiring manager, discussing the reasons why you’re the right person for the job. When crafting a personal statement, think about how you can stand out from other applicants. What could you say to show the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job?

Should you include an objective or a personal statement, or both? Think about the job and yourself as an applicant. What would be the most beneficial thing to include to help you stand out as the right candidate for the job?

Education

Education should be the next heading if your education is one of the highlights of your CV. This is probably true if you’re a recent graduate or seeking a position in the education field. When stating your education, start with the most recent degree. List your degree, university, dates spent in attendance (month and year), and the subject studied. If you haven’t graduated yet, list your expected graduation date.

Don’t list your GPA unless it’s above average. You could, however, list your GPA for classes in your subject area if it’s above average. Also, take the time to list any academic honors, your dissertation, papers presented, and any specific training or courses you completed that could help you excel in the position to which you’re applying.

Experience

It’s common to have a heading for “Work Experience” on your resume. In a CV, this heading is just titled “Experience.” Why? Because this allows you to include opportunities outside of employment positions that you were paid to do. You can include internships, volunteer work, and more. Think about which experiences you’ve had that have prepared you for the position you want. Did you learn any skills or hold leadership positions in an unpaid opportunity? These are great things to list, especially if you’re new to the workforce and don’t have lots of relevant past jobs to include on your CV.

When listing your experiences, you should include the employer or organization, the position you held, and the dates you spent working in that position. Underneath this you should list your key responsibilities, accomplishments, and recognitions that you earned. Use bullet points when you list these, and make sure that you utilize action verbs as you describe things you did.

Similar to resumes, you should use numbers when talking about your responsibilities and accomplishments. Rather than saying that you helped increase sales, state how much you increased sales. For example, “increased sales by 70% over a 12-month period.” Also, remember to include accomplishments that best fit the job description.

Interests

The section on interests allows the hiring manager to know a little more about you. It also lets you show how you’ve developed valuable skills outside of your work and education experiences, such as from a hobby or memberships. This could include leadership, organization, planning, and team building skills.

Try to include interests that are relevant to the job. Stick to ones that shed a positive light on who you are and could be as an employee. For example, refrain from using too many solitary interests, as it could make the hiring manager think that you’re a solitary person who prefers not to work in a group.

Additionally, watch out for clichés. When working to set yourself apart from the competition, you don’t want to be just one of 50 applicants who enjoy reading and running. Think outside of the box, and include a range of interests. However, be careful about discussing interests that pertain to religious or political beliefs.

How to Write a CV: Final Thoughts

Last but not least, the final thing to remember about how to write a CV is to proofread. Do not send your CV to any employer until you’ve taken the time to read through it several times, looking for any spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Have one or more people look through it for you, too. Make sure that the CV is polished and error-free when you’re ready to submit it. Then, send it out in a PDF format that will help maintain your format no matter who the recipient may be.

We hope this information on how to write a CV is helpful to you. For more business writing lessons and exercises, feel free to review our Professional Writing lessons. Good luck with your job hunt!

P.S. Become a better writer. Find out more here.

No comments yet.


Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply