If you want to find employment but are stuck, asking yourself questions like ‘’What is a CV?’’ and ‘’What should a CV include?’’, we understand the struggle.

A CV is something that almost every employer needs, but creating a perfect one is not easy, especially for someone who isn’t familiar with it. There is no need to worry, though!

With our tips on what information to include in a CV and how to format it, you will be able to create one that will certainly set you apart from the competition, no matter if you are looking for your first job or not. So, let’s get straight into it.

Key Takeaways

  • Resumes and CVs are not the same. A CV is a longer document used to apply for academic positions, while a resume is usually no more than two pages long and is used to apply for business or non-profit positions.
  • In a CV, you should list your contact information and your academic and professional background, summary or objective, soft and hard abilities, achievements, awards, publications, and references.
  • The best way to format your CV is to minimize margins, stick to simple fonts, use bullet points, create a descriptive file name, and save everything as a Microsoft Word document.
  • In addition to reading the job advertisement thoroughly and editing your CV, there is certain additional information your CV should include, such as keywords. This is important to set yourself apart from the competition, in addition to using headings, being aware of the length, and updating your CV frequently.

What is a CV in the United States vs. in Europe?

The meaning of CV is different in the United States and Europe. Here are the two most prominent ways in which CVs differ in these two places:

  • Emphasis. In American CVs, it is customary to provide a comprehensive account of your educational and professional history; in European CVs, however, you should just highlight your relevant experiences and explain how they make you an ideal candidate for the job.
  • Content. Personal details, including age, marital status, and other details, are rarely included in American CVs. You also don’t give any weight to your high school background unless there’s nothing else to go on. However, European CVs often include personal information as well as high school accomplishments.

CV vs. Resume: Key Differences

The following are two of the most significant distinctions when it comes to CV vs. resume:

  • Purpose. People who are applying for scholarships, funding, doctorate opportunities, or any other position in academia utilize CVs as part of their job application process. On the other hand, resumes are used to acquire positions in business, non-profit organizations, and the public sector. As a result, academic achievements are emphasized in CVs, whereas skills are highlighted in resumes.
  • Style. In comparison to resumes, CVs are more formal documents since they place a greater emphasis on academic achievements. On average, the length of the curriculum vitae (CV) is significantly longer than the length of the resume. While the length of a curriculum vitae is determined by the number of academic accomplishments listed, the length of a resume should not exceed two pages.

When Should You Use a CV?

If you aren’t sure when to use a CV and when to use a resume, we’ll walk you through it since it depends on a couple of important factors.

Firstly, you should consider the type of company you are applying for a position at, but also where it is located. For example, if the company is in the business sector and is located in the United States, you should send in a resume.

However, if the company is involved in the medical, scientific, or academic fields and is located in one of the EU countries, providing a CV may be the most appropriate course of action.

If you want to be certain about which document to send, you can always get in touch with the recruiter or the manager overseeing the hiring process.

What Information Goes on a CV

what is a cv

Now that we answered the ‘’What is a CV for jobs?’’ question, let’s consider what should be included in it.

#1. Contact Information

Your contact information should be the first thing that you provide in your curriculum vitae. In this part, provide the recruiters with your full name, address, email address, and phone number so that they can get in touch with you if they have any questions.

#2. Summary/Objective

The summary or objective of your CV should come after your contact information.

If you want to give the potential employer a clear and succinct description of your qualifications, you should use your CV summary. But if you want to focus on your professional objectives for the future and the type of job that you are trying to find, then writing a CV objective is your best bet.

#3. Academic History

If you have earned a degree greater than a high school diploma, there is no need to mention the information and accomplishments you received in high school on your CV.

Instead, center the education section of your CV on your most recent and noteworthy academic accomplishments, such as the number of degrees you have already obtained. Make sure to indicate the institution you attended and the year you received each degree.

#4. Professional History

In this section, you should provide specific information regarding your professional employment history. So, make a list of the relevant places you’ve worked and the positions you’ve held at each of those places.

In addition, be sure to include the amount of time you spent in the role and some of the responsibilities you had. This will allow you to illustrate your level of professionalism through examples rather than words alone.

#5. Soft and Hard Skills

Following your professional history, you should list your hard and soft skills.

Make sure that your resume has a section dedicated to your skills, and organize them into categories according to the sort of skills they are.

If you are a researcher, for instance, you may add things like data collection, report writing, and interviewing to your hard skills category, while communication, presentation, and planning would go to your soft skills category.

#6. Achievements

Your accomplishments should be detailed in a separate section of your curriculum vitae. Your academic and professional accomplishments can both be included in this section.

Example: Surpassed departmental KPIs by 25% for six months straight.

