With the myriad of information available on the internet about how to write a curriculum vitae, it can be difficult to know where to start. Our standard CV template and the accompanying guidelines make it easy for you to draft your document. We provide space for each section, so you’re sure not to leave anything out. A CV can make or break your chances of getting an interview; when written poorly, it can immediately turn off an employer, but when done well, it can boost your chances of getting the job.
Sections to Include in Your Standard CV Template
As shown in the standard CV Template, a CV has different sections that each requires certain information. All these components are important for drafting a complete document. We go over each section in detail in the categories below.
Contact and Personal Information
In the standard CV template, list your contact information, including your name, phone number and email address. You can either include your full physical address or just the city and state. If you have a personal website or a portfolio, you might want to add those as well. Your email address should look professional, so if you have something casual, like mydogisthebest@anymail, you may want to create a new address for work-related purposes. In a CV, you can also include personal information, including your nationality, sex and age. Before you finish your CV, check all your contact information to make sure you don’t have any typos, as this can make it difficult for the employer to reach you.
The professional summary starts off your standard CV template with a snapshot of why you’re the best candidate for the job. In this short paragraph, you will want to list your background, qualifications and positive personality traits. Make the paragraph tight, with specific information that sets you apart from others in your field. Include keywords relevant to the job to make your CV stand out. Whatever you list should encourage the employer to keep reading.
The professional summary can be written either in full sentences or in phrases. Include your years of experience, your personality traits and any accomplishments that enhance your application.
Below are two examples of strong professional statements:
Example for a Gardener:
I have been employed with the city as a gardener for the past 20 years. I am in charge of ongoing services for Marshal Park, which has over 100 visitors per day. I prune, mow, plant and beautify all sections of the park, and I make suggestions on improvements. I use shears, axes, saws and sod cutters without injury and under OSHA guidelines. I am extremely detail-oriented, and I use my background in horticulture to provide knowledgeable service.
Example for a Math Teacher:
I have five years’ experience teaching math to at-risk youth at Gardner High School. I have successfully helped a large number of students improve their test scores from failing to passing. Due to my patient and nurturing personality, I am able to draw students in and gain their trust, while also being firm when needed. I am passionate about teaching math to all ages and abilities, and I believe anyone can succeed with the right instruction.
Writing Your Work Experience
While the professional summary gives an overview of your qualifications, the work experience section lets you demonstrate those qualifications more thoroughly. Even employment unrelated to the job for which you’re applying can demonstrate your work ethic to the potential employer. The standard CV template provides space for you to insert information about your work. Use bullets to detail your job descriptions, which makes it easier for the reader to take in all the information. The following guidelines can help you know what to say:
- Begin with your most recent work, excluding any job you haven’t worked for over 10 years.
- Use first person present tense for jobs you currently hold (“work,” not “works”), and use past tense for jobs you no longer hold.
- List details about each position, including the employer, the dates of employment and the location.
Here are some examples of convincing work experience sections (note: you should include 4 to 6 bullet points per job you include):
House Painter, McIntyre Paint, Los Angeles, CA 2015-Present
- Paint houses using brushes, spray guns and rollers.
- Prepare surfaces by removing old paint, and fill any cracks and holes.
Clothing Designer, Justin’s Work Wear, Jackson, MS 2014-2016
- Designed items for clothing line to be displayed on the runway and in stores.
- Provided original sketches and modified samples on models.
Line Cook, Bold Bakery, Las Vegas, NV 2000-2015
- Prepared a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, entrees, and specials.
- Ensured proper handling of food, inspected and cleaned areas and stored food appropriately.
Editor, Hark Magazine, Ashland, OR 2009-2013
- Coordinated and edited content for online magazine.
- Solicited writers for seasonal themes, and helped writers complete updated drafts.
- If you took courses at one college but graduated from another, simply list the college where you received the degree.
- Uncompleted coursework can be helpful to provide if you didn’t finish a program.
- Include certifications or other types of training, especially if they are related to the job for which you are applying.
- List the most relevant skills first, prioritizing those that would most likely be useful at the job on a regular basis.
- Refer to quantifiable skills and those with metrics whenever possible. For example, list percentages and totals.
- Include personality traits that the hiring manager is looking for when filling the position.
- Include any leadership positions, which show the employer that you’re willing to take initiative.
- List personal interests, such as what you like to do on weekends.
- Pay the most attention to hobbies and interests that are relevant to the job.
- Include coursework you have taken for fun or to better your skillset.
Education and Training
The standard CV template has an education and training section for you to list your educational background. Any type of degree or experience is often helpful when applying for a job, even if it is in an unrelated field. Completing an educational program shows hiring managers your desire for continued learning and your ability to see a challenge through to completion. The following best practices are helpful to consult when filling out this section:
Here are some examples of a well-written education section:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Pointer College. Graduated cum laude.
Associate of Arts in Graphic Design, Hunter Academy. Dean’s list for four semesters.
Writing Your Skills Section
The standard CV template has space for you to fill in your skills. Choose those that best relate to the position, as they will help the employer take notice and be able to visualize you in the role. The following guidelines can help you fill in the skills section:
Below are some examples of skills to include for a job as an Administrative Assistant:
Type 100 WPM and fluent in 10-key.
Proficient in Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and Trello.
Strong attention to detail.
Writing Your Scholarship and Awards Section
Scholarships and awards can often put you over the top when applying for a job. While many candidates will have the same basic qualifications, these extra distinctions can really help you stand out. Our standard CV template makes inputting this information easy. When thinking about what to include, don’t discredit anything you have been recognized for. Something in-house like Employee of the Month is just as valid for this section as a more global distinction. Include information about your accolade in order for the employer to understand the context.
Fill out this section similarly to the Education section, by listing each distinction on a separate line. Include the date and a short explanation of the award. You can also include how competitive it was for further clarification.
Here are two examples that can help you write this section:
2009: Salesman of the Year for biggest commission in the 12-month period, with a total 30% higher than the runner-up.
2015: Women in Media Scholarship: one out of 10 to earn this scholarship, among over 300 applicants.
Writing Your Hobbies and Interests Section
Hobbies and interests are valid to feature on a CV, unlike on a resume. The details provided in this section allow the employer to get a more intimate look at your personality and interests. While this section is optional, we have included it in the standard CV template for those who choose to complete it. It can be especially helpful for certain applicants, such as those in their early stages of employment or those who are making a career change. Be sure to follow these tips for filling out this section:
Here is an example to help you fill out this section:
Raise Seeing Eye dogs for the blind. Participate in 4-H activities with the children. Master Gardener with the American Horticultural Society.