How is a CV different
from a resume?
- Focuses on academic achievements.
- Primarily used for jobs in academia or research.
- Varies in length; it’s common to be more than two pages long.
- Includes sections for publications, conferences or grants.
- Prioritizes work experience and skills.
- Between one- and two-pages long on average.
- Applicants in public and private sectors use them.
- Are found in three main formats depending on your level of experience.
Is a CV right for you?
CVs are most common in the following job titles and industries:
- Professors and other academics
- Scientists and researchers
- Medical professionals
- Specific jobs in entertainment, travel, library sciences, engineering, military, architecture, publishing and government work.
The CV is prevalent in these fields because hiring managers are looking for a lengthy education, relevant outside skills, or a pertinent background in the field. Adhering to a consistent format that fits your industry becomes essential here because you display your information on several pages and want something that works with the role and is easy to follow.
How to build a CV
in 8 simple steps
It’s easy to use our Resume Builder to create and customize a CV that will be scannable by ATS and impressive to recruiters across different industries.
Follow these eight steps to build your CV:
- Click one of the “Create My CV” buttons. On the page that appears, select “Create a New Resume” to begin the process.
- Follow the steps on the page and fill in the blanks. The builder will automatically guide you through creating the summary and adding your work history, skills and education.
- After writing your summary, you can add different sections and begin customizing your document. Click the box next to the section (or sections) you want to add to your CV, or click “Add Your Own” to manually type in a section that isn’t on the menu.
- When you reach the end of the builder, you’ll see your CV. If you go over a section with your mouse, you will select that area, and an icon with arrows will pop up on your right. By pressing this icon, you can move that section to a different part of the document. This way, you can organize the layout of your CV accordingly.
- If you would like to change the headers of any of your CV sections, simply hover over where it says “Summary,” “Education,” etc., until the “Rename” button appears. Then put your new title in the space provided and click “Enter.”
- You can change the formatting of your document on the menu at the bottom of the page. After clicking the arrow next to “Normal,” press the “Custom” button. A new menu will appear, where you can adjust the margins, font size, font style and spacing. If you want to change the color, a menu with different options will appear when you click the “Color” tab.
- Be sure to click “Spell Check” at the top left to ensure no grammatical errors.
- Once satisfied with your CV, click “Download” and save the document on your computer. If you don’t want to download it just yet, press “Save and Next” so your work isn’t lost.
The 12 standard CV sections
This CV example includes all the major CV sections you can have. However, remember that this CV example works for a highly experienced candidate, and your CV might not even need to encompass all of these sections.
Before writing your CV, always study the job advertisement to note which qualifications the employer is looking for in a candidate. Based on that, you can decide which CV sections merit a space on your curriculum vitae.
The 12 Most Common Sections Found in a CV Are:
Always include the contact information at the very top so employers can identify you, and reference details like your phone number, email and the city and state where you reside.
Your CV begins with a summary statement that describes who you are as a professional. In three to five sentences, you should showcase your most important career details such as top skills, your highest level of education or a unique accomplishment that can pique a potential employer’s interest.
This section consists of short bullet-point phrases that contextualize your skills for the desired position. This is an extended skills section tailored to the employer’s needs.
Education in a CV is a crucial section, especially for applicants in academia. If you possess multiple degrees, mention them in reverse-chronological order. Include the name of your degree, the university that issued it, its city and state, and any relevant details like being in the “Advisory Program” or graduating “Summa Cum laude.”
Your work experience section should consist of a list of jobs organized in reverse-chronological order. Always include the employer’s name, location, employment dates and three to four bullet points detailing your most impressive accomplishments. Always try to pick achievements that relate to the job duties or requirements in the job description, and use numbers to demonstrate the impact or scope of your work.
This functions like a classic, listed skills section where you can list job-relevant skills more straightforwardly than in the core qualifications section. You can draw skills from the job advertisement and include them here word for word, as long as they actually apply to your skill set.
In this section you will mention any professional associations in which you are a member. Ensure to include the association’s name and if you hold any leadership position, such as treasurer, and the years you’ve been a member.
If you’ve received more than two honors, awards or prizes for your work, feel free to add a section to list these. Organize them in reverse-chronological order and mention the name of the prize, the organization that issued it and the year you received it.
If you possess any certifications beyond your formal education, include them in a separate section. For example, a chemistry researcher can note that they’ve completed the OSHA Lab Safety Certificate.
If you’ve attended conferences or delivered talks related to your research or industry, you can list these in your CV. Showcasing conference attendance or presentations demonstrates a genuine interest in your work and expanding your knowledge.
Grants and fellowships
Listing the grants and fellowships you’ve been admitted to is an excellent way to show potential employers your work is recognized and valued by your peers. Mention the name of the grant or fellowship and the year or semester they were granted to you.
An important element of many academic CVs is the Publications section, which consists of a list of all the literature you’ve produced during your career. Here employers can find references to your publications. Depending on how many publications you have and how many times those publications have been cited, the more valuable and respected your work is, making you a very attractive candidate. the more meritful is your work. Remember to list your publications in your discipline’s accepted citation format (APA, MLA, Boston, etc.).
Which CV template
is right for you?
Our CV templates offer a selection of appropriate designs for every job seeker. Which one you choose will depend on your industry and the position you seek but all of our templates are ATS and job-board friendly. The template you choose can be fully customized to suit various CV formats and is downloadable in multiple options like PDF and Word for easy editing and sending.
The straightforward design of these Traditional CV templates enhances your professional image and makes a strong first impression.
The clean and tasteful designs of these Modern CV templates work across industries but are especially effective for those applying for jobs in forward-thinking fields like tech or advertising.
For those looking for work in artistic or graphic industries who want their personality to shine through, these Creative CV templates would be a great fit.
CV Success Stories
How long should my CV be?
A standard CV can be anywhere from 2 to 10 pages depending on your industry, supplementary information, and what the employer or job posting has cited for you to provide. The most important thing for your CV is to showcase your complete career profile and background through relevant experiences in and out of the workplace.
What countries widely use CVs?
You can use CVs for a variety of jobs in most countries. These are the top countries where CVs are the primary derivation of a job application: The UK, New Zealand, Germany, France, India, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Chile and Netherlands.
Should graphics be used in a CV?
Depending on your industry, graphics and photos must be on your CV, especially if you are in the arts, an actor, or a model. However, in some European countries, the UK or the U.S., a ‘no-frills’ CV is preferred, so you should not include photos. Other countries like Germany, South Africa and Asia may require not only pictures but personal information such as your date of birth and personal ID, so it’s imperative to make sure you meet the requirements set in the job posting.