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.
- 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.
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.
Traditional CV template
The straightforward design of these Traditional CV templates enhances your professional image and makes a strong first impression.
Modern CV template
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.
Creative CV template
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
What is a curriculum vitae (CV)?
Curriculum vitae, meaning “course of life” in Latin, is the standard job application document in most countries outside the U.S. A CV conveys the history of your career and other professional and personal achievements. CVs are used in the U.S. primarily for jobs in academia, sciences, research, medicine and entertainment.
What’s the difference between a CV and a resume?
Despite having the same purpose, a CV differs from a resume mainly because it’s longer and more comprehensive than a resume. Before choosing a resume or CV, check the document the employer requests from you.
If the employer leaves the choice for you, check out these key differences between resumes and CVs to determine which one is right for you:
- Resumes should be up to two pages long. CVs can be three or more pages long.
- Resumes are the primary document for applying for jobs in the U.S. CVs are more common in international job markets.
- Resumes focus on the qualities that make you a good fit for a job. CVs comprise your entire career history.
How do I write a CV?
- Format your header and contact information, including your full name, phone number, email, and city and state of residence.
- Write a compelling summary statement that shares the top skills, experiences and qualifications that make you the ideal candidate.
- Include a section titled Core Qualifications where you give context on how your skills will help you succeed in the role.
- List your work experience in reverse chronological order and include the job title, employer name, location and dates of employment. You should also add three or four bullet points describing your top accomplishments in each job.
- Share even more soft and hard skills in a separate skills section.
- Add an education section that lists all your degrees and academic achievements.
- Customize your CV with additional sections relevant to your role, such as Teaching Experience, Research Experience, Languages, Publications, and Certifications and Licenses.
Learn all the details about CVs in our how to write a CV article.
What to include in a CV?
Include key sections like the CV Summary, Core Qualifications, Work Experience, Skills and Education when writing your CV. Other sections you can include to customize your CV are Publications, Affiliations and Memberships, Hobbies, Research Experience and Teaching Experience, among others you can learn about in our CV writing guide.
Tailoring your CV for each job application ensures you’re highlighting the qualities the employer needs from you in that role. Including keywords is one of the easiest ways to update an existing CV for multiple jobs.
You must also include unique achievements and not generic job duties when writing your CV. There’s a difference between responsibilities and accomplishments. Any applicant can mention the same job responsibilities as you, but not everyone can boast about your accomplishments.
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. Generally, you should have one CV page for each decade of experience. However, there is such a thing as a CV that is too long. Be careful of stuffing your CV with irrelevant information just to meet a page count requirement.
What’s the best CV template?
You’ll find the best templates for your CV in LiveCareer’s CV templates library. You’ll find all the standard CV sections on our CV templates, which you can edit in our CV Builder. There, you can find hundreds of skills and pre-written suggestions to incorporate throughout your CV.
Need help formatting the sections in your CV with the standard and custom sections? Learn everything about that on our CV formats page. And if you’re unsure about what information to include in your CV, check out our CV examples for some inspiration.
Are these CV templates ATS-friendly?
We have a selection of CV templates that are ATS-friendly, but not all of them are.
If you want to ensure your CV template is ATS-compliant, see if it checks these requirements:
- Must have a one-column layout for the text, not multiple text columns.
- Should have minimal design elements, not graphics, icons or skill-level meters.
- Should not include text boxes or tables. These design features separate the text that the ATS has difficulty reading.
- Must not include profile pictures or images. The ATS won’t scan these and might even jumble up the text on your CV.
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.
What CV formats are used in the U.S.?
CVs don’t have specific formats like resumes do. Because each CV is as unique as its applicant, you can format it with as many sections as you deem relevant. In the U.S., employers usually request CVs for jobs in academia, medicine or the sciences. In that case, you’ll want to include sections like Publications, Research Experience and Teaching Experience.
Another reason a U.S. employer might request you apply with a CV is that they value company culture and want to ensure you’re a good fit. In that case, your CV should show you care more about getting the next available job. Instead, showcase your commitment with sections like Hobbies, Certifications, Personal Projects and Volunteer Work.
Our CV Formats page will show you how to pick the right CV sections and what to include in them. However, if you’re thinking about chronological, functional and combination formats, you’ll find all the information on our resume formats page.
What is the difference between American and European CVs?
American CVs are generally used for positions in academics or scientific research, so they tend to be up to 10 pages long. European CVs are used to apply for all types of jobs, so they include all the main resume sections plus some additions like a profile picture and more personal information such as nationality.
What is the most common CV format used worldwide?
The most popular format across the world is the chronological resume format. Although technically a format for resumes, the structure of this format can also be applied to CVs. The main characteristic of the chronological format is that it focuses on the work experience and organizes your jobs in reverse-chronological order. When writing your CV’s work experience, list your most recent or current job first and work your way backward.
What is the best CV format for a foreign job?
If you’re applying for a foreign job, format your CV with sections relevant to the position and appropriate for that foreign job market. Before submitting your CV, research CV examples used in that specific country. For instance, although profile pictures are typical in some French CVs, UK employers prefer CVs without photos.
Can I make an academic CV with these templates?
Yes. Our CV templates are appropriate for jobs in academia. Your academic CV will include sections like Publications, Research Experience and Grants and Fellowships to show your academic progress. If you want to learn what achievements and sections to include in an academic CV, find your desired job title on our CV examples page.
Should I use a PDF or a Word document CV template?
In almost every case, employers will prefer you submit your CV as a PDF document. A PDF isn’t alterable and is easily shared across various platforms. A Word document can be edited by anyone who has access to it and might change your CV template’s formatting if you open the document on a computer that doesn’t have Microsoft installed.
However, the employer should inform you if they prefer one. If they don’t share a preference, your safest option is the PDF CV template.
When you use our CV Builder, you can download your template as a PDF, DOC, JPG or TXT file.
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.