When seeking a new direction in your career path, never underestimate the value of a strong curriculum vita. Take advantage of our sleek contemporary CV template and writing guide, and discover ways to strengthen the look and content of your CV. Along with the sample below, this step-by-step guide shows how you can create a successful CV that is bound to impress employers. From the fundamentals of formatting to the more nuanced stylistic choices, learn the best ways to get noticed for your professional achievements.
Sections to Include in Your Contemporary CV Template
The following contemporary CV template and writing guide can help you create an improved curriculum vita, one which captures the attention of employers across industries. Section by section, you’ll learn new ways to strengthen your CV and become a stronger, more appealing job candidate.
Contact and Personal Information
One of the most basic but necessary components of your contemporary CV template is your contact and personal information. Hiring managers will use this information not only to reach you but also to learn more about you. This section should include your name, phone number, email and home address. If you’re not comfortable giving out your home address, simply provide the city, state and postal code. Additionally, if your email address seems unprofessional, it probably is. Consider creating a new email address that is more suitable for the workplace.
Beyond your basic contact information, you’ll also be expected to provide some personal data about yourself. Generally speaking, this includes your birthdate, nationality, marital status, languages spoken and some limited family background. Remember, always be accurate, and avoid including any extraneous information.
Your professional summary serves as the mission statement of your CV. It offers the opportunity to explain some of your professional history as well as your career goals. This brief, four to six line statement should include major points in your work experience, a few important skills you possess and noteworthy personality traits. In essence, you’re creating a mini-biography of yourself. Fragmented sentences are perfectly acceptable, so long as the point is understood. Most importantly, your professional summary should serve as an introduction to your employer, providing a snapshot of your work history and career aspirations.
Along with the following examples, take a look at how the contemporary CV template uses the professional summary to engage hiring managers.
Professional Summary Example for Sales Manager:
With over 10 years’ sales managing experience, I have worked most facets of retail. From stockroom management to customer service, I am familiar with both sides of the industry. Looking for an opening in the sales department with potential for management position. Proficient in customer relations, coordinating sales lists and inventories and tracking consumer trends. Organized, motivated and charismatic, I wish to take my experience and knowledge of sales toward growth and development within the company.
Professional Summary Example for Accountant:
Senior accountant with over 15 years’ experience, looking for opportunity to expand into data analysis and budget development. Oversaw team of staff accountants, coordinating efforts and streamlining work flow. Fully accredited CPA with extensive knowledge of current accounting software, including QuickBooks and Sage. Self-motivated and committed team player. Interested in senior accounting position with potential upper-management role.
Writing Your Work Experience Section
As you continue down the contemporary CV template, you arrive at the work experience section. This is arguably the most important part of your CV and is often what hiring managers look at most closely. In this section, specificity matters, including titles, metrics and other quantifiable information. View these guidelines for someimportant takeaways for your work experience section:
- Depending on the span of your professional history, you generally want to restrict your work experience to the last 10 years. Any job held prior should omitted, or mentioned without additional detail. You want your CV to reflect who you are presently, including any recent promotions, added responsibilities or professional achievements.
- Specificity is extremely important in your work experience. Employers want to see quantifiable ways in which you’ve improved yourself or the organizations you’ve been a part of. For instance, sales reports, changes in leadership and project summaries are all excellent ways of illustrating results and growth. However, you don’t want to bog down your CV with numbers and stats; keep it to the most crucial and valuable information.
- Finally, utilize active language in your work experience, and avoid repetitious verb use. Peruse a thesaurus to expand your vocabulary. Simple, nondescript verbs, such as “work” or “manage,” do not provide a full picture of your history. Instead, try words like “coordinate,” “streamline,” or “direct” that pack more life into your curriculum vita.
With that in mind, take a look at the following work experience examples for innovative ways to improve your CV (note: include at least 4 to 6 bullets with each of your past jobs):
School Psychologist, St. Mary’s Academy, Chester, PA. 2012-present.
- Compile and analyze student psychological evaluations
- Increased special need accommodations by 12%
- Counsel students and families, including referrals for additional psych services
Automotive Specialty Technician, Robert’s Auto Repair, London, ON. 2010-2014.
- Inspected and troubleshot emission and performance issues on consumer vehicles, boosted client retention by 40%
Security Guard, NiteSafe Security, San Bernardino, CA. 2013-2015.
- Promoted to head of security, lowering vandalism and petty crime rates across multiple locations by nearly 23%
Customer Service Representative, Calico Inc., West Palm Beach, FL. 2014-present.
- Confer with clients to resolve disputes, concerns or questions regarding our services, averaging 5 calls/hr.
Education and Training
The next section of your contemporary CV template deals with your education and training background. Like the work experience section, the education section should include only the most recent information and your highest degrees or certification levels. Here are some acceptable types of education to include on your CV:
- College degree
- Post-graduate degrees and doctorates
- Internships and campus organizations
- Professional certifications (in a separate section, if needed)
Be sure to include any relevant extracurricular activities you’ve completed. Though you should mention any honors (summa cum laude, cum laude, etc.), do not display your GPA. The only exception is if you’re a recent graduate with little or no work experience. Take a look at the following examples of successful education and training sections:
Master of Psychology, Harvard University. Graduated cum laude.
Certified Public Accountant, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Writing Your Skills Section
The skills section of your contemporary CV template is reserved for listing applicable areas of expertise for the position. This includes both personal and professional skills, but they must be relevant to the job you’re applying for. When selecting skills, here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Emphasize language abilities and proficiency, as most jobs require some level of communication.
- Provide context for your skills in terms of your professional history, such as strengthened public speaking skills from weekly meetings with the executive board.
- Always include technical skills like computer and software literacy.
With those tips in mind, take a look at this example of a skills section for a bank teller:
- Proficient in mathematics, including arithmetic, algebra and calculus
- Active listener, refined communication skills from experience in customer service
- Computer literate, capable of constructing and reading data sheets; competent with accounting software such as Sage 50
Writing Your Scholarships and Awards Section
The scholarships and awards section of your contemporary CV template allows you to provide employers with additional detail about your accomplishments. This can include project grants, school or work recognitions, public awards or scholarships. Be sure to mention some brief context regarding the honor, including competitiveness and a brief description of what the award represents. You can also provide information like requirements for receiving the award or scholarship and the organization or foundation that gave it to you. Even small honors such as Employee of the Month are impressive to hiring managers and help strengthen your CV.
Here are some examples of the types of scholarships and awards you could include on your curriculum vita:
2015: Salesman of the Year Award, awarded to the sales manager who takes in the highest commission in the regional branch
2012: PEN Literary Award, for best new short fiction. 8 writers honored annually, $150,000 award.
Writing Your Hobbies and Interests Section
The final section in the contemporary CV template is not actually required, but can really help your CV stand out among other applicants in your field. The hobbies and interest section is where you get the chance to share some personal information about yourself that may not be as relevant to your professional life, but helps define who you are as a person. You can use this section to showcase volunteer work or your role in family life. In short, it’s an opportunity to show hiring mangers another facet of your personality. When writing your hobbies and interests section, here is what you need to know:
- Mention hobbies that help you develop outside your work life, such as computer programming, writing, marathon training, etc.
- Include your interest in sports or entertainment if you think that information will garner a response from employers.
- Be sure to include any leadership roles you hold outside the office, such as club chair or sports team manager.
Finally, here is an example of how to successfully incorporate your hobbies and interests into your CV:
Manager of local softball team since 2014, took team to regional playoffs in 2016.