#7. Publications

When it comes to your publications, you need to make sure that this area contains an entry for each and every one of them. Provide a complete citation that includes the names of all of the authors, the dates of publication, a synopsis, the volumes, the pages, the DOI numbers, and any other information that may be relevant.

#8. Awards

Regarding the awards, you should begin by enumerating all of the honors that you have obtained, including the years when you obtained them and the organizations that presented them to you.

You can differentiate yourself even further from the competition by mentioning the frequency with which these awards are bestowed and the requirements necessary to be considered for one of these honors.

#9. References

At the very end of the curriculum vitae, you will have the option to include some references. Make a list of the people with whom you’ve collaborated most recently.

Include their name, occupation, or the context in which you knew them, in addition to their contact information, which can be an email address and/or a phone number.

When you list references, you lend yourself a great deal of credibility since you give hiring managers the opportunity to verify the facts you gave or consult with individuals who can attest to your outstanding performance.

How to Format Your CV?

what is a cv

If you aren’t sure how to format your resume, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Margins. To make the most of the space you have, you should reduce the margins when writing your CV. Make sure the top margins of each page are as small as possible since a recruiter who opens a CV wants to see information immediately, or they won’t read the rest of it.
  • Fonts. If you want to set apart headings from the body of text in your CV, use no more than two different fonts. Use easy-to-read fonts so that the text can be easily followed. Times New Roman 12 pt is a great choice.
  • List form. Recruiters are typically very busy people who don’t have time to read lengthy descriptions of your experience. That’s why bullet points are ideal for a list. They save time and effort for recruiters by being concise and easy to skim for the most relevant details.
  • Document type. Your resume should be in Word. First, it makes it simple to make any necessary changes. It’s preferable to err on the side of caution than risk an employer not being able to open your application because they don’t have the proper software in case you use a document format other than Word.
  • File name. It is important to use a suitable file name when saving your CV, as this is a formal document. The best naming pattern for your CV is “[your full name] CV.” It will look professional when attached to an email, which will make the receiver think more highly of you.

6 More Tips For Creating a CV

laptop, notebook, and pen in the table

If you are eager to create the best CV so that you can land the job of your dreams, consider the following tips:

#1. Proofread Your CV

Proofreading your CV before sending it out helps you ensure that the document is free of any factual or grammatical errors that could give recruiters a negative impression of you.

#2. Include Relevant Keywords

Recruiters frequently use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to streamline the applicant tracking and selection processes. They utilize this software to sift through CVs, and they usually look for ones that contain keywords relevant to the job. So, be sure to include job-related keywords if you want your CV to stand out to potential employers.

#3. Use Headings

A fantastic CV formatting trick is to include headings. No hiring manager wants to waste time poring over a CV that has no obvious divisions between its various sections. Your resume will be more organized and easier to read if you use headings to group the related information.

#4. Beware of the Length

Don’t make your CV too lengthy. It’s acceptable to use numerous pages if you have extensive academic and professional experience, but employers will have a difficult time reading your CV if it’s too long.

#5. Update Your CV Regularly

It’s possible that you’re constantly taking part in new activities. Keeping tabs on them and adding anything new that might be relevant to your CV is a fantastic idea. You won’t have to worry about making changes shortly before sending it in for a job opening if you keep your CV up to date.

#6. Read the Job Description Thoroughly

Before submitting your CV, you should check the job description thoroughly. Get a feel for what the recruiters are looking for, and then use that information to craft a CV that will stand out.

Final Thoughts

Both CVs and resumes are part of the job application process, but CVs are used for securing positions in academia, while resumes are used for applying to business roles.

CVs tend to be longer as they include more of your academic and professional background. You also have to include your contact information, a summary or objective, soft and hard skills, and accomplishments, as well as references (if you have any).

Those CVs that are complete, include relevant keywords, and have been proofread are the ones that stand out and help you secure the job of your dreams!

What is a CV FAQ

#1. What is an academic CV?

A candidate’s academic credentials and accomplishments are highlighted in an Academic CV. A position in the academic, medical, or scientific fields can be attained with this kind of CV.

#2. How long should my CV be?

A CV’s length varies depending on the applicant’s level of experience. However, recruiters typically prefer to read two to four pages long CVs.

#3. What is a CV for a job?

A CV for a job is the type of CV that emphasizes relevant work experience. The purpose of this CV format is to acquire employment, so it highlights your strengths as a job candidate.

#4. How to write a CV?

Include a summary or objective of your academic and professional history, soft and hard talents, achievements, awards, publications, and references in your CV, along with your contact information.

#5. Is a CV a cover letter?

CVs and cover letters are two separate pieces of writing. A cover letter is intended to elaborate on some of the topics covered in the CV that are relevant to the position being sought.